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Dr. Annie Alexander: A Lifetime of Service


In her personal life, Annie Alexander was active in the Colonial Dames, the Mecklenburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Stonewall Jackson Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy. Dr. Annie was an active member in First Presbyterian Church and even found time to teach Sunday School. The turn-of-the-twentieth-century below photograph shows the church from the point of view of Church Street.


In 1902, the Mother’s Study Club in Charlotte re-organized and expanded its membership as well as its civic activities to include all women, hence its new name, the Charlotte Women’s Club. Dr. Annie was a long time member and leader in the organization's role in improving public health. In the documents below, note Dr.


As a doctor, Annie Alexander had the training and dedication to heal thousands of individuals over her 42 years as Charlotte's - and the South's - female physician. As an educated citizen, she devoted thought and effort to treating the causes of illness. She spoke and wrote on subjects like nutrition and sanitation in order to empower people to make choices that would bring about healthy lives for themselves and their families.


By the late 1890s, Dr. Annie enjoyed an ever expanding medical practice, she had privileges at both St. In addition she was on the Board of the Associated Charities, The Co-operative Nurses Association, the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers, She also served as one of the Managers to the YWCA and was the attending physician at both institutions. Dr. Annie also served as the physician for the students at  Presbyterian College, a local woman’s school, which later became Queens College. Dr.


In addition to caring for individual patients, Annie Alexander also concerned herself with improving the health of the whole community. As such, she was a pioneer in public health before that field even had a name. Throughout her medical career, Dr. Annie witnessed how disease and poor living conditions contributed to the early deaths of young mothers and children. She devoted her spare time to promoting health and well-being at a time when life in Mecklenburg County, like most areas in the South, lacked good sanitation.


By the late 1890s, Dr. Annie enjoyed an ever-expanding medical practice. She had privileges at both St. Peter’s and Presbyterian Hospitals. Dr. Annie’s house calls took her to various locations in the county and she treated patients from all walks of life and of any race.


With the establishment of an organized medical society, Mecklenburg County physicians adopted standardized two-fee lists. One was for Charlotte and the incorporated towns and the other was for “regular county practice.”

County Practice Fees (1903)

  • A home visit was $1.50 and additional fifty cents for every three miles the physician traveled.
  • Obstetrical Cases were $7.00. 
  • After 10:00 p.m. the fees doubled.


Annie Alexander had been in practice for over a decade in 1903, when the local physicians organized themselves into the Mecklenburg County Medical Society. She evidently welcomed this step towards professionalization, for she was one of the charter members, as was her father. “Annie L. Alexander” was the second person to sign the roster. Dr. Annie Alexander must have won the respect of the male physicians of Charlotte, for she served as the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Medical Society.


In 1890, Dr. Annie purchased a home at 410 North Tryon Street from R. J. Shipp of Catawba County for $3,500. This one-story home served as both her office and residence. Dr. Annie kept her horse and buggy in a stable behind the house and used it to visit patients all over the county. Soon, her parents moved in with Dr. Annie. Dr. J. B.


From the Charlotte Home Democrat, May 29, 1885:

"Miss Annie Lowrie Alexander of Mecklenburg County passed an examination before the Board of Medical Examiners in Durham and was admitted as a member of the North Carolina Medical Association."

One of her first actions as a professional doctor was to deliver a lecture at the Farmer's Institute in Concord, Cabarrus County in 1887.