Annie Lowrie Alexander

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Annie Lowrie Alexander
Annie Lowrie Alexander.jpg
Born (1864-01-10)January 10, 1864
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Died October 15, 1929(1929-10-15) (aged 65)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Resting place
Elmwood Cemetery
35°14′16.08″N 80°50′53.16″W / 35.2378000°N 80.8481000°W / 35.2378000; -80.8481000Coordinates: 35°14′16.08″N 80°50′53.16″W / 35.2378000°N 80.8481000°W / 35.2378000; -80.8481000
Alma mater Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
  • Physician
  • teacher
Known for First licensed female physician in the Southern United States

Annie Lowrie Alexander (January 10, 1864 – October 15, 1929) was an American physician and educator. She was the first licensed female physician in the Southern United States.[1]


Alexander was born on January 10, 1864 near the town of Cornelius in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. She was one of six children of Dr. John Brevard Alexander and Ann Wall Lowrie, descended from Reverends Alexander Craighead and David Caldwell.[2]

She was educated by a private tutor and her father and enrolled in the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors in 1884 and obtained her license to practice medicine from the Maryland Board of Medical Examiners the next year, earning the highest grade among 100 candidates.[2] She started her own practice and was an assistant teacher of anatomy at the Women's Medical College of Baltimore. She returned to Mecklenburg County in 1887 to practice medicine[3] and in 1889 she bought a home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She slowly built up her practice, making her rounds on a horse-drawn buggy until she purchased an automobile in 1911.[2]

Alexander did postgraduate work at New York Polyclinic. Being a rarity, female physicians were not generally accepted in the late 1800s. Her work so shocked some of her relatives that they asked that her name not be mentioned in their presence.[4]

For twenty-three years she was a physician for the Presbyterian College for Women (now known as Queens University of Charlotte).[5] During Alexander's time in Charlotte, there were outbreaks of malaria and typhoid fever as well as a hookworm epidemic.[2]

Alexander was a first lieutenant in the Army during World War I[1] and was appointed acting assistant surgeon at Camp Greene in Charlotte, where she performed medical inspections of the school children and grappled with the devastation wrought by the 1918 flu pandemic.[6]

She served as president of the Mecklenburg Medical Society and was a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Charlotte Woman's Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.[2]

Alexander died on October 15, 1929 in Charlotte of pneumonia contracted from a patient.[2]


  1. ^ a b Goodpasture, Joe (November 2007). "Call Her Doctor: The South’s first female physician was a true pioneer". Charlotte Magazine. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Cohn, Scotti (2012). More Than Petticoats: Remarkable North Carolina Women. Globe Pequot. pp. 82–92. ISBN 978-0-7627-6445-7. 
  3. ^ Censer, Jane Turner (2003). The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, 1865-1895. Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-8071-2921-0. 
  4. ^ Steelman, Ben (June 20, 1999). "Book packed full of 'History'". Star-News. 
  5. ^ Kratt, Mary Norton (1992). "Is There A Doctor?". Charlotte, Spirit of the New South. John F. Blair. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-89587-095-7. 
  6. ^ Powell, William S. (ed.) (1988). Dictionary of North Carolina Biography: Vol. 1, A-C. Chapel Hill u.a.: Univ. of North Carolina Pr. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-8078-1329-4. 

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