Guide to the Lelon E. Alexander papers
1940-1997, bulk 1942-1957
Collection number: HMC-1231.
Creator: Alexander, Lelon E.
Title: Lelon E. Alexander papers.
Dates: 1940-1997, bulk 1942-1957.
Volume of collection: 0.75 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of a soldier who served with the 714th Railway Operating Battalion in Alaska during World War II.
Lelon Edward Alexander was born February 9, 1912 to William and Emma Alexander in Duncan, Nebraska. He graduated from Duncan High School in 1931 and married Mildred Clara Boss in 1941. He worked as an automobile service man and later as a railway section hand for Union Pacific Railroad. In 1942, Alexander enlisted in the Army. He was assigned to the 714th Railway Battalion, which was activated on October 31, 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. The Battalion left for Alaska in March of 1943 and arrived in Seward in April. Alexander served in Company A, which engaged in bridge building and maintenance, track maintenance, and signal maintainance. After the war, Alexander spent 39 years working for Union Pacific Railroad, before retiring in 1974. He died on March 29, 1999.
The collection consists of a large scrapbook and a smaller photograph album as well as loose papers and photographs. Photographs in the scrapbook and photo album depict Lelon Alexander and other members of the battalion; railroad tracks and cars; military buildings and camps; parties and celebrations; sports, including baseball and skiing; and scenery. Locations include Anchorage, Seward, McKinley Park (now Denali), Fairbanks, and Nenana. There are also some photographs from the battalion’s time at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. The scrapbook also contains documents relating to Lelon Alexander’s military service, including enlistment papers, leave requests, and travel authorizations. The loose photographs and papers primarily relate to a reunion of the 714th Railway Operating Battalion, held in Minneapolis in 1957.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged in roughly the order in was in when it arrived at the Archives.
Digitized copies: Selected items have been digitized and can be viewed on Alaska’s Digital Archives. For information about obtaining copies please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Rights note: Archives and Special Collections does not own copyright to the collection.
Preferred citation: Lelon E. Alexander papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.
Works used in preparation of inventory:
“Lelon Alexander Obituary.” The Grand Island Independent. March 31, 1999. Accessed April 28, 2016. http://www.theindependent.com/obituaries/today-s-obituaries/article_e14608fb-650a-5ec7-8ee9-08e7ced7a885.html
United States. 1945. 714th Railway Operating Battalion. San Angelo.
Separated materials: Selected publications have been removed from the collection and placed in to the Ephemera collections and the Library’s Rare Book’s collection.
Related materials: Additional materials related to the 714th Railway Operating Battalion can be found in the Joseph J. Burgess photographs, HMC-1230.
Custodial history: Lelon E. Alexander gave the materials in the collection to Joe A. Ashley in 1996 and 1997.
Acquisition note: The collection was presented to the Archives, along with a deed of gift, by Joe A. Ashley in 2016.
Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Sieja in 2016.