Horace Alexander was born in Croyden (England) in 1889, the son of Joseph Gundry Alexander and Josephine Crosfield. He was the youngest of four brothers; Gilbert was seven years older, Wilfred (W.B.) was four years older, and Christopher (killed in Flanders in 1917) was two years older. Horace Alexander was educated at Bootham School in York and at King's College, Cambridge University, where he graduated with honors in history. He taught at a Cranbrook grammar school (15 miles east of Turnbridge Wells) during the winters of 1917-1918 and 1918-1919. From ca. 1919-1941 he was a lecturer in international relations at Woodbrooke College in Birmingham; he served as the school's director in 1941-1945.
Alexander was a life-long member of the Religious Society of Friends. His father had been involved in working for peace and justice in many areas of the world, and Alexander followed in his footsteps in his wide knowledge and influence. He was active with the League of Nations Union's Opium Traffic Committee (1926-1931), and his concern about Great Britain's profit in the opium trade led to his first visit to India in 1928, where he met Gandhi and stayed with him for a week. Alexander's life-long interest in India involved activities with the India Conciliation Group, which worked for Indian independence from Great Britain; being an advisor(?) to Gandhi at the Round Table Conference in London (England) in 1931; serving with the Friends Ambulance Unit in India in 1942-1943; being an advisor to Gandhi during Cabinet Mission sessions in India in 1946; doing relief work in India with the Friends Service Committee in India and Pakistan in 1948; corresponding with Indians and others around the world to lobby for Indian rights; and, writing and publishing extensively about Gandhi and about India. He estimated that "between 1927 and 1955 he spent twelve years in India in various bits and pieces." Rabindranath Tagore wrote in July 1930: "I have great regard for Professor Horace Alexander who is a personal friend of mine and I am glad to take this opportunity of his visit to India to recommend him warmly to my countrymen. He represents a spiritual community in the West with whom we have deep bonds of affinity and in his tour in India he wll be able to bring to our people the touch of that larger humanity which inspires him and his colleagues in Woodbrooke." Gandhi described Alexander in 1942 as "one of the best English friends India has."
Alexander's other involvements include the Friends Service Committee, 1915-1920; the War and Social Order Committee, 1916-1919; the Meeting for Sufferings (for Sussex, Surrey and Hants Quarterly Meetings), 1920; the Council for International Service, 1921-1927; the Peace Committee, 1915-1930, 1936-1946, 1955-1965; the Anglo-American Collaboration Committee, 1944-1948; and, the Peace and International Relations Committee, 1965-1969.
Alexander became engaged to Olive Graham, a teacher in a girls' school, in September 1917; they married July 30(?), 1918. She died in 1942. Alexander married Rebecca Biddle Bradbeer in 1958. They moved to Swarthmore (Pennsylvania, USA) in 1969. Alexander lived to be 100 years old; he died in October 1989. He had a life-long interest in ornithology and published 70 Years of Birdwatching in 1974. His other books include Consider India: An Essay in Values, Gandhi Through Western Eyes, The India Ferment, Joseph Gundry Alexander, and New Citizens of India.
There are additional collections of Horace Alexander papers and materials at Library, Friends House, London, and at the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Oxford University.