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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Family History: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jmoyna&id=I026570

ALDERSON, James. (Dubuque County, Iowa, Apr. 17, 1864 --Strawberry Point, IA, Nov. 2, 1953). MAYOR. Alderson graduated from the Iowa State Teachers' College in Cedar Falls, Northwestern University medical school, and advanced studies in London England before opening his practice in Shullsburg and then Benton, Wisconsin. (1) He came to Dubuque in 1898 when the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR was still occurring. He served from 1907 to 1915 as a member of the water board and spent much of his time supporting a change of government to the city-manager style. In 1915 he was the chairman of the building committee for FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE). (2) At around the same time, he was active in the local SELF RELIANCE ASSOCIATION. (3)

He served as the city's mayor in 1920 when the city-manager form of government was begun through 1926. During his years as mayor, the principal actions of the city included filling the Rafferty and 4th street sloughs, extending the water and gas mains, building new streets including Rockdale Road, and improving the fire department. (4) As the mayor, he was also a member of the Fire Prevention Committee which included the mayor, all three members of the Civil Service Commission, city electrician, a newspaperman, and a banker. (5)

Alderson was a member of the board of trustees of FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE) for fourteen years. He managed a hospital in Wichita, Kansas during WORLD WAR I and returned to Dubuque to practice and serve as president of the Dubuque County Medical Society. From 1926 to 1948 he was a member of the Dubuque public library board and from 1928 to 1937 he served on the school board. (6)

In 1947 Alderson was one of three graduates of Iowa State Teachers' College (later University of Northern Iowa) to receive 60-year medals at the 64th annual alumni reunion in Cedar Falls. (7)



1. "Dr. Alderson to be Honored," Telegraph-Herald, May 22, 1947, p. 19

2. "Public Notice," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 4, 1915, p. 8

3. "Self Reliance Association Meets," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 10, 1913, p. 7

4. "Former Mayor Sees Dubuque Moving Ahead," Telegraph Herald, September 15, 1946, p. 16

5. "Old Dubuque: 1921 Foire Prevention Group" (photo), Telegraph-Herald, July 6, 1952, p. 15

6. "Former Mayor..."

7. Dr. Alderson..."