Alexander C. Burr, son of North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Alexander G. Burr, was born in Bottineau, North Dakota, on March 21, 1901. Burr graduated from Rugby High School and received a B.A. Degree from Jamestown College, North Dakota, a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, and an engineering certificate from the University of Munich, Germany. He was Dean of Faculty at Jamestown College from 1938 to 1942. He then did research for the North Dakota State Industrial Commission's war effort and became director of research for the North Dakota Research Foundation in 1943. Burr's engineering expertise was utilized when he took a leave of absence from the Research Foundation to become supervising engineer for two major energy research projects: the construction of the lignite gasification plant in Grand Forks in 1947 and the U.S. Bureau of Mines Lignite Research Laboratory in 1949. In 1949, he was also Chief of the U.S. Bureau of Mines Region 5 Fuels Technology Division. He resigned this post in 1953 to resume the directorship of the North Dakota Research Foundation in Bismarck. He continued in this capacity until the Research Foundation was superceded by the State Economic Development Commission in 1957 and technical research was no longer its emphasis.
Burr was active in professional engineering societies. He organized and was the first president of the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers. He was also chair of the North Dakota State Board for the Registration of Professional Engineers and active in the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Chemical Society.
Alexander C. Burr died in Bismarck, North Dakota, on August 30, 1977.
The Alexander C. Burr Papers date from 1940 to 1977. The majority of the material consists of miscellaneous reports from the 1950s regarding North Dakota lignite and the state's natural resources. Also included is a statistical analysis of Charles Carothers' participation in the first North Dakota Constitutional Convention in 1889. Carothers was the youngest member of the Convention and Burr's maternal uncle.
Separated and placed in the Orin G. Libby Photographic Collection were five North Dakota related photographs. Also separated and accessioned as individual Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collections were copies of the Polish Review (OGL#1183) and the Netherlands News and Netherlands News Digest (OGL#1184). Each of these serials were published during World War II, and designed to make the American public aware of the plight of Nazi occupied countries.