Born in 1919 in Greenville, South Carolina, Neill H. Alford, Jr., received his B.A. from The Citadel in 1940. He served in the infantry in Europe during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge for his service. He returned to the United States in March 1946, and he was discharged from active duty at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served in the Army Reserve from 1946 to 1969, commanding a civil affairs unit in Charlottesville for many years. He retired at the rank of Colonel in 1969.
Alford obtained his LL.B. in 1947 from the University of Virginia Law School. Alford began his long teaching career at the University as soon as he earned his degree in 1947, and he became a full Professor in 1956. Professor Alford's professional interests included administrative law, international law, tort law, insurance law, legal history, ethics, and trusts and estates. He was a Sterling Fellow at Yale from 1950-51 and a Ford Fellow at the University of Wisconsin in 1958. From 1956-58 he served as Special Counsel to the Virginia Code Commission. In 1966 he received a J.S.D. from Yale University, the same year he became the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of Law. During the 1961-62 academic year, he held the Chair of International Law at the Naval War College. From 1964 to 1971, Alford served as Chairman of the Law School Architectural Committee supervising the design of Phase I of the Law School building on the North Grounds. He was Special Counsel to the Rector and Visitors from 1972 to 1974. From 1974 to 1976, he was Dean and Joseph Henry Lumpkin Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. Upon his return to the Law School, Alford became the Percy Brown, Jr. Professor of Law. He held this post until his retirement in 1990, after which he continued to practice law. He served as a Reporter of Opinion for the Virginia Supreme Court from 1976 to 1985, and he was the Chairman of the Board of the University Press of Virginia from 1970-74 and 1987-89. In 1990, he received the University of Virginia's Raven Award in recognition of excellence in service and contributions to the university. He served as a visiting professor to Washington University in St. Louis, Ohio State, and Washington & Lee law schools. The author of many legal works, Alford is perhaps best known for his Cases and Materials on Decedents' Estates and Trusts. He died in 2007.
Alford's professional papers are available in Special Collections.