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Allen, William, 1784-1868



  • Existence: 1784 - 1868

William Allen was born in Pittsfield, MA. on January 2, 1784. After graduating from Harvard University in 1802, he studied ministry for two years with his father, Rev. Thomas Allen, and the Rev. Dr. John Pierce of Brookline, MA. In 1804, Allen became licensed to preach. In 1805, he received his AM from Harvard and became Harvard University's assistant librarian and regent, a position he held until 1810. In 1810, he succeeded his father as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield, MA. where he remained for seven years. In 1812, he received an honorary AM from Dartmouth College and in 1817, became Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the newly established Dartmouth University under the presidency of his father-in-law John Wheelock (DC Class of 1771), former President and Trustee of Dartmouth College. After Wheelock’s death, Allen became the executor of the John Wheelock estate and succeeded his father-in-law as President of Dartmouth University in 1818. However, in 1819, Dartmouth University was disbanded by the Supreme Court ruling. Allen accepted the position of President of Bowdoin College in 1820 and moved to Brunswick, ME. As president of Bowdoin, he established a medical school at the college. In 1831, he was ejected from the presidency as a result of a Maine State Act, but was restored to office two years later. He resigned from Bowdoin in 1838 and retired to Northampton, MA. While at Northampton, he published the third edition of his "American Biographical and Historical Dictionary" (1857). Other works by Allen include "Junius Unmasked" (1828), a memoir of Eleazar Wheelock (1838), and two books of verse: "Wunnissoo, or the Vale of Hoosatunnuk, a Poem" (1856) and "Poems of Nazareth and the Cross" (1.866). William Allen died in Northampton, MA on July 16, 1868.

Found in 16 Collections and/or Records:

William Allen diagram

Mss 819204
Identifier: Mss 819204
Overview In English.

William Allen History of Moor's Charity School

Mss 817172.4
Identifier: Mss 817172.4
Overview In English.

William Allen letter

Mss 812504
Identifier: Mss 812504
Scope and Contents Three-page letter from William Allen of Pittsfield to John Wheelock in Hanover, New Hampshire discussing commencement at Williams College and the War.

William Allen letter

Mss 820168.1
Identifier: Mss 820168.1
Overview In English.

William Allen papers

Identifier: MS-916
Overview William Allen (DC Honorary 1812) contain correspondence, letters and documents related to Dartmouth University and the Dartmouth College Case, two unpublished books, a manuscript memoir, seven writings, leases and financial records, and miscellaneous notes and accounts. WA was a Dartmouth College trustee, President of the short-lived Dartmouth University, 1818-1819, and President of Bowdoin College, 1820-1838. The papers document his tenure as minister in Massachusetts, his college...

William Allen to David McClure, 1817-04-10

McClure MS-1311: David McClure papers
 Folder: 817260, Box: 5
Scope and Contents Letter from William Allen in which he notifies him of the death of John Wheelock (photocopy)