Summary Information

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
William Allen Family Papers, 1805-1970, n.d. (bulk 1805-1862)
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1805-1862
Date [inclusive]
0.25 linear feet.

Preferred Citation

William Allen Family Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Allen (1784-1868) was a Congregational minister, author, and college president. A graduate of Harvard (1802), he served as regent there from 1804 to 1810, when he took over his father's parish in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1817 he became president of the short-lived Dartmouth University, leaving Dartmouth for Bowdoin when the University was dissolved.

Allen became Bowdoin's third president, serving, with one interruption, from 1820 to 1839. He worked to establish the Medical School of Maine and to lead the College through the formation of the new state of Maine in 1820. Information on Allen's tenure is available in the William Allen Administrative Records. He retired to Northampton, Massachusetts in 1839.

Allen married Maria Malleville in 1812; the couple had eight children. Malleville died in 1828. In 1831, Allen married Sarah Johnson.

Allen's papers are supplemented by his published writings, among them three editions of the American Biographical Dictionary, Junius Unmasked, and many sermons and theological works.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, chiefly letters written by William Allen from Brunswick or Northampton, and letters to Allen's daughter, Elizabeth L. Allen, from cousins and friends. Biographical material, images of William Allen, newspaper clippings, and realia are also included.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288

Collection Inventory

M3.1: William Allen Material, 1805-1970, n.d.   0.2 linear feet.

Series Description:

Letters by William Allen, 1805-1860, most written from Brunswick or Northampton. Correspondents include college presidents Henry Davis of Middlebury College and Benjamin Hale (Bowdoin 1820) of Geneva College (now Hobart and William Smith Colleges) as well as Bowdoin colleagues, Professor Nehemiah Cleaveland and Trustee Reuel Williams. Brief biographical records, realia, and images of Allen are also included.


Arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder
1 1

Biographical material, 1853, n.d. 

1 2

Correspondence - alphabetical and chronological list 

1 3

Correspondence, 1805-1827 

1 4

Correspondence, 1828-1862 

1 5-6

Images, n.d. 

1 7

Newspaper clippings, 1822-1970 

MRealia 4

Thimble belonging to Allen's servant, Phebe Ann Jacobs [has accompanying papers]. 

M3.2: Family Correspondence, 1836-1839, n.d.   0.05 linear feet.

Series Description:

Allen family correspondence, principally personal letters to William Allen's daughters, Elizabeth L., Charlotte, and Clara. The bulk of the letters are to Elizabeth L. Allen, 1836-1839, from cousins and friends. Correspondents include Aurelia and Mary Dwight, Susan Brewster, and Caroline Jordon.


Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 8


1 9

1839, n.d.