Henry Butler Allen papers
Held at: The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute [Contact Us]222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Henry Butler Allen (1887-1962) was a metallurgical and mechanical engineer and served as Director of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1935 until 1947. In 1939, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Council of Museums, now known as the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia.
During World War II, Allen served on the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) in the Armor and Ordnance Division. The NDRC was established in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt to coordinate, supervise, and conduct scientific research on the problems underlying the development, production, and use of mechanisms and devices of warfare. Most of its work was done under secrecy. It was reorganized under the Office of Scientific Research and Development in 1941.
This collection consists of materials produced as part of or relating to Allen's duties as Director and Secretary of the Franklin Institute in the 1930s, as well as materials related to work he conducted during World War II for the National Defense Research Committee in Philadelphia and England. Materials from the 1950s include documents from the Biochemical Research Foundation Advisory Council. Of special interest is a small amount of Thomas D. Cope correspondence regarding assisting scientists in Germany after World War II, particularly Max Planck, 1946-1950. Cope was a physicist and instructor/professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1906 to 1952 and had studied at the University of Berlin (now known as Humboldt University of Berlin) in Germany from 1912 to 1913 under Max Planck, a world renowned German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory. A collection inventory is available on-site.
Box 1 contains: Franklin Institute Dinner Committee account book, check stubs, and correspondence, 1938; Thomas D. Cope correspondence regarding assisting scientists in Germany, particularly Max Planck, 1946-1950; Germany Basic Handbook, April 1944
Box 2 contains: Speeches, 1936-1945; Correspondence, 1948 January-March; Former medalists, 1945-1959; U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1936-1937; Mission to Europe, WHOA Ordinance Department, volumes 1 and 2 by Henry Butler Allen, 1945
Box 3 contains: Correspondence by name/organization, 1934-1937; Museum Committee correspondence, 1933-1934; RCA television demonstration, 1939
Box 4 contains: Mission to England reports on small arms weapons and high velocity gun development, 1942; Office of Military Government for Germany (US) FIAT interrogation reports, 1946; Biochemical Research Foundation Advisory Council meeting minutes and correspondence, 1951-1955; U.S. east coast hydrographic map, 1949
Box 5 contains: French maps, undated; TFI centenary celebration newspaper clippings scrapbooks, 1924; Notes on mission to England: gun erosion, short bore liners, and Hispano aircraft gun and feed, 1942; Philadelphia Advisory Council on Vocational Training for War Production Workers Executive Committee meeting minutes, 1940-1945
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute directly for more information.
- Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development. National Defense Research Committee
- Military weapons
- Museum directors
- World War, 1939-1945
- World War, 1939-1945--Equipment and supplies
- World War, 1939-1945--Technology
- The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact the Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute for information about accessing this collection. Some military materials may be restricted.