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George Allen notes and lectures


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

George Allen (1808-1876) was an educator, Episcopal clergy, and author. He was born in Milton, Vermont to parents Sarah Prentiss Allen and Herman Allen, a respected lawyer and member of Congress. At age 16, George Allen was sent to Canada to study French in the home of Father Cosigny. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1827 where he studied classical literature as well as English and German romantics. He spent two years teaching languages at an academy in Georgia, Vermont (1828-1830) while also studying law on his own. He was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1831.

In 1832, Allen was confirmed in the Episcopal church and began the study of Hebrew and theology. He taught classics at the Vermont Episcopal Institute in 1832. In 1834, he was ordained a minister and served as a rector at St. Alban's Church for three years. Leaving the priesthood, Allen returned to academia and served as professor of Ancient Languages at Delaware College from 1837 to 1845, followed by his appointment as Professor of Latin and Greek at the University of Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1876. In 1847, he left the Episcopal church and converted to Catholicism. He served as the counsel in Philadelphia for Pope Pius IX. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1868.

Allen's published works include Remains of William S. Graham (1849), The Life of Philidor, Musician and Chess-Player (1863), and The History of the Automaton Chess Player in America (1859). He also wrote articles for the United States Service Magazine, and his earlier writings on theology were published in the New York Review and Churchman. Though he dedicated much of his life to teaching classics and was well-respected in the field, he published nothing on that topic.

In addition to his specialties in classics and theology, Allen was also interested in music, military science, and chess. His collection of over 1,000 books on chess was purchased by the Library Company of Philadelphia. He was a member of the Shakespeare Society of Philadelphia. He married Mary Hancock Withington (1799-1879), a descendent of John Hancock, in 1831. They had four children.

(Sources: Internal; Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume, 1607-1896; Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Literary Critics and Scholars, 1800-1850. Vol. 59 (1987); University of Pennsylvania Archives: Penn Biographies).

This small collection is comprised of both manuscript and printed material written or collected by George Allen. The material includes correspondence, notes, transcriptions, and syllabi pertaining to the study of French, Italian, Greek, and Latin literature, and English literature and drama. Also included is a bound manuscript titled "Lectures on Athenian Drama." Material related to the University of Pennsylvania includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and offprints. The collection also includes printed material, such as educational exercises and exams. Most items are undated. Existing folder titles and order have been maintained.

Gift of Dr. Gregory B. Keen, 1917, and Dr. E.F. Smith, date unknown.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
John Anderies
Finding Aid Date
2015 July 27
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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French and Italian notes (correspondence from F. W. Christern on Cassanova manuscript, "Bibliographical Note on Cassanova," lists of books, and Philadelphia Press clipping on Longfellow's Dante by Dr. George W. Hunter [July 24, 1867]), 1867, 1870, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Greek and Latin notes I ("Grecian Art of War," "Sketch on Greek and Latin Metre," "Syllabus on instruction in scanning Greek and Latin verse," excerpts from Thiersch's Greek Grammar, Latin poem, notes on Greek language, Greek verse, Greek education, printed exercise in Greek translation), 1870, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Greek and Latin notes II ("The Medea of Euripides," "Syllabus of instruction on Greek and Latin Metres," "The Greek System of the Orders," correspondence from J.G. Rosengarten with Greek enclosure, notes on Pindar, pamphlet on "A Syllabus of the Metres of Horace, Prepared for the Sophomore Class of 1865-6," printed Greek examinations), 1838-1866, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
Bound manuscript, "Lectures on the Athenian Drama," by George Allen, 1858-1859.
Box 1 Folder 4
English language and literature and drama (variety of notes on English literature, untitled play [Burlington, April 30, 1825], "The relation of Metaphysicks to Poetry," "American Theatre" [for Commencement, U.V.-M., August 8, 1827 by Percival Morse], "English Oration" [for Tuesday, August 8, 1826 by George Allen], Proof "Directions for Preparing Shakespeare Copy," Offprint "On a Disputed Passage in Shakespeare's Hamlet," "Notes on Romeo and Juliet" [by George Allen, 1866-1867], notes on pronunciation, newspaper clippings), 1822-1867, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Miscellaneous talks (five untitled addresses, "The Imagination," "A Lecture delivered before the Society of Del. Coll. Sept. 23, 1829"), 1829-1848, undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
University of Pennsylvania items (clippings from Public Ledger and Daily Transcript, letter from George Allen to George M. Wharton, Esq., Chairman of the Committee on the Department of Arts [June 3, 1859], blank "Report[s] to the Faculty," "Remarks of the Faculty of the Arts on the Resolution offered at the meeting of Dec. 5th 1854," draft letter to the Board of Trustees [February 27, 1854], letter from Charles King to Prof. [V?] (December 21, 1854), letter from G.M. Wharton to George Allen [April 3, 1863], offprint "Obituary Notice of Professor Henry Reed," pamphlet "Carpe Viam; A Poem delivered before the senior class [June 2, 1865 by Wm. Wilberforce Newton], miscellaneous items), 1854-1876, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7
Miscellaneous items (letter to J. F. Benjafield, Esq. from J.W. Hamiton [Oxford, March 1821], letter to George Allen from J. E. Worcester [Cambridge, January 24, 1860], programs of the 17th and 20th Annual Dinner of The Shakespeare Society of Philadelphia, offprint "Haileybury College, June 1872," newspaper clippings, scraps of notes, poetry, and musical notation), 1821-1872, undated.
Box 1 Folder 8

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