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Collection Number: 02711

Collection Title: George Washington Allen Papers, 1832-1932

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 520 items)
Abstract Planter of Pelika and Lafayette, Ala.. Also represented are his brother, Alexander A. Allen (fl. 1832-1870), planter and lawyer of Bainbridge and Lexington, Ga.; Alexander's son, Alexander A. Allen (d. 1918), reporter and editor of Macon and Atlanta, Ga.; Willia M. (b. 1853) and Ruth Linton Allen (fl. 1891-1914), Alabama educators and travelers; and other Allen family members and their Wheat and Linton relations. Chiefly correspondence between George Washington Allen and his brother, Alexander A. Allen, about planting (chiefly cotton); plantation life, including buying and selling slaves; family affairs; and the practice of law. Civil War letters deal with preparations for war and, later, with descriptions of destruction left in the wake of battles. Postwar letters discuss Reconstruction in various states. Letters, 1870s-1880s, relate to the journalism career of Alexander A. Allen's son, Alexander, Jr. Among his correspondents is Georgia governor Hoke Smith (1855-1931). Also included are letters, chiefly in the 1890s through 1918, from various family members traveling in Europe, particularly William and Ruth Linton Allen, whose teaching careers in various Alabama girls' schools are also documented. Many letters from the 1910s through 1932 deal with Linton family history. Also included are school essays; scrapbooks relating to the teaching careers of Allen family members, 1880s-1920s; 1828 and 1831 mathematics books; and scrapbooks from European travel in the 1890s.
Creator Allen, George Washington, fl. 1832-1874.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the George Washington Allen Papers #2711, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Ruth and Beth Allen of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1940.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

George Washington Allen owned large plantations around Opelika and Lafayette, Alabama. His brother, Alexander A. Allen, held sizeable plantations near Bainbridge and Lexington, Georgia, and was also a lawyer. A large portion of this collection consists of letters between the two brothers, as they discuss business, political, and family affairs. Topics in antebellum papers include: planting and harvesting of crops (chiefly cotton); life on the plantations, including the buying and selling of slaves; family affairs; the practice of law; and, as the Civil War approached, the possibility of conflict between the North and the South. Civil War papers deal with military preparations and, later, with descriptions of destruction left in the wake of battles. There are a few early papers relating to the Wheat family, to which the Allens were related, and the Wheats surface periodically throughout the collection.

Postwar letters discuss Reconstruction in Georgia and Alabama, but also in Florida and Texas where family members, including Alexander A. Allen, who opened a law practice in Tampa, had settled. A major topic during his period is developing relationships between farmers and former slaves. In the 1870s and 1880s, topics covered include family affairs; the cotton crop; and life at the Opelika Female Institute, the Home School in Opelika (Misses B. & W. Allen, principals), and other Alabama schools in which some of Allen family members, chiefly women, taught. There are also letters to Alexander A. Allen's son, also named Alexander A. Allen (d. 1918), reporter for the Macon Telegraph and the Atlanta Journal, and, later, editor of the Telegraph, from, among others, Hoke Smith (1855-1931). In the 1890s through 1918 and again in the 1920s, there are letters from various family members traveling in Europe, particularly Willie M. (b. 1853) and Ruth Linton Allen, whose teaching careers in various Alabama locations are also documented. Willie was principal of the Girls' High School in Montgomery and on the faculty of the State Normal College at Florence, and Ruth appears to have taught chiefly in schools for girls in Birmingham. Many letters from the 1910s through the 1930s deal with genealogy, particularly relating to the Allen family's Linton relations. There are additional Linton family history materials in Series 2, which also contains miscellaneous clippings, school essays, and other items.

Volumes consist chiefly of scrapbooks relating to the teaching duties of Allen family members, 1880s-1920s. Also included, however, are 1828 and 1831 mathematics books, an 1869 record of cotton picked, and volumes containing souvenirs of European trips.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1832-1932 and undated.

About 420 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly correspondence among Allen family members, and between the Allens and their relatives, business associates, and friends.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1832-1865

Folder 1-2

Folder 1

Folder 2

1832-1849 #02711, Subseries: "1.1. 1832-1865" Folder 1-2

The earliest correspondence is between members of the Wheat family of Thomaston, Upson County, Georgia, and the Allen family of Bainbridge, Georgia. There are several letters from Alexander A. Allen in Bainbridge to his brother George Washington Allen at Opelika and Lafayette, Alabama. Many of these letters relate to plantation business, especially to cotton planting and to the management of slaves. Of special interest are the following: 16 March 1843: Alexander to George about their father's financial affairs, gold mining, and their sister's marrying Dunstad Blackwell; 4 June 1843: typed transcription of a letter of W. L. Harris at Princeton, New Jersey, to George, telling of his arrival and discussing the large number of students from the South and the poor reception President Tyler received during a visit to the school (location of original unknown); 28 September 1849: J. S. Allen of Anderson County, South Carolina, to his son George about the murder of a friend and relative in Alabama by a slave.

Folder 3-5

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

1850-1855 #02711, Subseries: "1.1. 1832-1865" Folder 3-5

Thirty-one letters from Alexander to George, chiefly relating to farming, horses, and debts. Alexander was a lawyer as well as a planter, and, beginning in 1854, his letters are on letterhead from Allen & Evans Law Office, Bainbridge, Georgia. In 1850, there is evidence that George had journeyed to Texas and back, and, in 1855, there is correspondence concerning their father's death and their brother Stephen's claims to their father's estate. There are a few letters from sister M. A. (Amanda) Barrett in Ruckersville, Georgia, about her family. Of special interest are the following: 12 May 1851: Maria Allen, Alexander's wife, to Margaret Allen, George's wife, containing family news; 10 July 1851: Alexander to George about Maria's death, and subsequent letters about how he and his children were managing; 27 July 1852: Alexander to George about his approaching marriage to Ann L. Dickenson.

Folder 6-7

Folder 6

Folder 7

1856-1860 #02711, Subseries: "1.1. 1832-1865" Folder 6-7

Thirty-three letters from Alexander to George, chiefly about family matters, the cotton crop, and the practice of law. The letters were written from Americus, Bainbridge, Starksville, Macon, Albany, and Rock Pond, Georgia. Also included are several letters to and from other family members.

Folder 8

1861-1865 #02711, Subseries: "1.1. 1832-1865" Folder 8

Fourteen letters from Alexander to George. From 1863 through 1865, there are scattered letters about Wheat and Allen family news. Of special interest are the following: 12 February 1861: Alexander to George, giving his political comments on the Confederacy; 23 February 1861: S. D. Blackwell of Elberton, Georgia, to George on the inevitability of war; 10 April 1861: Alexander to George, saying that it is not yet time for married men to commit themselves to leaving their homes; 16 August 1861: Alexander to George, about Alexander's becoming captain of the Steam Mill Home Guard and saying that military spirit is high in Georgia; 17 February 1862: Alexander to George about pork, cotton, and corn, and about his decision not to sell the Rock Pond property; 19 August 1865: George's oath of allegiance, 22 August 1865: George's amnesty paper.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1866-1932

Folder 9

1866-1870 #02711, Subseries: "1.2. 1866-1932" Folder 9

Three letters from Alexander to George and the beginning of correspondence of Willie M. Allen, educator and world traveler. Of special interest are the following: 27 February 1866: Alexander to George about setting up a law practice in Tampa, Florida; 21 January 1868: Willie to "Aunt Beff" Wheat, telling about former slaves renting houses in Tuskegee so as to be able to vote in the coming election; 21 March and 26 June 1870: Alexander to George about his law practice and about selling the Chattahoochee plantation to a relative.

Folder 10-14

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

1870-1899 #02711, Subseries: "1.2. 1866-1932" Folder 10-14

Chiefly letters to Alexander A. Allen's son, also named Alexander A. Allen (d. 1918), reporter for the Macon Telegraph and the Atlanta Journal, and, later, editor of the Telegraph, from, among others, Hoke Smith (1855 1931). Also included are letters relating to the teaching careers of Willie and Ruth Linton Allen, chiefly at schools for girls in various Alabama locations, and, beginning in 1895, from Willie on her European travels. Of special interest are the following: 25 December 1874: Thaddeus K. Oglesby, secretary to Alexander H. Stephens, to Alexander a political appointment for George; 1 December 1888: A. H. Colquitt to Alexander about the revenue question; 28 March 1891: copy of testimonial to Willie's teaching ability. She had been principal of the Girls' High School in Montgomery and on the faculty of the State Normal College at Florence. The testimonial is related to her applying to be president of the Industrial School for Girls in Macon; 12 and 18 December 1895: Hoke Smith, U.S. secretary of the interior to Alexander about his opposition to free silver and about the ownership of the Macon Telegraph and Messenger; 19 November 1896: W. Y. Atkinson, governor of Georgia, to Alexander about Alexander's decision to leave the state.

Folder 15-17

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

1900-1932 #02711, Subseries: "1.2. 1866-1932" Folder 15-17

Chiefly letters from Willie on various European tours. Also included are letters to and from family members, including an 1918 letter from Alexander A. Allen, then editor of the Macon Telegraph. Many of the letters are to Ruth Linton Allen and concern Linton family history.

Folder 18

Undated and fragments #02711, Subseries: "1.2. 1866-1932" Folder 18

Chiefly letters from Willie on various European trips.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Papers.

About 75 items.
Folder 19

Clippings: #02711, Series: "2. Other Papers." Folder 19

Chiefly editorials probably written by Alexander A. Allen for the Macon Telegraph in the 1890s and later reports of the activities of various Allen family members.

Folder 20

School essays: #02711, Series: "2. Other Papers." Folder 20

Essays by Alexander A. Allen and George Washington Allen at Franklin College in the late 1830s and early 1840s, and one by Willie M. Allen at Tuskegee Female College in 1870.

Folder 21

Linton family history: #02711, Series: "2. Other Papers." Folder 21

Notes and other items relating to the Linton family.

Folder 22

Miscellaneous: #02711, Series: "2. Other Papers." Folder 22

An announcement from the Misses Allen's School in Montgomery, 1888-1889; Willie M. Allen's 1902 passport; her certificate of registration as an elector in Alabama, 1928; a handwritten copy of "Yellow Jasmine," a poem by Mary Redding, 1905; and a printed copy of "His Teacher," a poem by Marion Bernice Craig, 1926.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Volumes, 1828-1922.

21 items.

Chiefly scrapbooks relating to the teaching careers of various Allen family members, especially Ruth Linton Allen, but also earlier mathematics books and later scrapbooks about European travel.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1. Mathematics Books.

Folder 23

Volume 1: 1828: #02711, Subseries: "3.1. Mathematics Books." Folder 23

Mathematics book of [Francis] Wheat, Franklin Academy, Upson County, Georgia.

Folder 24-25

Folder 24

Folder 25

Volumes 2-3: 1831: #02711, Subseries: "3.1. Mathematics Books." Folder 24-25

Mathematics books, Francis A. Wheat, Franklin Academy, Upson County, Georgia.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. School Volumes.

Folder 26

Volume S-4: 1880-1884: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 26

Scrapbook containing programs from the Opelika Female Institute and other Alabama schools; and miscellaneous clippings, chiefly about education (formerly volume 5).

Folder 27-30

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Volumes 5-8: 1888-1889: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 27-30

Notebooks from the Misses Allen's School in Montgomery, Alabama: examination papers of Nellie Bell; language compositions of young pupils; vocal music of the pupils; and geography lessons (formerly volumes 6-9).

Folder 31

Volume 9: 1891-1892: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 31

Scrapbook of Ruth Linton Allen containing school programs, examination lists, clippings, souvenirs from trips to the North, and other items (formerly volume 10).

Folder 32

Volume 10: 1899: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 32

Scrapbook of Ruth Linton Allen containing history notes, clippings about education, and personal notes (formerly volume 16).

Folder 33

Volume 11: 1898-1901: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 33

Scrapbook of Ruth Linton Allen containing clippings on literature and history, personal notes, letters about school affairs, and letters from pupils (formerly volume 14).

Folder 34

Volume 12: 1905-1908: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 34

Scrapbook from the Shakespeare Club of Birmingham, Alabama, of which Ruth Linton Allen was president (formerly volume 17).

Folder 35

Volume 13: 1914: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 35

Scrapbook of Ruth Linton Allen containing Linton genealogy, Shakespeare Club materials, and items relating to school affairs (formerly volume 18).

Folder 36

Volume 14: 1916: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 36

Souvenir of the Margaret Allen School Shakespeare Tercentenary (formerly volume 20).

Folder 37

Volume 15: 1918-1919: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 37

Scrapbook containing records of Latin classes at the Margaret Allen School, Birmingham, Alabama, and miscellaneous photographs and clippings (formerly volume 21).

Folder 38

Volume 16: 1915-1922: #02711, Subseries: "3.2. School Volumes." Folder 38

Minute book of the Margaret Allen School, Birmingham, Alabama (formerly volume 19).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.3. Other Volumes.

Folder 39

Volume 17: 1869: #02711, Subseries: "3.3. Other Volumes." Folder 39

Cotton book, recording amount of cotton picked and by whom (formerly volume 4).

Folder 40

Volumes S-18 and S-19: 1894-1896: #02711, Subseries: "3.3. Other Volumes." Folder 40

Pressed flower books of Ruth Linton Allen from trips to Europe (formerly volumes 11 and 12).

Folder 41

Volume 20: 1899: #02711, Subseries: "3.3. Other Volumes." Folder 41

Scrapbook of Ruth Linton Allen containing souvenirs from a summer trip to Europe (formerly volume 15).

Folder 42

Volume S-21: 1898-1918: #02711, Subseries: "3.3. Other Volumes." Folder 42

Scrapbook containing stories, puzzles, articles and pictures from magazines (formerly volume 13).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, April 199

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

This description is based on an inventory produced by Ellen R. Strong in 1965

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