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Major General Henry Tureman Allen Collection

Identifier: MS-439

Scope and Content

Major General Henry T. Allen served 41 years in the U.S. Army from 1882 to 1923. During his career he served in a variety of posts including as an instructor at the United States Military Academy and as military attache in both Russia and Germany. He was involved in a number of conflicts, including the Spanish-American War, the Punitive Expedition in Mexico to capture Pancho Villa, and World War I. The collection contains only five folders. The first two folders contain photographs of him and his children. The third folder contains a short biography of Allen. The fourth folder contains a reprint of his Alaskan expedition and the last folder contains a biography of his life. Researchers looking for more extensive information about General Allen should consult the "Henry T. Allen Papers" located at the Library of Congress.


  • Creation: 1891-1985


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Henry Tureman Allen

Henry Tureman Allen was born on April 13, 1859 in Sharpsburg, Kentucky. His parents were Susan (Shumate) and Sanford Allen. He was the thirteenth of fourteen children. After attending Peeks Mill Military Academy, he attended Georgetown College and graduated in 1878. He then transferred to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 1882. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the cavalry and assigned to Alaska in 1884. Allen is most well-known for the expedition he led in 1885, which explored the Copper River, along with the Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers. In total, Allen and his expedition explored through roughly 15,000 miles of unexplored wilderness in only five months traveling 1,500 miles.

From 1888 to 1890, he worked as an instructor at West Point followed by a tour of duty in the old American West at Fort Keogh, Montana Territory where he guarded the Northern Pacific Railroad while it was under construction. This was followed by tours of duty as a military attache to Russia (1890-1895) and Germany (1897-1898). When the Spanish-American War began, he was assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and participated in the Battle of El Caney in Cuba. In 1899, he was reassigned to the Philippines where he worked to suppress insurgents. In 1907, then Major Allen returned to the United States. In 1910, he joined the Army General Staff as a cavalry expert. In August 1912 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and then in July 1916 he became a Colonel. He assumed command of the 8th Cavalry Regiment and led them during the Punitive Expedition, in which Brigadier General John J. Pershing attempted to capture Pancho Villa.

After the United States entered World War I, Allen was promoted to Brigadier General in May 1917, and made a temporary Major General in command of the 90th Infantry Division at Camp Travis, Texas. In May 1918, his unit was reassigned to France where it participated in the final allied push along the St. Mihiel salient. After the war, Allen was appointed commander of the American Forces in Germany in July 1919. From 1919 to 1923, he acted as military governor of the American zone of occupation around Coblenz. He was also a member of the Inter-Allied Rhineland and High Commission.

In 1923 he was promoted to the permanent rank of Major General. That same year he retired from the Army. Following his retirement, he lived in Washington, D.C., where he wrote two books about his time in the Rhineland. Allen served as the executive officer and Vice-President of the American Olympic Committee for the 1924 Summer Olympics. In 1928, despite being nearly 70 years old, he was considered as a vice-presidential running mate for Democrat Al Smith.

General Allen died in Buena Vista Springs, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1930. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


0.2 linear feet

Language of Materials



Major General Henry T. Allen was an officer in the U.S. Army from 1882 to 1923. He fought in the Spanish-American War and World War I. His daughter married Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews (See MS-440). General Allen was famous for his 1885 exploration of 15,000 miles of Alaskan wilderness in the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk River valleys. The collection is small, consisting of photographs of him and his children, along with a 1985 reprint of his 1885 Alaskan expedition report, and a book about his life.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection consists of five folders.

Acquisition Information

The Major General Henry Tureman Allen Collection was deposited at Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by Jan Andrews Clark and Frank Maxwell Andrews III for a period of three years in January 2012. The deposit agreement may be cancelled by either party after January 1, 2015.

Related Material

MS-440, Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews Collection MSS10504, Henry T. Allen Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Guide to the Major General Henry Tureman Allen Collection (MS-439)
Finding aid prepared by John Armstrong, June 2012
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA