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William Allen: administrative records

 Record Group
Identifier: A01.02.03

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Content

Correspondence and records concerning College affairs during William Allen's administration including Allen's inauguration, College laws, student petitions and degrees, professorships, the Allen vs. McKeen court case (1832-1833), Maine Hall fire (1822), Phi Beta Kappa, and the conferral of an honorary degree on Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. Additional primary source material concerning the early administration of the College is found in the records of the Board of Trustees or in the Records of the Faculty which includes the records of the Executive Government. For additional William Allen material, see the William Allen Family Papers.


  • Creation: 1820-1839


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Reverend William Allen (1784-1868), an evangelical Congregationalist, served as Bowdoin's third president from 1820 until 1839. He was largely responsible for establishing the Medical School of Maine at Bowdoin College in 1820. In the 1820's, he played a role in determining the College's political and legal status within the new state of Maine.

In 1831, the Maine Legislature passed an act prohibiting any president of a college in Maine to hold his position beyond commencement of that year, unless he was re-elected. Unable to attain a majority, Allen was dismissed in September 1831, only to be reinstated following the decision in the case of Allen vs. McKeen. In that case, Judge Joseph Story ruled that Bowdoin College was a private institution, and as such was not under the legislative control of Maine. This however, did not solve the personality and ideological conflicts that consistently alienated Allen from the Governing Boards, faculty and students. He resigned in 1839.


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Language of Materials


Guide to the William Allen Administrative Records
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

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

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