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William S. Allen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 22-6F-1318

Scope and Contents

The William S. Allen papers contains correspondence, scholarly papers, written speeches, audio visual material, clippings, reports, and photographs that document the personal and professional work of William S. Allen.

The scholarly papers are mainly papers written by Allen, and also the works of other historians like Henry Ashby Turner, Georg G. Iggers, David Abraham, and Willibald Gutsche. The reports range from annual UB budget reports to committee reports from the American Historical Association. The cassette tapes are from Allen’s involvement in the documentary “Europe: The Mighty Continent” and a film called “Strategic Bombing”. The newspaper clippings are primarily about WWII history and historians. The miscellaneous article clippings include reviews of Nazi Germany related books and other WWII material. The collection has folders dedicated to the Socialist International Congress and the New York State Association of European historians. The collection also contains scanned copies of correspondence between Paul Reusch and Hjalmar Schact, and folders with material related to the controversy of David Abraham’s book entitled The Collapse of the Weimar Republic.


  • circa 1930s-1990s


Language of Materials

Majority in English, some in German and Swedish.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection has been minimally processed. Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and [University Archives or Poetry Collection] before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Born October 5th, 1932 in Evanston, Illinois to parents William S. Allen Sr. and Rose (Brahm) Allen, William Sheridan Allen Jr. knew from a young age that he would study History, as he experienced many inspiring History teachers throughout his schooling. His first experience in Berlin, Germany as an exchange student in 1953 influenced him to specialize in modern German studies.

Allen attended Loyola Academy as a youth, and after graduating from the academy he attended the University of Michigan where he received a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science. He received his M.A. from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in the fields: Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Central Europe: 20th Century, Germany Since 1648, and International Relations.

Allen published more than 20 works in German and in English, including the book The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1930-1935, which is used in classrooms across the United States and has been translated into 10 different languages. Allen taught at six different universities, both domestic and international, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Missouri, Free University of Berlin, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and University at Buffalo, where he was made an emeritus professor. He presented over fifty scholarly papers and appeared on national television in the series: “Europe, The Mighty Continent – Some American Perspectives”.

Allen served on multiple councils and committees including: chairman for UB’s History Department from 1987-90, president of the Buffalo Center Chapter of the United University Professions, and chairman of the Graduate Group for Modern German Studies. Allen advocated for the University at Buffalo’s libraries throughout his time spent at the institution. He was chairman to University at Buffalo’s Library committee from 1971-73, and served as a member for various search committees for them in the 70’s.

Allen received scholarships, assistantships, and or fellowships every year from 1952-1960 except from 1957-1958. He was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Fellowships, 1979; listed in Who’s Who in America, 1990-96; awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1976; and he received an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship for one year’s research in West Germany, 1965-66. Allen passed away at the age of 80 on March 14, 2013, from a long time illness.


7 Linear Feet (7 cartons)


The William S. Allen papers contains correspondence, scholarly papers, written speeches, audio visual material, clippings, reports, and photographs that document the personal and professional work of William Sheridan Allen, an historian and scholar of Germany history and the rise of the Nazi Party.


Folders are arranged in the original order in which they were donated. Original folder titled have been maintained. Detailed description of the contents of each folder is located in each folders' scope and content note.


No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Minimally processed by Jordon Krivonos, supervised by Archives staff, June 2018. Encoded by Grace Trimper, June 2018.


Finding Aid for the William S. Allen papers
Finding aid prepared by Jordon Krivonos and Archives staff.
June 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)