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RG3115.AM:  James Thomas Allan, 1831-1885

Papers:  1878-1950

Bellevue, Sarpy County, Neb.:  Horticulturist; hotel proprietor

Size:  0.5 cu.ft.; 1 box


James T. Allan was born Sept. 30, 1831, in Pontiac, Michigan. He received a general education and was involved in a mercantile business in his native community. About 1855, he moved to Bellevue, Nebraska where he became the proprietor of the Bellevue House, the largest hotel in the Nebraska Territory. In 1858 or 1859, Allan moved to Omaha where he managed the Herndon House, one of Nebraska’s famous pioneer hotels. He later operated hotels and restaurants in Julesburg and Cheyenne but returned to Omaha in the late 1860s to become Chief Clerk of the post office.

One of Allan’s major interests was horticulture and forestry. He was president of the Nebraska State Horticultural Society, 1873-1875 and was the author of Forests and Orchards in Nebraska, A Handbook for Prairie Planting, 1884. At the time of his death in 1885, he was superintendent of tree-planting for the Union Pacific railroad. Along with J. Sterling Morton and Robert W. Furnas, Allan was regarded as one of Nebraska’s foremost promoters of tree-planting and agriculture.

James T. Allan married Elizabeth A. Buddington of Wyoming County, New York in June of 1852. They had seven children. Allan died in Omaha on November 20, 1885.


This collection consists of one box of manuscript material arranged in four series: (1) Correspondence, 1877-1958; (2) Scrapbook, 1860-1870; (3) Printed Matter, 1849-1950; and (4) Miscellany.

The bulk of this collection consists of printed matter relating to James T. Allan’s interest in and promotion of tree planting and agriculture in Nebraska. Also included are clippings and biographical data on the Allan and Bradley families and pamphlets and clippings about the history of Omaha and Bellevue, Nebraska. Correspondents include: Allan, James T., 1877; Furnas, Robert W., 1885; Metcalfe, Richard L., 1909.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1877-1958

Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1877-1958 (includes letters from Robert W. Furnas, 1885; and Richard L. Metcalfe, 1909)

Series 2 – Scrapbook, 1860-1870

  1. Scrapbook containing articles regarding tree-planting and agriculture, by J. T. Allan, mostly undated and unidentified

Series 3 – Printed Matter, 1849-1950

  1. Printed matter (includes clippings of the Herndon House Hotel Register, n.d.; Allan and Bradley family material; and obituary of James T. Allan, November 21, 1885)

  2. Bellevue, Larimer and St. Mary, Their History, Location, Description, and Advantages – reprint of an original publication by John Q. Goss, 1859

    Forests and Orchards in Nebraska, a Handbook for Prairie Planting, by J. T. Allan, Omaha, 1884.

Series 4 – Miscellany

  1. Miscellany (includes biographical sketch of J. T. Allan; and program of the Bellevue Historical Pageant; “La Bellevue Reads from her Diary”, October 1950.)



Allan, James Thomas, 1831-1885

Bellevue (Neb.) — History

Bellevue Press (Bellevue, Neb.)

Bradley, Grace Isabel (Allan), 1857-1909

Fontenelle Bank (Fontenelle, Neb.)

Herndon House (Omaha, Neb.)

Horticulture — Nebraska



See RG3034.AM for records relating to Herndon House (Omaha, Neb.).

See the Nebraska History index for articles about James T. Allan and Herndon House.

See the NSHS Library for various publications by James T. Allan and about Herndon House.


JEP/ht   08-11-1973

01-11-2010   Revised TMM