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RG2632.AM:  William Vincent Allen, 1847-1924

Papers:  1889-1924

Madison, Madison County, Neb.:  U.S. Senator; lawyer; judge

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.


William V. Allen was born in Ohio on January 28, 1847, the son of Rev. Samuel Allen, a Methodist minister who had been sent as a missionary to the Cherokee Indians in 1839. Rev. Allen died when his son was only eleven months old, and in 1857, the family moved west to Iowa where William worked as a farm laborer. His meager frontier education was interrupted when he joined the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry as a private at the age of fifteen. After the Civil War, he continued his formal education at Upper Iowa University. He left college to study law under the direction of L.L. Ainsworth and was admitted to the bar on May 31, 1869.

Allen’s political career began after he had established his Madison, Nebraska law practice. He was elected judge of the ninth judicial district in 1891 and held that office until February of 1893 when he was elected by the Nebraska legislature to the office of United States Senator. In 1899 he was re-elected district judge but did not take the seat because of his appointment to the U.S. Senate after the death of Senator Monroe Hayward. From his entrance into the Senate in 1893 to his retirement from the body in 1901, Senator Allen became a well-known figure in national politics. He was a member of several Senate committees and chairman of the Committee on Forest Reservations and Protection of Game. It was through his efforts that millions of acres of public lands were incorporated into forest reservations.

An ardent supporter of the Missouri Valley, he secured bills for public buildings, drought relief, the opening of public land and authored the bill establishing the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition at Omaha in 1898. As a prominent member of the Populist party, Allen served as permanent president of the State Convention in 1892, 1894 and 1900, and of the National Convention in 1896. He was again judge of the ninth district from 1917 until his retirement from public office in 1921. He died of cancer on January 12, 1924.


This collection consists of two boxes of manuscript material containing correspondence (1889-1924), speeches (1893-1898, 1903), biographical information, newspaper clippings (ca. 1893-1934), scrapbooks (1893-1897), and a few miscellaneous items.

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence, speeches, and clippings relating to William V. Allen’s career in the U.S. Senate 1893-1901. The scrapbooks contain news and editorial comments printed during his first term in the Senate, 1893-1897.

Note:  A calendar of correspondents is available at the repository. Several references and eight articles about Allen and his career in the United States Senate, his involvement in the Gibson controversy, and his opposition to prohibition are available in Nebraska History magazine and earlier Nebraska State Historical Society publications (1893; 1902). Check the Nebraska History Index or ask the Reference Staff for assistance. Photographs of Allen are available in the portrait [RG2411.PH] and group portraits [RG2877.PH] collections, the Paolo E. Coletta collection [RG1869.PH], and the Spanish-American War collection [RG2577.PH].


Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1889, Dec. 17 – 1894, July 1

  2. Correspondence, 1894, July 1 – 1896, Mar. 1

  3. Correspondence, 1896, Mar. 1-Dec. 31

  4. Correspondence, 1897

  5. Correspondence, 1898-1899

  6. Correspondence, 1900-1902

  7. Correspondence, 1903-1913

  8. Correspondence, 1914-1924

  9. Correspondence, undated

Box 2


  1. Invitations

  2. Speeches including:

    1893, Aug., Silver Coinage

    1893, Oct., Silver Coinage

    1894, Apr., Defense of petition in person

    1898, Jan., Financial policy

    1898, Mar., Cuba must be free

    1903, Necessity for the Peoples Party

    n.d., The advancement of constitutional doctrines

  3. Biographical information, certificates, etc.

  4. Newspaper clippings

  5. Newspaper clippings

  6. Newspaper clippings

  7. Miscellaneous


  1. Scrapbook, 1893-1896 (see oversize)

  2. Scrapbook, 1893-1896 (see oversize)

  3. Scrapbook, 1894-1897 (see oversize)



Alger, Russell Alexander, 1836-1907

Allen, William Vincent, 1847-1924

Hayward, Monroe Leland, 1840-1899

Hitchcock, Gilbert Monnell, 1859-1934

Holcomb, Silas Alexander, 1858-1920

Indians of North America — Government relations

Manderson, Charles Frederick, 1837-1911

Morton, Julius Sterling, 1832-1902

Olney, Richard, 1835-1917

Paddock, Algernon Sidney, 1830-1897

Populist Party — Nebraska

Rosewater, Edward, 1841-1906

Rosewater, Victor, 1871-1940

Stotsenberg, John Miller, 1859-1899

Thurston, John Mellon, 1847-1916

Van Wyck, Charles Henry, 1824-1901

U.S. Congress. Senate, 1893-1901


Revised 04-15-2008   TMM