William Allen, 3rd President of Bowdoin College

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William Allen

Birthdate: (84)
Birthplace: Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA
Death: July 16, 1868 (84)
Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Thomas Allen and Elizabeth Allen
Husband of Marie Mallaville Wheelock and Sarah Breed
Brother of Elisabeth Allen Lee and Jonathan Allen

Occupation: Author of Amer. Biographical Dict.
Managed by: Private User
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About William Allen, 3rd President of Bowdoin College

William Allen was a biographer, scholar and academic.


He was born at Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1784. He graduated from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1802 and after a few years of work became assistant librarian at Harvard. He became Pastor of Pittsfield 1810; and President of Bowdoin College 1820-1839. He was largely responsible for establishing the Medical School of Maine at Bowdoin College in 1820. He resigned in 1839. Died at Northampton in 1868.

He prepared his American Biographical and Historical Dictionary (1809), the first work of general biography published in the United States. In 1810 he succeeded his father as pastor of the Church in Pittsfield. He was chosen president of Dartmouth University in 1818 and remained until the Dartmouth College Case extinguished the institution in 1819. In 1820 he went to Bowdoin College, over which institution he presided until 1839, when he resigned and devoted himself to literary studies. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1823.

He collected 10,000 words not contained in standard dictionaries, and published them as a supplement to Webster's " Dictionary." tie wrote "Junius Unmasked," in which he sought to prove that Lord Sackville was the author of the Junius letters (Boston, 1828)" "Psalms and Hymns" (1835)" "Memoirs of Dr. Eleazer Wheeloek and of Dr. John Codman" (1853); "A Discourse at the Close of the Second Century of the Settlement at Northampton, Massachusetts." (1854)" " Wunnissoo, or the Vale of Housatonnuck," a poem (Boston, 1856)" a Dudleian lecture at Cambridge" a book of" Christian Sonnets" (NorthaInpton, 1860)" "Poems of Nazareth and the Cross" (1866); "Sacred Songs" (1867)" and numerous pamphlets, and contributed biographical articles to Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit." See his "Life, with Selections from his Correspondence" (Philadelphia, 1847). Some of the hymns, especially those about slavery, are curious.

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William Allen, 3rd President of Bowdoin College's Timeline

January 2, 1784
Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA
July 16, 1868
Age 84
Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts, USA