Skip to Content

William S. Allen

Born: 1933
Death: 2013

Born October 5th, 1932 in Evanston, Illinois, 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 Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in: 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.

Affiliation(s): History
Record Group(s): 22
Biographical File Contains:
  • Photographs