Allen Family mss., 1908-1972

Papers of Harriet Herron Collins Allen and Ruth Collins Allen, 1908-1972, at the Lilly Library, Indiana University

Finding aid created by Ava Dickerson

Creator: Allen, Harriet Herron Collins (Mrs. Samuel Ellsworth Allen), 1866-1942
Creator: Allen, Ruth Collins, 1895- (Wolkowska, Mrs. Tadeusz S.)
Creator: Lindsay, Vachel, 1879-1931
Title: Allen Family mss.
Collection No.: LMC 1013
Dates: 1908-1972

Quantity: 3 Boxes

Quantity: 3 standard

Abstract: The Allen family mss., ca. 1908-1972, consist of five letters from poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931, to Harriet Herron Collins Allen, (Mrs. Samuel Ellsworth Allen) of Cincinnati, Ohio, and of letters from several individuals involved with the theatre to the Harriet Allen's daughter, Ruth Collins Allen.
Location: Lilly - Stacks
Language: English .
Repository: Lilly Library
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500
Business Number: 812-855-2452

Biographical / Historical

Harriet Herron Collins Allen, 1866-1942, of Hamilton County, Ohio. Ruth Collins Allen, a writer and the daughter of Harriet Allen, owned and directed a business in New York called International Playwrights Service.

Scope and Contents

The Lindsay letters, dating from June 1919 through March 1921, relate primarily to getting him for lectures and readings in Cincinnati, which was finally accomplished March 3, 1921. Two of the letters, June 26, 1919 and January 29, 1920, enclose printed statements written by Lindsay regarding the sort of recital engagement he prefers to make. The first is titled: The KIND of a VISIT I LIKE to MAKE, to which he has penned "This is to be read with a certain sense of humor and it is not for publication." The second is titled: A Letter For Your Wicked Private Ear Only, again with an inked note appended at the bottom.
The larger part of the collection consists of letters to Ruth Collins Allen relating chiefly to theatrical productions and to the placement of scripts for stage or film production. Included in this portion is a group of more than ninety letters, dating 1932-1965, from English writer and play producer Malcolm Morley. At some point prior to this correspondence, Morley had been in Cincinnati with the Allens and his friendship with Ruth and other members of her family continued over a period of nearly four decades. The first three letters are in fact addressed to Ruth's mother, Harriet Collins Allen, first as Mrs. Allen, then as "Dear American Mother". All the letters are chatty and particularly interesting for the London scene during World War II, and especially of economic conditions immediately following it. He also discusses throughout the plays and other writing projects he is undertaking, the theatrical adjudications he does both in England and during a couple of summer trips to Canada in the 30s, and the activities of some of the actors and other stage personalities that he and Ruth both knew. A four-page typescript titled "London Scene" and several news clippings and playbills connected with Morley complete this section of the collection.
Other, smaller correspondence files include Russian playwright, Nicolas Evreinoff; New York writer Edward Hungerford (including an exchange with George S. Kaufman on Hungerford's behalf); and French playwrights Henri-René Lenormand and MadeleLey. An inventory of all the correspondents is available in-house.
A water color paper doll rendition labeled "Miss Allen", writings of "The Devilish Geniuses of the Turret," 1876-1877, and a few miscellaneous printed items complete the collection.


The collection is arranged into the following series: I. Correspondence, II. Artwork, III. Writings, and IV. Miscellaneous Printed Items.


Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

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Indexed Terms

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item], Allen Family mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift: 2001

Collection Inventory

Box 1


Box 1
folder 1
Lindsay, Nicholas Vachel - to Harriet Collins Allen , 1919-1921

Scope and Contents: Includes 1919, June 26 (enclosure); 1920, Jan. 29 (enclosure); 1921, Feb. 21; Mar. 1, 9

Box 1
folder 2-6
Morley, Malcolm - to Harriet Collins Allen and Ruth Collins Allen , 1932-1965
Box 1
folder 7
Morley, Malcolm - "London Scene"

Physical Description: Typescript document 4 p.

Box 1
folder 8
Morley, Malcolm - printed material
Box 1
folder 9-10
Miscellaneous letters to Ruth Collins Allen , 1908-1972
Box 1
folder 11
Evreinoff, Nicholas - to Ruth Collins Allen , 1937-1939

Scope and Contents: Evreinoff's letters are in French; Allen's letters are in English. Includes a photograph of Evreinoff

Box 1
folder 12
Hungerford, Edward - to Ruth Collins Allen , 1935

Scope and Contents: Included is an exchange between George S. Kaufman and Allen, Nov. 1935, re: a Hungerford writing project

Box 1
folder 13
Lenormand, Henri-René - to Ruth Collins Allen , 1935-1938
Box 1
folder 14
Ley, Madeleine - to Ruth Collins Allen , 1938

Language: French .

Box 1
folder 15
Unidentified male correspondent (Chalie?) , 1939
Box 1


Box 1
folder 16
Watercolor paper doll of "Miss Allen" , undated
Box 1


Box 1
folder 17
The Devilish Geniuses of the Turret , undated
Box 1
folder 17
"Cooings from Ratdom" , 1876, June 20

Physical Description: Title page only

Box 1
folder 17
"Log book" , 1876, September 9-30

Physical Description: Autograph document 9 p.

Box 1
folder 17
"Log book" , 1876, September 9-1877, June 21

Physical Description: Typescript document 18 p.

Box 1


Miscellaneous Printed Items
Box 1
folder 18
Obituary for Erastus S. Allen , undated
Box 1
folder 18
Playbill for "The Nativity" Federal Theatre , undated