Skip to main content

Charles Edwin Allen Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0008

Scope and Contents

The collection consists mostly of letters written to Charles Allen between 1867 and 1911 by friends, business associates, political and labor figures, and those interested in local history. The letters are arranged chronologically with correspondent, place from which the letters were written and dates indicated for each. They are a mix of business and personal letters with many centering on Allen’s work with the Riverside Press and H.O. Houghton & Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Others were written by people interested in his local history writings or his involvement with various labor organizations and progressive causes. Of particular interest is a scrapbook of letters labeled “Valuable letters and papers, 1852-1909” that includes letters from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Joshua L. Chamberlain, William Dean Howells, John D. Long, William Lloyd Garrison and Frank J. Garrison, among others.

The collection also contains correspondence, pamphlets and leaflets from various labor organizations with which Allen was associated including the Cambridge Typographical Union, the Boston Typographical Union and the Knights of Labor. A biographical sketch written in 1982 by Charles A. Scontras, Maine labor historian, is also included.


  • Creation: 1852-1982
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1867-1911


Access Restrictions

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the repository.

Biographical Note

Charles Edwin Allen was born in Sanford, Maine, on October 26, 1839. After attending the Standish Academy and the seminary at New Hampton Academy [Institute?] in New Hampshire, he moved to Dover, New Hampshire, and became a printer’s apprentice for the Morning Star, a Free Baptist newspaper. In 1861 he enlisted in the First Rhode Island Cavalry, serving for about a year before being discharged because of injuries received during the war.

After leaving the military, he worked as a compositor for the Eastern Argus in Portland, Maine, and then was employed by the Boston Journal and later the Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also worked as a bookkeeper and cashier for H.O. Houghton and Co. In 1874 he moved to Dresden, Maine, and thereafter spent time collecting material for his book History of Dresden, Maine: formerly a part of the old town of Pownalborough, from its earliest settlement to the year 1900, nearly ready for publication at the time of his death in 1911 and finally published in 1931. He also wrote articles for newspapers and journals and was a member of several historical societies, contributing articles of local historical interest to them.

Allen was active in various progressive causes and was a strong advocate for free trade. He was a member of the Cambridge Typographical Union and joined the Knights of Labor in 1886, serving as an official in the Maine organization. He served as a Republican member of the Maine state legislature in 1883 and ran on the Democratic ticket for Congress in 1888 and 1890, being defeated both times by Republican candidate Nelson Dingley, Jr. In 1894 he joined the People’s Party and was its candidate for Congress from the second district.

Charles Allen married Elizabeth M. Young of Phippsburg, Maine, in 1861. He died in Dresden, Maine, on October 29, 1911.


1 box

Language of Materials



Business and personal letters written to Charles Allen between 1867 and 1911 by friends, business associates, political and labor figures and those interested in local history.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Maine State Museum, Augusta, ME, in 1983.

Guide to the Charles Edwin Allen Papers
Box And Folder List Available
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States