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Henry Butler Allen papers

1924-1959 [bulk 1933-1959], 2.1 linear feet

7950

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute
Creator:
Allen, Henry Butler, 1887-1962
Title:
Henry Butler Allen papers
Date [bulk]:
1933-1959
Date [inclusive]:
1924-1959
Call Number:
7950
Extent:
2.1 Linear feet
Language:
English
Abstract:
Henry Butler Allen (1887-1962) was a metallurgical and mechanical engineer and served as Director of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1935 until 1947. During World War II, Allen served on the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) in the Armor and Ordnance Division. The Henry Butler Allen papers, 1924-1959 (bulk 1933-1959), consist of materials produced as part of or relating to Allen's duties at Director and Secretary of the Franklin Institute in the 1930s, as well as materials related to work he conducted during World War II for the National Defense Research Committee in Philadelphia and England.
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Biography/History

Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Henry Butler Allen (1887-1962) was a metallurgical and mechanical engineer and served as Director of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1935 until 1947. In 1939, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Council of Museums, now known as the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia.

During World War II, Allen served on the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) in the Armor and Ordnance Division. The NDRC was established in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt to coordinate, supervise, and conduct scientific research on the problems underlying the development, production, and use of mechanisms and devices of warfare. Most of its work was done under secrecy. It was reorganized under the Office of Scientific Research and Development in 1941.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials produced as part of or relating to Allen's duties as Director and Secretary of the Franklin Institute in the 1930s, as well as materials related to work he conducted during World War II for the National Defense Research Committee in Philadelphia and England. Materials from the 1950s include documents from the Biochemical Research Foundation Advisory Council. Of special interest is a small amount of Thomas D. Cope correspondence regarding assisting scientists in Germany after World War II, particularly Max Planck, 1946-1950. Cope was a physicist and instructor/professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1906 to 1952 and had studied at the University of Berlin (now known as Humboldt University of Berlin) in Germany from 1912 to 1913 under Max Planck, a world renowned German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory. A collection inventory is available on-site.

Box 1 contains: Franklin Institute Dinner Committee account book, check stubs, and correspondence, 1938; Thomas D. Cope correspondence regarding assisting scientists in Germany, particularly Max Planck, 1946-1950; Germany Basic Handbook, April 1944

Box 2 contains: Speeches, 1936-1945; Correspondence, 1948 January-March; Former medalists, 1945-1959; U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1936-1937; Mission to Europe, WHOA Ordinance Department, volumes 1 and 2 by Henry Butler Allen, 1945

Box 3 contains: Correspondence by name/organization, 1934-1937; Museum Committee correspondence, 1933-1934; RCA television demonstration, 1939

Box 4 contains: Mission to England reports on small arms weapons and high velocity gun development, 1942; Office of Military Government for Germany (US) FIAT interrogation reports, 1946; Biochemical Research Foundation Advisory Council meeting minutes and correspondence, 1951-1955; U.S. east coast hydrographic map, 1949

Box 5 contains: French maps, undated; TFI centenary celebration newspaper clippings scrapbooks, 1924; Notes on mission to England: gun erosion, short bore liners, and Hispano aircraft gun and feed, 1942; Philadelphia Advisory Council on Vocational Training for War Production Workers Executive Committee meeting minutes, 1940-1945

Administrative Information

Publication Information

The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories

Sponsor

This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Access Restrictions

Contact the Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute for information about accessing this collection. Some military materials may be restricted.

Processing Information Note

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute directly for more information.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials Note

National Archives: Records of the Office of Scientific Research and Development [OSRD], 1939-1950 (bulk 1939-1947), Record Group 227 (Federal records).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development. National Defense Research Committee
Geographic Name(s)
  • England
  • Germany
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
Personal Name(s)
  • Allen, Henry Butler, 1887-1962
  • Cope, Thomas D. (Thomas Darlington)
  • Planck, Max, 1858-1947
Subject(s)
  • Military weapons
  • Museum directors
  • Museums
  • Science
  • Scientists--Germany
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945--Equipment and supplies
  • World War, 1939-1945--Technology

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