Allen French.
Not to be reproduced without permission from the Concord Free Public Library.

Vault A45, French, Unit 1

EXTENT: .83 linear feet (2 containers).

ORGANIZATION: Seven series: I. Hoar family research and publication, 1920-1940; II. Historic Concord, 1942-1947; III. Typescripts on various historical topics, [before 1915]-[1935]; IV. Research materials (notes, correspondence, clippings, etc.) on various historical topics, 1904-1945; V. Printed pamphlets, stories, and articles, 1898-[1957]; VI. Dramatic productions, 1904, 1935; VII. Material about Allen French, 1924-1926.

BIOGRAPHY: Author, historian, antiquarian, and resident of Concord, Mass.; lecturer on historical and other topics; instructor in English at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Born in Boston, November 28, 1870, to John James and Frances Maria Stratton French. Attended Boston schools, M.I.T. (S.B. 1892), the University of Berlin (1892-1893), and Harvard (A.B. 1894). Married Ellen Dorrance and moved to Concord in 1898. The couple had three daughters. Ellen French died in 1918; Aletta Lillibridge became Allen French’s second wife in 1922. Allen French was a prolific writer of juvenile stories for serial and book publication and of historical fiction, books based on Icelandic history, works on gardening, and studies of Colonial, Revolutionary, and Concord history. His historical titles include The Siege of Boston (1911), Old Concord (1915), The Day of Concord and Lexington (1925), A British Fusilier in Revolutionary Boston (1926), and The First Year of the American Revolution (1934). His guidebook Historic Concord was first issued as a thin pamphlet in 1924 by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, republished in revised and expanded form in 1942, later reissued. (It is still available in 2003, as revised by David Little and published by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library.) French traveled to England to read original documents (the Gage papers and other primary materials) relating to the Revolutionary period. Deacon and Sunday school superintendent at the First Parish in Concord, vice president and president of the Concord Antiquarian Society, member (1909-1946) and long-time chairman of the Library Committee of the Concord Free Public Library, member of the Social Circle in Concord from 1919 until his death, founding member and vice president of the Thoreau Society, member of the Saturday Club and Dramatic Club in Concord and, beyond the town, of the Harvard Club, Massachusetts Historical Society, Colonial Society of Massachusetts, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Antiquarian Society, and Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. French died at his Nashawtuc Road home on October 6, 1946.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: Papers, 1898-[1957], relating primarily to French’s research and publication on Concord history and literature. Material types represented: manuscript and typescript research notes; correspondence; typescript articles, books, and lectures; printed stories and articles, reprints, and one offprint; clippings; photographs; theatrical program; mimeographed and printed script; committee records; and printed order form. Collection includes materials reflecting on French’s research and publication on John and Samuel Hoar and on his preparation of the 1942 version of the guidebook Historic Concord and the 1915 book Old Concord; lectures on the history of the Concord Free Public Library and on literary Concord; research notes, correspondence, and clippings on a variety of topics ( Native, Colonial and Revolutionary history, Shays’ Rebellion, 19th century Concord, Concord and slavery, Jones Very, Julia D. Wheeler’s reminiscences, the Whipping Post Elm, the Alcott family, the arrest of Alcott, Lane, and Thoreau, Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane, Concord’s World War I memorial boulder, and Edward Holton James and the League of Youth for Peace); a variety of printed stories, articles, and pamphlets (particularly historical pieces); a program for the 1904 dramatization of French’s book The Colonials; materials (committee records, correspondence, scripts, program, and photographs among them), relating to French’s 1935 historical pageant "Drama of Concord" (written and presented as part of Concord’s celebration of the 300th anniversary of its incorporation); reviews of French’s work, a page of Stratton genealogy (his mother’s family), and a memorial piece by T. Morris Longstreth.

SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Presented (apparently in multiple accessions) by Allen French and the French family.

ASSOCIATED MATERIALS: The Massachusetts Historical Society and Minute Man National Historical Park hold major collections of Allen French papers; the Thoreau Society (Henley Library, Lincoln, Mass.) holds some French material. Items in the Ruth R. Wheeler papers and Allen French-Ruth Wheeler collection in the Concord Free Public Library dovetail with the contents of the CFPL’s Allen French papers.

PROCESSED BY: LPW; finding aid completed October 30, 2003.





Box 1, Folder 1:

Correspondence (1920-1940).

Box 1, Folder 2:

Notes (undated).

Box 1, Folder 3:

Typescript, "Two Concord Laymen: John and Samuel Hoar" (1936).

Box 1, Folder 4:

Reprint, "Two Concord Laymen: John and Samuel Hoar" ("Read before the Unitarian Historical Society at its annual meeting in Boston, May 21, 1936, and reprinted from the Proceedings of the Society, Vol. V, Part I").

Box 1, Folder 5:

Typescript, "John Hoar and the Praying Indians" ([1936]).


Box 1, Folder 6:

Typescript, ([1942]).

Box 1, Folder 7:

Correspondence relating to publication (1942-1947).


Box 1, Folder 8:

Undated draft of Old Concord (clearly dating from before 1915, when the book was published).

Box 1, Folder 9:

"A Review of the History of the Concord Free Public Library" (read at a meeting held October 1, 1923 to commemorate the CFPL’s 50th anniversary).

Box 1, Folder 10:

"Literary Concord" (address before the South Middlesex Unitarian Conference, 1924).

Box 1, Folder 11:

"Concord, Massachusetts, A Social History, 1635-1885; or, Two Centuries and a Half, Concord, Massachusetts, 1635-1885; or Old Concord, 1635-1885" (draft; [1935]). Includes two letters regarding publication.


Box 1, Folder 12:

Topics in early Concord/American history—Native American, Colonial, Revolutionary (1929-1945, and undated). Includes Archibald Campbell caricature of "General Buttons."

Box 1, Folder 13:

Shays’ Rebellion (1931, and undated).

Box 1, Folder 14:

Various subjects relating to 19th century Concord (1904-1944, some 1917 notes retyped in 1964 by Ruth R. Wheeler). Includes letter (1925) containing reminiscences by George H. Bartlett.

Box 1, Folder 15:

Concord and slavery (1915-1944). Includes typed transcription of Edward Waldo Emerson’s manuscript notes on interview with Mrs. Edwin Bigelow; also, correspondence with Joan Trumbull.

Box 1, Folder 16:

Percy Brown on Jones Very, plus letter (1939).

Box 1, Folder 17:

Julia D. Wheeler’s "Concord Notes," plus Allen French’s letter of response (1940).

Box 1, Folder 18:

Whipping Post Elm (Aug.-Sept. 1932).

Box 1, Folder 19:

Arrest of Alcott, Lane, and Thoreau (Edward Waldo Emerson’s notes, 1882, copied by Allen French in 1915).

Box 1, Folder 20:

The Alcotts, including moving of School of Philosophy building (1940-1945); also, Charles Lane and Alcott (undated).

Box 1, Folder 21:

World War I memorial boulder (1923-1924, 1941).

Box 1, Folder 22:

Edward Holton James and League of Youth for Peace (1926).


Box 2, Folder 1:

"My Fight with a Catamount" (The Youth’s Companion, Apr. 7, 1898, p. 167).

Box 2, Folder 2:

Offprint, "The Junior Cup" (St. Nicholas, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct. 1900).

Box 2, Folder 3:

"The Home Vegetable Garden" (3rd edition, 1918; from the 62nd Annual Report of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture).

Box 2, Folder 4:

"The Concord Art Association" (Art and Archaeology, June 1924, p. 281-283).

Box 2, Folder 5:

Reprint ([193-]), "Edward Waldo Emerson: A Memoir" (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 65), and proof sheets for another printed version of the same (1940).

Box 2, Folder 6:

Reprint ([193-]), "General Haldimand in Boston, 1774-1775" (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 66).

Box 2, Folder 7:

Reprint (Boston, 1931) "The Hallowell-Graves Fisticuffs, 1775" (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 63, 1929).

Box 2, Folder 8:

"The New House and Old Collection of the Concord Antiquarian Society" (Old Time New England, Vol. 21, No. 4, Apr. 1931, p. 147-155).

Box 2, Folder 9:

"John Clarke, Historian of Bunker Hill" (Transactions of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Dec. 1935, p. [362]-373).

Box 2, Folder 10:

"The British Expedition to Concord, Massachusetts, in 1775" (Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. 15, No. 57, Spring 1936, p. 17-31).

Box 2, Folder 11:

"The Siege of Ré, by the Late Allen French" (Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. 28, No. 116, Winter 1950, p. 160-168).

Box 2, Folder 12:

Hawthorne at the Old Manse (Trustees of Reservations, [1957]).


Box 2, Folder 13:

"The Colonials": program for dramatization of a book by Allen French, Bowdoin Square Theatre (1904).

"Drama of Concord" (1935):

Box 2, Folder 14:

Working papers and Pageant Committee records (1935).

Box 2, Folder 15:

Correspondence (1935). Several letters incomplete.

Box 2, Folder 16:

Mimeographed script (1935).

Box 2, Folder 17:

Printed program for production (presented Sept. 11, 12, and 14, 1935).

Box 2, Folder 18:

Fourteen photographs of production (all 8" x 10" black and white).

Box 2, Folder 19:

Order form for printed script ([1935]).

Box 2, Folder 20:

Printed script, 1935 (unbound copy).

Box 2, Folder 21:

Related materials concerning 1935 celebration—Literary Exercises, floats, etc. (1935).


Box 2, Folder 22:

Reviews, genealogy, memorial piece by T. Morris Longstreth (1924-1946, and undated).


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