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Charles M. Allen, Jr., Papers

Finding Aid & Inventory

Charles M. Allen was a biology professor at Wake Forest University, a U. S. Army Air Force photographer during the second World War, and a patron of the arts. This collection documents some of Allen's personal life as well as his professional work, including biographical materials, diplomas, campus and family photographs, news clippings, scrapbooks, Scales construction materials, and Artists Series materials.

Biographical and Historical Note

Charles Marvin Allen, Junior, was born to Charles M. Allen and Emma Covington Allen on July 31, 1918, in Mt. Gilead, Montgomery County, N.C. He attended Mt. Gilead public schools and Wake Forest College (1939). He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. Allen received a master's degree (1941) from Wake Forest as well, and a doctorate in education from Duke University (1955). He joined the Wake Forest College faculty almost immediately on graduation, working as a teaching fellow during his master's coursework in 1939 and becoming a biology professor in 1941.

In October 1940, Allen enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force as a Photo Officer with the 10th Photo Reconnaissance Group. The 10th Photo Group was responsible for supplying the United States and its allies with pre-invasion surveillance photos of German troops and defenses in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. Allen worked on aerial reconnaissance in the lead-up to the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

At the end of the war, Allen returned to Wake Forest, where he spent the remainder of his career as a biology professor and patron of the arts, both at WFU and in Winston Salem. Allen served as Director of the WFU Artist Series (1958-1976) - later known as the Secrest Series - and also held positions on the boards of a number of local and national arts organizations. He was President of the NC Academy of Science and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He received the University's highest honor, the Medallion of Merit, in 1976, and the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching in ; in 2001, the Charles M. Allen Professorship in Biology was established to honor him. Allen was also interested in the campus design and students' lives on campus. He supervised the design and construction of Winston Hall and Scales Fine Arts Center, and oversaw the renovation of Wait Chapel and Reynolda Village while working on campus.

Allen retired from Wake Forest in 1989. He was married to Clara David Allen for 62 years. He passed away on August 30, 2005. Following Clara Allen's death in 2017, Allen's extensive collection of WWII photographs was donated to the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.


  • "The Wake Forester and D-Day," Wake Forest Historical Museum, 2019 June 4. Available online at https://wakeforestmuseum.org/2019/06/04/the-wake-forester-and-d-day/
  • "Obituary," Legacy.com as published by the Winston-Salem Journal, 2005 September 2.
  • "Charles Allen," Wake Forest University Magazine, Summer 1989. Avaiable online through SCA's Digital Collections.

Collection Overview

This collection contains personal and professional materials from Charles M. Allen. Materials in this collection include: biographical materials, diplomas, campus and family photographs, news clippings, scrapbooks, Scales construction materials, and programs and other materials related to the Artists Series. The collection also contains his mortarboard and tassel.

Collection Inventory

  • Biographical and personal materials
    • Biographical and professional materials  (1939-2005) box 1 folder 1
    • Biographical materials and correspondence  (1976-2005) box 2 folder 16
    • Biographical materials and news clippings  (1950-1988) box 2 folder 11
    • Charles M. and Clara D. Allen faculty development and travel agreement with letter from Hatch  (2005 August 31) box 2 folder 14
    • Diplomas  (1947-1989) box 1 folder 12
    • Eightieth birthday photographs  (1998 July 31) box 1 folder 5
    • Family and campus photographs  (1942-2001) box 1 folder 4
    • Gift recognition event scrapbook  (2001 January) box 3 folder 2
    • Gift to WFU articles  (1989-2011) box 1 folder 6
    • High school diploma  (1935 May 8) box 1 folder 2
    • Memorial materials  (2005 September) box 1 folder 3
    • Memorial, obituaries, biographical materials, and correspondence  (1956-2005) box 2 folder 3
    • Mortarboard cap with tassel (circa 1950-1980) box 4
    • News articles and obituary on Allen  (1976-2005) box 2 folder 15
    • News clippings: Allen, Scales Fine Arts Center  (1959-1993) box 2 folder 12
    • News clippings, programs, and campus photographs  (1939-2004) box 2 folder 9
    • Notes and clippings by Allen  (2002-2004) box 2 folder 6
    • Portraits, Luther Watson David in uniform and Allen (circa 1940s, 1960s) box 3 folder 4
    • Wake Forest crest cross-stich (undated) box 1 folder 13
  • Subject files
    • Artists Series list and newspaper articles about WFU  (1951-2006) box 2 folder 44
    • Artists Series materials and programs  (1968-2010) box 2 folder 19
    • Artists Series programs  (1960-1963) box 2 folder 34-35
    • Artists Series programs  (1964-1967) box 2 folder 30-32
    • Artists Series programs  (1968-1974) box 2 folder 23-28
    • Artists Series programs  (1975-1977) box 2 folder 20-21
    • Artists Series programs and artist photographs  (1959) box 2 folder 36
    • Artists Series programs and artist photographs  (1974-1975) box 2 folder 22
    • Artists Series programs and newspaper reviews  (1967-1968) box 2 folder 29
    • Artists Series programs and review  (1963-1964) box 2 folder 33
    • Biology W3, Science and Art, winter term trip  (1973-1974) box 1 folder 7
    • Campus photographs (circa 1951-1960) box 1 folder 8
    • Cell structure on class lantern slide, likely reproduction of something in print (undated) box 3
    • Creationism materials (undated) box 2 folder 4
    • Fine arts center and Artists Series proposals  (1972-1986) box 2 folder 18
    • Fine arts commission materials and correspondence  (1972) box 2 folder 43
    • Fine arts center construction correspondence  (1972-1979) box 2 folder 41
    • Fine arts program planning report  (1972) box 1 folder 9
    • Poems (undated) box 1 folder 11
    • Postscript on honors course, "Man and the Structure of the Universe" (undated) box 2 folder 7
    • Postscript on lecture with Fred Horton (undated) box 2 folder 5
    • Presentations and statements  (1960-1987) box 1 folder 10
    • Programs and library speech  (1982-2005) box 2 folder 10
    • Programs, "Last Lecture" copy, and Vivian Shuggs wedding photos  (1989-2014) box 2 folder 1
    • Reynolda Village restoration and Scales Fine Arts Center proposal materials  (1972-1975) box 2 folder 37
    • Salem Hall sketch and unidentified cells on glass slides
    • Scales Fine Arts Center architect correspondence  (1972-1974) box 2 folder 39
    • Scales Fine Arts Center construction photos and notes  (1972-1979) box 2 folder 42
    • Scales Fine Arts Center decorators and stage technitians correspondence  (1972-1982) box 2 folder 40
    • Scales Fine Arts Center dedication, fine arts conference, and orientation pamphlets  (1972-2006) box 2 folder 17
    • Scales Fine Arts Center model with Allen photographs (circa 1970-1976) box 2 folder 45
    • Scales Fine Arts Center plans, sketches by Allen (circa 1970-1976) box 3 folder 3
    • Scales Fine Arts Center preliminary schematic design book, compiled by Allen (circa 1974-1976) box 3 folder 3
    • Scales, James Ralph, materials  (1967-1996) box 2 folder 2
    • Science and religion speeches by Allen  (circa 1999) box 1 folder 14
    • Speeches and clippings  (1999-2004) box 2 folder 8
    • Theatre rigging and equipment manual  (1972 March) box 2 folder 38
    • "Vital Speeches of the Day" featuring Allen  (1967) box 2 folder 13
    • WFU Faculty in WWII, volumes 1 and 2, by Herman J. Preseren (2002, 2003) box 3 folder 1

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Allen, Charles M., Jr. (1918-2005)
Charles M. Allen, Jr., Papers
Date [inclusive]
1 record carton, 1 document box, 1 oversize box, 1 artifact box
3.72  Linear Feet

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2022
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for use. 
Conditions Governing Use
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. 
Preferred Citation
Charles M. Allen, Jr., Papers (MS692), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

The State Archives of N.C. holds the Charles M. Allen Jr. Papers (WWII 141). This collection contains letters, particularly to his fiancée and later wife Clara David Allen, photographs, aerial photographs, military service records, and other materials documenting his life before military service (1942-1945). See Charles M. Allen Jr. Papers, WWII 141, World War II Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.

The State Archives currently provides access to Allen's photographs online as well.

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