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Collection Overview

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection
Title:Catherine L. Allen papers
Dates:1928-2002
Call Number:M84

Biographical Note

Catherine Louise Allen was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1909. She began her professional life as a grade school and high school teacher in Georgia, earning a bachelor of science degree in education from Georgia State College for Women in 1936. After earning a master's degree from Columbia University's Teachers' College in 1941, Allen was appointed a professor of physical education and recreation at the University of Tennessee. With the outbreak of World War II, she volunteered for the Red Cross and was appointed director of special activities in the Pacific theater from 1944 to 1946, based in Guam. After the war, Allen returned to the University of Tennessee to teach until 1955 when she received her PhD in Education from New York University and moved there to chair the women's physical education department. In 1957, she moved to the University of Pittsburgh as director of special activities. Allen left Pittsburgh to become the director of special activities at Tufts University in 1960.

While at Tufts, Catherine Allen became involved with the Bouvé-Boston School, both as director of special activities and as a professor of physical education and recreation. After Bouvé's move to Northeastern University, Allen chaired the new recreation education department from 1964 to 1967 when she became dean of the college. While dean, she directed the formative years of the Boston-Bouvé Graduate School. In 1977, Allen resigned as dean to become a special assistant to President Kenneth Ryder of Northeastern University, a post she held from 1977 to 1981.

An active member of the professional physical and recreational education community, Catherine Allen held many leadership positions in the field, including the presidency of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. She also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Northeastern University and the Luther Halsey Gulick award, the highest recognition in her field. A firm believer in the linkage between health education and community activism, Allen was a major figure in charitable and activist works in and around her various schools and communities. An accomplished writer and musician, she also composed many songs and was for years the leader of "sing-ins" at national and local conferences, camps, and conventions. Catherine Allen died in 2000.