Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Archives Collections List

Paul Hamilton Allen (1911–1963)


Papers, 1937–1963

HI Archives collection no. 1
Five boxes

Allen, Paul Hamilton
Photographer: Walter H. Hodge
Date: July 1962 (age 51)
HI Archives portrait no. 3

Biographical and content note
Paul Allen (1911–1963) was a taxonomist and tropical plantsman. His correspondence is related to his career, including his positions as manager of the Missouri Botanical Garden Tropical Station, Balboa, Canal Zone (1936–1939); botanist for the United Fruit Company (U.F.C.), Esquinas Experimental Station, Palmas, Costa Rica (1948–1953); director of the Fairchild Tropical Garden, Coconut Grove, Florida (1953–1954); professor of horticulture at Escuela Agricola Panamericana, Zamorano, Honduras (1954–1958), and editor of the school’s journal, Ceiba (ca.1957); botanical consultant to the Minister of Agriculture, El Salvador (1958–1959), where he established a herbarium and prepared a listing of the country’s timber resources; and director of the Lancetilla Experimental Station of the U.F.C. in Tela, Honduras (1959–1963), during which he served as head of a U.F.C. banana-collecting expedition to Southeast Asia (1959–1961).*

Included in the correspondence are references to Allen’s collection of Central American orchid, palm, and other plant specimens; his work on orchids for publications, including the Flora of Panama; the botanical art of his wife, Dorothy Osdieck Allen (1911–1973); difficulties he encountered due to his lack of a college degree; his magnum opus, The Rain Forests of Golfo Dulce (1956); and the activities and publications of other botanists, particularly his correspondents (see list below).

This collection also contains the manuscript (ca.600 pp., carbon typescript) of Allen’s The Rain Forests of Golfo Dulce (Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press, 1977, reissue of 1956 edition; HI Library call no. DS100 A428R 977) as well as letters (1956–1958) from recipients of the book and copies of reviews; his Orchidaceae manuscript (ca.415 pp., carbon typescript) for the Flora of Panama (Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 1949, vol. 36, nos. 1–2; reprinted as Orchids of Panama, Monographs in Systematic Botany, vol. 4, 1980; HI Library call no. DT100 369 W724O 980) and “An Annotated Checklist of Known Orchids of Panama, Together with Some Introductory Remarks Regarding Their Distribution and Relationships” (90 pp., carbon typescript, with photos, and with 41 plates by Dorothy Allen); and photographs, notes, and other items relating to Allen’s “Conquest of Cerro Santa Barbara” (Ceiba, 5 September 1955, 4: 5).

*No correspondence was written while this work was actually underway, but some letters of the previous and following periods make brief references to it.

Other resources
Individual and group portraits of this subject are available from the Hunt Institute portrait collection. Thumbnails of the individual and group portrait holdings are available as PDFs for research purposes. For publication-quality images, contact the Archivist to place an order.

Biographical citations for this subject are available from the Hunt Institute biographical collection as a PDF.

Artworks by Dorothy O. Allen (Mrs. Paul Allen) are held by Hunt Institute’s Art Department. For more information, search the Catalogue of the Botanical Art Collection at the Hunt Institute database.

Allen's field notebooks are available at the Smithsonian:

Box 1
Correspondence, A–M
Ames, Oakes, 1874–1950
Anderson, Edgar, 1897–1969
Bailey, Liberty Hyde, 1858–1954
Bartlett, Harley H., 1886–1960
Clement, I. Duncan, 1917–1989
Correll, Donovan Stewart, 1908–1983
Cuatrecasas, José, 1903–1996
Dayton, William Adams, 1885–1958
Dodson, Calaway H., 1928–
Fairchild, David, 1869–1954
Fosberg, Francis Raymond, 1908–1993
Haas, Theodor Philipp, 1892–1977
Hodge, Walter Henricks, 1918–
Holdridge, Leslie Rensselaer, 1907–1999
Howard, Richard Alden, 1917–2003
Johnston, Ivan Murray, 1898–1960
Lasser, Tobías, 1911–
Lawrence, George Hill Mathewson, 1910–1978
Miscellaneous (Payne, Putnam, and Zahl, Paul A.)
Moore, Harold Emery, 1917–1980

Box 2
Correspondence, N–Z
Navy Research Laboratory
Popenoe, Frederick Wilson, 1892–1975
Rockefeller Foundation
Rollins, Reed Clark, 1911–1998
Schultes, Richard Evans, 1915–2001
Schweinfurth, Charles, 1890–1970
Seibert, Russell Jacob, 1914–
Smith, Albert Charles, 1906–1999
Smith, Claude Earle, 1922–1987
Smith, Lyman Bradford, 1904–1997
Standley, Paul Carpenter, 1884–1963
Steere, William Campbell, 1907–1989
Stern, William Louis, 1926–
Steyermark, Julian A., 1909–1988
Woodson, Robert Everard, 1904–1963

Box 3
Panama Orchids Checklist
Rain Forests manuscript; letters from recipients of book, 1956–1958; reviews
Cerro Santa Barbara items

Box 4
Flora of Panama, Orchidaceae manuscript

Box 5
Envelope 1: Far Eastern plant pictures; negatives in Honduras (at United Fruit). Taken on last field trip for banana germplasm, 1960.

Envelope 2: Miscellaneous Paul Allen prints from Central America.

Folder 3: Miscellaneous correspondence.

Folder 4: Timber Woods adapted to plantation conditions.

Folder 5: Paul Allen – El Salvador Ms. Xerox copy made 7/77. Presently (6/82) being prepared for publication by Mo. Bot. Garden. WHH

Folder 6: Miscellaneous correspondence II

Allen, Paul Hamilton
Photographer: Walter H. Hodge
Date: 1943
Location: Above Bogotá, Colombia
HI Archives portrait no. 10

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