The Honorable Charles Herbert Allen was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on April 15, 1848 and died at his Rolfe Street home in Lowell on April 20, 1934. Allen, one of Lowell's foremost citizens, had a very active business and political career as well as being an artist, musician, and cabinet-maker. He attended public and private schools and, after graduating from Amherst College in 1869, Allen worked at his father's lumber and wooden box company, Otis Allen & Son. Later he became a trustee of Amherst College and was honored with the degree of LL.D (legum doctor ? doctor of laws) in 1900. Allen was married to Harriet C. Dean of Manchester, New Hampshire in 1870 and together they raised two daughters.
Allen's political career encompassed the Lowell School Committee, where he was instrumental in starting the Lowell Evening Schools; two terms in the House of Representatives of Massachusetts in 1881 and 1882; one term in the Senate in 1883; and elected as a Republican to the Forty_ninth and Fiftieth Congresses, March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889. Allen was nominated for governor by the Republicans in 1890 but was defeated by William E. Russell.
In 1884, he received the title "Colonel," when Governor George Dexter Robinson (1884-1887) appointed him to his personal staff. Colonel Allen's large circle of friends always used this designation when addressing him. He served as Massachusetts Prison Commissioner from 1897 to 1898.
In 1898 Allen was called by President William McKinley to become assistant Secretary of the Navy when Theodore Roosevelt resigned the post in order to enter the Spanish_American War and head the Rough Riders. He held this position from 1898 to 1900. At the end of the war President McKinley appointed Allen as the first civil governor of Puerto Rico. Colonel Allen retired from this post in 1902 with the island government properly functioning, completely out of debt and with over one million dollars in its treasury.
Upon his return home to Lowell, he became financially interested in banking and other enterprises and served on the board of directors for several banks and businesses in Lowell and New York. Allen served as vice president of the Morton Trust Co. and of the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York and as president of the American Sugar Refining Company.
Twenty-seven landscape and marine paintings, which demonstrate only one of Allen's diverse talents, are in the collection of the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell.
- Davenport's Art Reference 2001/2002, page 73; Courier Citizen, April 21, 1934;
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress;
- Whistler House Museum of Art files.
- Peter Kostoulakos, ISA ? Fine Art Consultant