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Memorable Manitobans: Frank Allen (1874-1965)


Born at Meductic, New Brunswick on 6 February 1874, son of Rev. John Salter Allen and Charlotte Tuttle, he graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1895, receiving the Alumni Gold Medal. He received an MA degree in 1900 and a PhD degree in 1902, the latter from Cornell University. In 1904, he was one of the first six professors hired by the University of Manitoba, in Physics and Mineralogy, the others being Gordon Bell (Bacteriology), Reginald Buller (Botany/Geology), Robert Rutherford Cochrane (Mathematics), Matthew Archibald Parker (Chemistry), and Swale Vincent (Physiology and Zoology). The following year, he and his colleagues founded the Scientific Club of Winnipeg.

He headed the Physics Department until 1944 and published 300 scientific research papers. In 1918, he was a member of the Polish Army in France Relief Commission. He received honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba (1924) and University of New Brunswick (1945). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1944) and received the Society’s H. M. Torry Gold Medal for Scientific Research.

In 1903, he married Sarah Estelle “Sadie” Harper (c1875-1915) and they subsequently had three children: Lillian Beatrice Allen, John F. Allen, and William A. Allen.

He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 19 November 1965. His papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections. He is commemorated by the Allen Building at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba.


1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Deaths and funerals,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 October 1915, page 5.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 November 1965, page 38.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 October 2015

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