Illinois Authors

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John Willis Allen

Born: 1887, in Hamilton County, Illinois
Died: 1967

Connection to Illinois: Allen was born in Hamilton County and taught at Harrisburg, Eldorado and Fairfield schools. He attended Southern Illinois Normal University (SINU) intermittently from 1908-1926 and the University of Illinois in 1930.

Biography: John Willis Allen became a teacher after completing the eighth grade and passing a teacher's examination in 1907. He taught in a one-room school for four years. He was a principal of a Harrisburg ward school for four years, and superintendent of city schools for 15 years, and then 13 years in Eldorado and two at Fairfield. He was Historical Director of the University Museum at Southern Illinois University for sixteen years. Altogether, he spent 50 years researching, lecturing, and writing on local history, folklore, and pioneer crafts and culture. From 1953 to 1967, John Allen wrote a weekly series of articles about Southern Illinois that was circulated by more than three hundred newspapers. The popular appeal of John Allen's stories about his favorite region is evidenced by four printings of his first volume, Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois, first published in 1963.


Primary Literary Genre(s): History; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Pope County notes

Leopold Classic Library 2015

Pope County Notes" by John Willis Allen is an engaging and insightful exploration of the history, culture, and notable events in Pope County, an area rich with stories and heritage. Through a compelling narrative and meticulous research, Allen uncovers the region's past, bringing to life the stories of its inhabitants and the communities that shaped it. This book serves as a captivating chronicle of the county's development, from its early days to its growth and transformation. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for local history, Allen's work offers readers a fascinating journey through time, making "Pope County Notes" a valuable addition to the study of regional history and heritage.