When she was fifteen years old, Abigail Allen attended Alfred Academy; she was a member of the first graduating class. Abigail studied at LeRoy Seminary and Ingham University for several years before returning to teach a wide range of subjects at Alfred Academy. A fierce proponent of coeducation, Abigail advocated for women’s equal education rights throughout her life. She resolutely believed that women had the right to speak publicly and further sought to progress women’s rights.
“Be radical, radical to the core.” –Abigail Allen
In 1846, she founded Alfred’s first woman’s literary society. Additionally, she became an early suffragist in an era when such matters were barred from discussion in colleges. Infinitely strong-minded, tremendously devoted to her students, and faithfully driven to her causes, Abigail spent her life challenging traditional women’s roles. Beside her husband, Johnathan Allen (Alfred University President, 1867-1892), Abigail advocated for social justice, worked toward broadening women’s employment opportunities, and pressed for egalitarian gender relations. Today, Alfred University’s Women’s & Gender Studies Program honors her efforts.