Alfred University News

Abigail Allen plaque unveiled

Alfred University celebrates the unveiling of the Abigail Allen plaque (identifications below)
Alfred University celebrates the unveiling of the Abigail Allen plaque (identifications below)

Alfred University Friday celebrated the life of Abigail Allen, unveiling a plaque on the University campus that honors Allen’s contributions to women’s suffrage and education.


Alfred University Friday celebrated the life of Abigail Allen, unveiling a plaque on the University campus that honors Allen’s contributions to women’s suffrage and education. Supported by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the National Collaborative for Women’s Historic Sites program, the plaque becomes part of the National Votes for Women Trail, which celebrates the contributions of women to American history.

The ceremony was attended by more than 30 people on a bright, brisk afternoon in the Village of Alfred and included remarks from Alfred University Professor of Theater Becky Prophet '70, University Archivist Laurie Lounsberry Meehan '91, Professor of Sociology Karen Porter, and University President Mark Zupan.

Zupan, who initiated the University’s Fiat Lux Award in his first year as president, observed that if it were possible to offer that award posthumously, it would surely go to Allen, who spearheaded national progressive causes, taught at the University for more than 50 years, and was wife of the University’s second president, Jonathan Allen.

Teacher, suffragist, abolitionist, devoted supporter of co-education, spouse, and the mother of four children, Allen epitomized the energy of the 19th century progressive movement in the United States. Speaking in 1873 at the Women’s Congress in New York City, she urged her audience: “Be radical, radical to the core.”

Installation of the plaque was spearheaded by Prophet and Meehan after Prophet learned of the Pomeroy Foundation project from a relative and former Alfred University History Professor Gary Horowitz. She began the grant application to the Pomeroy Foundation, then partnered with Meehan, an historian of Allen’s life, who organized primary research material and wrote a 500-word summary of Allen’s biography for the application.

Meehan summarized Allen’s biography at the unveiling ceremony, joined by Prophet, who read a congratulatory message from the National Collaborative of Women’s Historic Sites; a similar message from the Pomeroy Foundation was read by Porter. Rounding out the ceremony were remarks from University Provost Beth Ann Dobie, while Professor of Psychology Lou Lichtman, a founding member of the University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, assisted in unveiling the plaque.

The plaque faces both the University campus and Alfred’s Main Street and reads:

Abigail Allen, 1824-1902

Early suffragist, reformer

& Alfred University Educator

declared “Be radical, radical

to the core” in 1873 speech.

 

Photo ID: Pictured above, Alfred University Provost Beth Ann Dobie, Professor Sociology Karen Porter, Professor of Theater Becky Prophet '70, Archivist Laurie  Lounsberry Meehan '91, and President Mark Zupan celebrate the unveiling of the plaque honoring the life and contributions of Abigail Allen, who taught at the University for more than 50 years and was the wife of the University's second president, Joanathan Allen.