Summary Information
Title: Allen Family Papers
Collection Number: AIS.1977.14
Creator: Allen family

Collection Dates: 1867
Extent: 0.31 linear feet (1 box)

Language: English

The collection contains materials regarding William P. Allen, member of an Irish nationalist society know as Fenians. Allen was hanged November 23, 1867 at New Barley Prison, Salford, England, for his participation in the Fenian attack at Manchester on a prison van containing Fenian prisoners. The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia. Digital reproductions are available online.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

January 1978

Finding aid prepared by Archives Service Center Staff. Revisions occurred to the finding aid as a part of the encoding process on February 5, 2004.
Revision Description:
July 1, 2006:
Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002


William Philip Allen was executed November 23, 1867, in England for his participation in the Fenian Rebellion of 1867. The goal of this revolutionary rebellion was to establish an Irish republic. He was arrested and executed for his participation in the prison van rescue of fellow Fenians on September 18, 1867. The rescue was thwarted but not before the constable in charge of the van was killed. The would-be Fenian rescuers became known as the "Manchester Martyrs" Bitter public feeling was aroused in Ireland by their conviction on what many regarded as weak evidence.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of original letters from William Philip Allen to his family in Ireland, as well as letters to his family from supporters. The collection also includes a few newsclips and handbill containing the poem, "God Save Ireland", composed by T.D. Sullivan, written to commemorate the "Manchester Martyrs". Photocopy and microfilm versions of the collection are also available.

Subject Terms

  • Fenians -- Biography
  • Irish question

Personal Names
  • Allen, William P. (William Philip), d. 1867

Family Names
  • Allen family

  • Great Britain -- History -- 19th century
  • Manchester (England) -- History
  • Salford (England) -- History

  • Ethnic groups
  • Personal papers

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

The collection was received from the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh on May 14, 1977.

Alternate Format:

This collection has been microfilmed and is available on one reel, AIS.1977.14 (Microfilm-cabinet 2, Drawer 2). It's also been digitized with access to the images in the finding aid.

Preferred Citation:

Allen Family Papers, 1867, AIS.1977.14, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Archives Service Center Staff in January 1978. Further processing by Carmela Rizzo in 2004.

Processing Information:

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Alesha Shumar in February 2009. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1437677.


Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Collection Inventory

Series I. Correspondence from William Philip Allen, 1867

Box 1
Folder 1 To Uncle and Aunt O'Brien, Broadside, November 20, 1867
Folder 2 To Uncle and Aunt Hogan, ALS, November 22, 1867
Folder 3 To Uncle and Aunt Hogan, TL, Transcript, November 22, 1867

Series II. Correspondence to Mrs. Allen, mother of William P. Allen, 1867

Folder 4 From her husband regarding the plight of William P. Allen, pages 1-2 only, ALS, November 2, 1867
Folder 5 From J.B. Adams regarding the memorial procession, ALS, December 11, 1867

Series III. Ephemera, 1867

Folder 6 "God Save Ireland", composed by T.D. Sullivan, undated
Folder 7 Clippings, (including--Illustration memorializing the "Manchester Martyrs"), undated
Folder 8 In Memoriam, William Philip Allen [original missing], 1867
Folder 9 In Memoriam, William Philip Allen, Michael O'Brien, and Michael Larkin [original missing], 1867