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Florence Ellinwood Allen papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00002

Scope and Contents

The Florence Ellinwood Allen papers consist of .75 linear feet of biographical material, awards, articles, addresses, correspondence, and photographs. The collection also includes writings of her mother Corinne Tuckerman Allen, one of the first students admitted to Smith College (1874) and organizer of the Congress of Mothers (1916), about her work for sexual morality, monogamy, family relationships in Utah, and the Congress of Mothers. Additionally, there are several speeches and articles written by Florence Allen on topics ranging from the status of women in the legal profession to international law and human rights. There are two books written by Allen: Patris and The Treaty as an Instrument of Legislation.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1920 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Florence Ellinwood Allen was born on March 23, 1884 in Salt Lake City. Her mother, Corinne Tuckerman, was a member of the first class admitted to Smith College. Her father, Clarence Emir Allen, was a professor of Latin and Greek at Western Reserve University and placed a strong emphasis on education. Florence took an interest in books from a young age, and her father once said, "If Florence were a boy, I'd make a lawyer out of her." A gifted pianist, Allen moved to Berlin after high school to study music and work as a music critic. She returned to the United States and attended the University of Chicago. In 1913, she received an L.L.B. from New York University Law School.

Allen started her own legal practice in Cleveland, Ohio and was active in the women's suffrage movement. She was the attorney for the Cleveland Woman Suffrage Party and became the first woman to argue before a supreme court, winning a municipal suffrage case in Ohio. She was also active in the Peace Movement in the 1920s. In 1920, the first year women were constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote, she was elected as judge of the Court of Common Pleas, becoming the first woman in history to be elected to a judicial office. In 1922, she was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, making her the first woman to serve as a judge of the highest court of a state. She served as an Ohio Supreme Court Judge for almost twelve years and in 1934, President Roosevelt appointed her to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. No woman had previously been appointed to the United States Court of Appeals.

Judge Allen was a popular lecturer and published several books, including Patris, The Treaty as an Instrument of Legislation, and This Constitution of Ours. She was an outspoken opponent of war and wrote extensively on the topic. She was also interested in international law and was a strong advocate for the International Court. She received numerous honors and awards in her lifetime, including honorary degrees from twenty-five colleges and universities, the National Achievement Award in 1938, the Order of the Coif in 1955 by George Washington University, and a citation for advancing the status of women in the legal profession from the National Association of Women Lawyers. In 1959, a portrait of Judge Allen was given to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in honor of her contribution to the law. Judge Allen died at the age of eighty-two in her home in Cleveland, Ohio on September 12, 1966.


0.438 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials




Lawyer, judge, suffragist, and pacifist. Allen's papers reflect her career as the first woman judge of a state supreme court and the first woman appointed as a federal judge, as well as her work in the Ohio suffrage and peace movements. Also included are the writings of Florence's mother, Corinne Tuckerman Allen, who was a member of the first class admitted to Smith College. Tuckerman Allen advocated sexual morality, monogamy and family relationships and organized for the Congress of Mothers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Florence Ellinwood Allen donated this material to the Sophia Smith Collection from 1962 to 1966.

Related Material

A larger collection of Florence Allen's Papers are located at Western Reserve Historical Society Library, Ohio. Additional papers of Corinne Tuckerman Allen are housed at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University and in the Smith College Archives.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised in 2002 by Brook Hopkins, intern.

Finding aid to the Florence Ellinwood Allen papers.
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss125 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:11-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-07-16: Finding aid copyedited and brought up to standard as part of Description QC project

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063