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Clifford Allen (Lord Allen of Hurtwood) papers

Identifier: SCU-RBSC-1979-1

This collection documents the political life and works of the British pacifist, propagandist, and leftist organizer Reginald Clifford Allen, Lord Allen of Hurtwood, (1889-1939). The archive is a comprehensive collection of the author’s professional correspondence, manuscripts and speeches. It was acquired by the university in the mid- 1960s from Allen’s widow, Lady Allen, through the intercession of the British historian Martin Gilbert, who held a visiting position at the University of South Carolina after the completion of his book on Allen, Plough My Own Furrow: The Story of Lord Allen of Hurtwood as Told Through His Writings and Correspondence (1965). Clifford Allen was part of a group of left-leaning conscientious objectors and pacifists who chose prison rather than conscription during World War I. His prison experience left him with the tuberculosis that cost him a political career and periodically immobilized him. It killed him in 1939. Allen was an organizer, publisher, executive secretary, fund-raiser, treasurer, speechifier, newspaper op-ed and letter writer and later broadcast debater. His greatest political influence came in the early 1920s when the first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, assumed government. MacDonald later engineered the peerage that placed Allen, an avowed Socialist, in the House of Lords. These papers document the immense amount of time and energy Allen spent trying to further the causes of peace and progressivism in inter-war England. Additional notes and descriptions occur at the beginning of each series in the finding aid.


  • 1911 - 1962

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All rights reside with the estate of the creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections.


23 boxes (7.7 cubic feet)

Biographical / Historical


Reginald Clifford Allen

Born: May 9, 1889

1905-1908 University College Bristol.

1908-1911 Peterhouse College, Cambridge.

1911-1915 Secretary of the Daily Citizen.

1912-1915 Founder and Chairman of the University Socialist Federation.

1914 Published Is Germany Right and Britain Wrong?

1915-1919 Chairman, No-Conscription Fellowship.

1917 Marriage to Marjory Gill.

1917-1918 Imprisoned for refusing military service; contracts tuberculosis in prison.

1920 Visited Russia. Met with Lenin. Suffered physical breakdown while there.

1922 Treasurer, Independent Labour Party.

1922 Birth of Joan Collete Allen.

1923-1925 Business Manager, New Leader.

1924-1925 Chairman, Independent Labour Party.

1925-1930 Director, the Daily Herald.

1932 Peerage, Lord Allen of Hurtwood.

1932 Published Labour’s Future at Stake.

1932-1933 Member of Executive Board, National Labour Party.

1934 Published Britain’s Political Future.

1935 Visited Germany. Met with Hitler.

1936 Published Peace in Our Time.

1936-1937 Chairman, Next Five Years Group.

1937 Visited Germany. Met with Hitler.

1938 Visited Berlin and Prague to help in Czech Crisis.

1939 Died in Switzerland. Ashes scattered on Lake Geneva.


Organized into six series: I. Biography, CVs, Personal Documents; II. Correspondence; III. Speeches, Published Materials, Unpublished; IV. Organizational Materials; V. Germany and Europe, 1930s; VI. Oversized Materials


Purchase, 1966.

Repository Details

Part of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene Street
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-3847

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