Merle White Allen (1888-1961)

Merle Allen was born on May 28, 1888 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to Josiah Thomas and Ellen Houser Allen. He studied business in the Philadelphia School of Commerce. In 1907 Allen began work with a newspaper, but he soon switched to the mercantile business. From 1913 to 1920 Allen worked as a broker in industrial hardware.

Allen started a hardware store with his partner A. Max Cochrane, specializing in domestic and industrial hardware, sporting goods, and plumbing and heating supplies. Cochrane and Allen Hardware was located on South Hanover Street. By 1938, Allen was able to purchase Cochrane’s share in the store, and in 1948 the business was incorporated.

In addition to his business interests, Allen was also a strong supporter of local schools, libraries, and charities. He was elected to the Dickinson College Board of Trustees in 1948. During his time as a trustee, Allen strongly encouraged the building campaigns of the College and was a devoted supporter of the college library. Allen also donated $75,000 to endow the William W. Edel Chair in the Humanities. His service to the college ended when Merle White Allen died on December 24, 1961.

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Dickinson College Archives
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