Vermont Edward Allen, 1924

Photograph of Vermont Edward Allen

Photograph of Vermont Edward Allen in 1924

Vermont Edward Allen was born in 1901 in Metuchen, New Jersey. Allen matriculated at Rutgers in 1920, joining Albert E. O. Lynch as the two African American men attending the university that academic year. While at Rutgers, Allen would also share the campus with two additional African American students: Howard B. Waxwood Jr. and Daniel J. Winge.

Allen was known to his classmates at Rutgers as “Ethan” or “eight ball.” He did not live on campus, but rather commuted daily by train. The author of Allen’s senior yearbook biographical note teased him, writing in the Scarlet Letter: “‘Ethan’ commutes to our midst daily from Metuchen, but stoutly denies that his complexion was caused by the soot and smoke of the Pennsy Railroad.”

After graduating from Rutgers in 1924, Allen taught in the American South, where he met his future wife Katherine Merriwether, before attending law school at New York University. After finishing law school, he lived in New Brunswick and worked for the State Highway Department and as a freelance title examiner. Allen died in 1961.

Explore related items in the digital archive:

Vermont Edward Allen, junior photo from the Scarlet Letter yearbook

Poem about Allen in the Scarlet Letter yearbook