A.B. Harvard, 1840; D.D., 1891; ordained minister First Congregational Society (Jamaica Plain, MA), 1843.
Pastor Unitarian Church (Washington, DC), 1847; minister, Bangor, ME, 1850; teacher, Jamaica Plain, Northboro, & West Newton, MA, 1857-60; asso. ed. Christian Examiner, 1863-5; lctr. eccles. hist. Harvard, 1878-82; ed. Unitarian Review, 1887-91; mem. Universal Peace Congress, 1890.
"Africans in America and Their New Guardians," Christian Examiner 73 (July 1862) 96-133; Manual Latin Grammar (Boston, 1868); Latin Primer (Boston, 1870); Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges Founded on Comparative Grammar, with J. B. Greenough (Boston, 1872; rev. and enlarged by Greenough and G. L. Kittredge, 1889); A General Vocabulary of Latin (Boston, 1872); Latin Composition (Boston, 1875); Fragments of Christian History to the Foundation of the Holy Roman Empire (Boston, 1880); Greek Reader, ed. with W. W. Goodwin (Boston, 1882); Our Liberal Movement in Theology (Boston, 1882); Christian History in Its Three Great Periods (Boston, 1882); Historical Sketches of the Unitarian Movement since the Reformation (New York, 1894);Edited with W. F. Allen and J. B. Greenough: Gai Sallusti Crispi De Catilinae coniuratione (Boston, 1874); The Poems of Virgil. Vol. I Pastoral Poems and Six Books of the Aeneid (Boston, 1877) (vol. 2 not published); Gai Juli Caesaris De bello Gallico (Boston, 1883); Selections from Ovid, Chiefly the Metamorphoses, rev. by H. N. Fowler (Boston, 1890); M. Tulli Ciceronis Cato Maior de Senectute, reedited by Katharine Allen (Boston & New York, 1908).
Joseph Henry Allen was a man too reflective and insufficiently rhetorical or social to manage a parish, though his sermons were of serious import and though he espoused strong views, particularly on the subject of the abolition of slavery, and stood firmly by them, he lacked the power to make an impact on his congregations. His critical and scholarly cast of mind led him to teaching and editing. He achieved great success with his Latin instruction books, and particularly his grammar, done with his colleague J. B. Greenough, which remains in print today. With his brother William Francis Allen and Greenough, he provided grammatical commentary for and edited a Latin series of five texts that was widely used throughout the country at the turn of the century.
Rev. John Chadwick, New York Evening Post (21 Mar. 1898); DAB 1:200; NatCAB 1:200; Publ. Colonial Soc. Mass. 5 (1902) 310-14; Sandys 459; Rev. Francis Tiffany, Christian Register; WhAmHS 88.
AUTHORWard W. Briggs, Jr.