James B. Allen

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James B. Allen was an educator, administrator, and historian. He was born on June 14, 1927, in Ogden, Utah. He lived in Coleville and Salt Lake City, Utah, and in Fairview, Wyoming. He was eleven when his family moved to Logan, Utah. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University, his master’s degree from Brigham Young University, and his PhD in history from the University of Southern California.

After high school graduation, Allen joined the US Navy, where he remained for nearly three years. He never sent to sea, but he became a navy photographer and spent most of his time in Washington, DC. He served as a missionary for the Church in the California Mission from 1948 to 1950.

In 1954 he began his career in the Church Educational System, first as a Seminary teacher, Seminary coordinator, Institute teacher, and director of the Institutes of Religion in Long Beach and San Bernardino, California. In 1963 he joined the Church History faculty at BYU. The following year he joined the history department. In 1972 he was appointed Assistant Church Historian where he worked with Leonard J. Arrington and split his time between BYU and the Church History department. In 1979, he returned to BYU full time and served as the History Department chairman from 1981 to 1987. In 1987 he was appointed the Lemuel Hardison Redd chair. He retired in 1992.

Allen has authored, co-authored, and co-edited fourteen books and monographs, around ninety articles mostly related to Church History, and numerous book reviews in professional journals. He has received several prizes and awards for his work including the David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans Biography Award in 1986 for Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon (re-published in 2002 as No Toil nor Labor Fear: The Story of William Clayton). He was named BYU's Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 1984, and in 1988 he was named a Fellow of the Utah State Historical Society.

Some of his more well-known books are The Story of the Latter-day Saints (with Glen M. Leonard) and Men with a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837–1941 (with Ronald K. Esplin and David J. Whittaker). He was also the major author-compiler of Studies in Mormon History, 1830–1997: An Indexed Bibliography (with Ronald W. Walker and David J. Whittaker).

Allen is married to the former Renée Jones. They had five children.