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DUDLEY PETER ALLEN, M.D.
SUCCESS is only achieved by the exercise of certain distinguishing qualities and it cannot be retained without
effort. Those by whom great epoch changes have been made in the professional, industrial, or political world
began early in life to prepare themselves for their
peculiar duties and responsibilities, and it was only by the most persevering and continuous endeavor that
they succeeded in rising superior to the obstacles in their way and reaching the goal of their ambitions. Such
lives are an inspiration to others who are less courageous and more prone to give up the fight before their
ideal is reached or definite success in any chosen field of endeavor has been attained. In the life history of
the late Dr. Dudley Peter Allen, for many years one of the eminent physicians and surgeons of the city of
Cleveland, we find evidence of a peculiar characteristic that always makes for achievement — persistency,
coupled with fortitude and lofty traits, and as a result of such a life he accomplished much good and was
eminently deserving of the high position which he attained among the world's useful workers.
Dr. Allen was born in Kinsman, Trumbull County, Ohio, March 25, 1852. He was a son of Dr. Dudley and Janet
(Frame) Allen, and a grandson of Dr. Peter Allen, a pioneer physician of the Western Reserve. Desiring to
follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in a professional way, Dudley P. Allen began when but a
mere lad to prepare himself for his serious life work. He was twelve years old when his father moved from the
old homestead at Kinsman to Oberlin, Ohio. . Here he spent his student life, graduating from Oberlin College
in 1875, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Soon thereafter he entered Harvard University, from which
historic institution he was graduated, in 1880, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He had made a brilliant
record for scholarship in both college and university. Desiring to further equip himself for his vocation, Dr.
Allen spent the next two years in the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he acted as house physician.
Following this he spent two years in studying medicine and surgery in Europe, working in the universities of
Freiberg, Berlin, Vienna, London, and Leipsic. This training was supplemented in 1887 by further study abroad.
Thus exceptionally well prepared for his professional duties he returned to America and located in Cleveland,
Ohio, where he devoted his attention exclusively to the practice and teaching of surgery. His rise was rapid
and he soon became recognized as one of the most learned and proficient surgeons in the country. He remained *
active practice until 1910, when he retired from professional life, and with his wife made a trip around the
Dr. Allen's medical teaching covered the same period as his practice. He began lecturing on Minor
Surgery in the Medical Department of Western Reserve University in 1883, and for many years prior to his
retirement to private life he was a professor of surgery in this university. During these years he was
visiting surgeon to Lakeside Hospital, Charity Hospital, and the Cleveland City Hospital, and he won a
national reputation as a surgeon. He was elected to the Lakeside Hospital staff in 1886, and became professor
of surgery in Western Reserve University in 1893, both of which positions he held until 1910, the date of his
retirement. In 1894 he -was elected to membership in the American Surgical Association, and served as its
secretary from 1901 to 1905, and as president in 1906. He was president of the Ohio State Medical Society in
1892. In 1906 he was made an honorary Fellow of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, and in 1914 was elected
to honorary fellowship in the American College of Physicians and Surgeons. His Alma Mater conferred upon him
the degree of Master of Arts in 1883, and the degree of Doctor of Laws in 1908, and in .1908 elected him a
member of the Board of Trustees, on which-board he served continuously until his death. Throughout his life he
showed a devoted interest- to Oberlin College. As visiting sur– geon at the Lakeside Hospital he was held in
the highest respect and esteem by others of his profession, and there were expressions of deep regret among
Cleveland surgeons when he resigned five years prior to his death. At that time he presented his extensive and
valuable library to the Cleveland Medical Library.
Dr. Allen was interested in religious, philanthropic, and cultural enterprises. He was also an author
of considerable note, possessing a clear, forceful, polished and entertaining style. His contributions to.
surgical literature were many and varied. Perhaps the most prominent and widely read of these were his
articles: "The Origin of Appendicitis," written at a time when the operation for the removal of the appendix
was in its infancy; " Effect of Anesthesia upon Temperature and Blood Pressure"; "A Simple Surgical
Technique"; "Traumatic Defects of the Skull," in which he described the method of transplanting bone, and
"Wounds from Blank Cartridges." The result of the latter work was far-reaching, the sale of blank cartridges
being prohibited by the Cleveland City Council the year following the investigation conducted by Dr. Allen
along this line.
The activities of Dr. Allen in the realm of medical research were many, one of the chief ambitions of
his life being to elevate the standard of the profession. To his perseverance and wise discernment, covering
years of painstaking endeavor, is due in no small measure the very existence of the Cleveland Medical Library.
With large contributions of money and his valuable time he placed this institution upon a -practical working
basis, and with continued growth and prosperity it has become one of the important collections of medical
books in America.
Dr. Allen was a symmetrically developed, many-sided man, of a great variety of talents. In addition to
his surgical work, for which his name is destined to be transmitted to posterity, he devoted much time to the
development of art, both in Cleveland and Oberlin. At the time of his death he was a trustee of the Cleveland
Museum of Art and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Even while deeply immersed in his large surgical
practice his esthetic nature found expression in the collection of pictures andobjects of art. In this his
scientific training helped him, and as his collection grew, he himself was gradually trained in this line and
became a connoisseur. His collection of etchings and engravings were by the best masters, and his objects of
Oriental art were rare specimens of the best periods. He did much to encourage a taste for higher art in Ohio.
Although not closely bound by sectarian ties, Dr. Allen was for many years a devout and active member of the
Second Presbyterian Church, of Cleveland, in which he was an elder, and he was deeply interested in all
religious activities. He was a member of the Union, Rowfant, University, Mayfield, and Chagrin Valley clubs of
Cleveland, and the University Club of New York.
Dr. Allen was married August 4, 1892, to Elisabeth S. Severance, a daughter of the late Louis H.
Severance, for many years a prominent citizen of the city of Cleveland. No child was left to carry on his
Dr. Allen's death occurred in New York City January 6, 1915, after a brief illness, when nearing his
sixty-third birthday. His loss to medical science was universally felt. His life had many positive phases,
every one of which was plainly evident. His surgical side was clearly defined, his religious life was simple
and unostentatious, his philanthropies were generous and discriminating, his administrative ability as known
on the boards of Oberlin College and the Historical Society was marked, and the leisure of the later years
offered him unusual opportunity for service to humanity in various channels. The world is better because he
lived in it.
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