Allen, Helen Louise (1902-1968)

Helen Louise Allen, 1902-1968. Helen Louise Allen, 1902-1968.

Helen Louise Allen (1902-1968) was an American professor and collector of (ethnic) textiles from around the world. She was associated with the University of Wisconsin (USA). She is regarded as a pioneer in her field, using historical and anthropological perspectives in the study of textiles.

As a child, Allen was involved in the production of textiles and learnt various embroidery and weaving techniques. Her family had moved to Turkey where they lived for many years. Here she learnt about the production and use of Ottoman and Anatolian textiles. Between 1927 and 1968, Allen was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught (among other subjects) textile technology (especially embroidery, knitting and weaving) and the history of textiles. She was particularly known as a weaver. During her career she built up a private textile collection to support her teaching and research. This collection became the basis for the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection that was bequeathed, along with her library, to the University of Wisconsin.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 3rd May 2017).


  • MARCHINKUS, Andrea Kolasinski (2003). 'The legacy of Helen Louise Allen,' in: Rima Dombrow Apple (ed.), The Challenge of Constantly Changing Times: From Home Economics to Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, 1903-2003, Madison: University of Wisconsin, pp. 165-186.
  • (retrieved 27th May 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 03 May 2017 18:47