Northern Kentucky Writers

Robert “Colonel” S. Allen,
(July 14, 1900, Latonia, KY – February 23, 1981, Washington D.C.)

Allen was a journalist, author, and a decorated veteran. Born in Latonia, Allen’s family moved to Louisville while Allen was in grade school. He enrolled at the University of Kentucky but left after only one year to join the U.S. Army Cavalry during the Mexican border campaign (1916-1917). In 1923 Allen studied at the University of Munich in Germany on fellowship and reported for the Christian Science Monitor as a European correspondent. Some claim that Allen was the first American journalist to publicly criticize Adolf Hitler in his reports on Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch. Allen moved to Washington D.C. in 1925 to report for the Christian Science Monitor where he also worked on writing articles and books focused on Washington D.C. politicians. Often, Allen’s works irritated the politicians on which they focused; the nature of Allen’s writing would, on occasion, mar the reputations of their subjects.

Allen is considered one of the first American investigative journalists. Along with his writing partner, Drew Pearson, Allen reported on stories that would have otherwise been ignored. Pearson and Allen were among the first to submit in-depth reports on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Allen quit his reporting job to re-enlist in the army at the start of World War II and he served in France. During a reconnaissance mission Allen lost an arm; he later received numerous decorations for his actions. When Allen returned to the U.S. he began writing again, this time he wrote a syndicated column with a conservative and nationalistic view. After the onset of poor health, Allen committed suicide in 1981.

Block, Maxine, ed. Current Biography: Who’s News and Why, 1941. New York: H.w. Wilson, 1941.

Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale Research, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale, 2006).

Downs, Robert, and Hane Downs. Journalists of the United States. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1991.

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