About James B. Allen
JAMES B. ALLEN, Professor of History, Emeritus, Brigham Young University
James B. Allen was born June 14, 1927, in Ogden, Utah. He married Renée Jones, April 16,
1953. They have five children, twenty-one grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren . He
received his bachelor's degree in history form Utah State University in 1954, a master's degree
from Brigham Young University in 1956, and the Ph.D. from the University of Southern
California in 1963.
Active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all his life, he has served in numerous
positions, including bishop of two BYU wards and a member of 5 different BYU high councils.
In 1999-2000 he and Renée served as missionaries at the Boston Institute of Religion.
He has also been active in the Republican party and twice served as a delegate to the state
In his professional career, he taught in the LDS Seminary and Institute program from 1954-63,
after which he was a member of the faculty at Brigham Young University until his retirement in
1992. From 1972 to 1979 he also served as Assistant Church Historian (splitting his time
between BYU and the Church Historical Department). He was chair of the History Department
from 1981-1987 then, during his last five years at BYU, he was honored to hold the Lemuel
Hardison Redd, Jr. Chair in Western American History. After his retirement he became
associated with the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at BYU, where
for several years he held an appointment as a Senior Research Fellow.
He has also been active in various professional organizations, including the Western History
Association (served on various committees, and as chair of a program committee) and the
Mormon History Association (president, 1971-73). He has been on various boards of editors and
advisory committees and presented numerous papers at the meetings of various historical
As a researcher and writer he is the author, co-author, or co-editor of fourteen books or
monographs and around 90 articles relating to Western American history and Mormon history,
as well as numerous book reviews in professional journals. Some of his books include the
The Company Town in the American West (University of Oklahoma Press, 1966)
The Story of the Latter-day Saints (with Glen M. Leonard; Deseret Book Company, 1976;
2nd edition 1992)
Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon (University of Illinois
Press, 1987). Revised and republished in 2002 by BYU Press under the title No
Toil Nor Labor Fear: The Story of William Clayton. In 1986, while still in press,
this book won the prestigious David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans
Men With a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837-1841
(with Ronald K. Esplin and David J. Whittaker, Deseret Book Company, 1992)
Studies in Mormon History 1830-1997: An Indexed Bibliography
(with Ronald W.
Walker and David J. Whittaker; University of Illinois Press, 2000). Allen was the
lead investigator for this important work. It lists, and provides an index to, all the
significant books, articles, doctoral dissertations and master's theses on Mormon
history produced between 1830 and 1997. It has been widely hailed as one of the
most important aids to finding LDS history ever published. In 2001 the Mormon
History Association awarded the authors a special citation for the publication of
this book. After that, working with J. Michael Hunter, Allen continued to update
the bibliography database. Hunter has now taken over the updating, and the
database is online at mormonhistory.byu.edu
Mormon History (with Ronald W. Walker and David J. Whittaker, University of Illinois
Press, 2001). This book is a history of the writing of Mormon history, from the
days of Joseph Smith until the present time.
Over the years he has received various awards, honors, and recognitions, besides those indicated
above. Among them were several "best article" awards; the Karl G. Maeser Research and
Creative Arts Award, Brigham Young University, 1980; named Distinguished Faculty Lecturer,
Brigham Young University, 1984; named a Fellow of the Utah State Historical Society, July 15,
1988; the Leonard J. Arrington Award for a Distinctive Contribution to the cause of Mormon
History, awarded by the Mormon History Asociation, 2008.
James and Renée have enjoyed living in Orem, Utah since 1963.
He currently serves as Sunday School President in his ward, and he and Renée have been officiators
in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple since 2004.