by Wendy E. Chmielewski
The Devere Allen Lantern Slide Collection is now part of the online Triptych collection. Devere Allen was a writer, editor, internationalist, and socialist who came of age in the 1920s. Connected with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the War Resisters League, Allen edited magazines with progressive and international themes, The World Tomorrow, The Nation (1932), and established the international news gathering agency, The Worldover Press.
Allen also assisted the first curator of the Peace Collection in acquiring some of the records of the earliest peace societies in the U.S. In 1961, his widow, Marie Allen, donated his very large collection of papers to the Peace Collection. But it was only in 2012 that Devere Allen’s collection of glass lantern slides was discovered in the attic of a family member and donated to Swarthmore.
This collection consists of 263 glass slides of images that Allen used to illustrate his many lectures and talks promoting peace and internationalism. Most of these slides date no later
than the mid 1930s. They include portraits of leading public figures of that period, such as George Bernard Shaw, Jawaharlal Nehru, and George Lansbury; and peace activists such as Mohandas Gandhi, Fenner Brockway, and Romain Rolland. Many of the slides depict the architectural and cultural heritage in European cities or the beauties of the surrounding countryside.
Allen collected images of contemporary events such as a parade of Soviet military might in Moscow’s Red Square, a peace demonstration in Berlin in the early 1930s, and a march of Nazi “Brown Shirts” a few years later. Anti-war cartoons make up another segment of the slide collection. The photographers of these images remain unknown, but the lantern slides themselves were hand colored and produced by the Edward van Altena Studios in New York. The collection can be viewed at: http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/SC_photo [search terms Allen Lantern]