Pinkerton, Allan, 1819-84, American detective, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, b. Glasgow, Scotland. A cooper by trade, he emigrated to the United States in 1842 and opened in West Dundee, Ill., a cooper's shop, which became a station on the Underground Railroad. His discovery and capture of a band of counterfeiters led to his appointment (1846) as county sheriff and, in 1850, to an appointment as the first city detective on the Chicago police force. He established in the same year a private detective agency, which had considerable success in solving train- and express-company robberies. In 1861 he foiled a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and in the Civil War Pinkerton organized and directed an espionage system behind the Confederate lines. His agency secured (1869) evidence on which the Molly Maguires were broken up. After Pinkerton's death, the agency was continued by his sons, Robert A. Pinkerton and William A. Pinkerton, and was active in breaking the Homestead strike of 1892. For its role in industrial disputes on behalf of management, particularly in its use of labor spies, the agency was denounced by organized labor. Pinkerton wrote of his own experiences in Criminal Reminiscences and Detective Sketches (1879) and other books.

See biography by S. A. Lavine; R. W. Rowan, The Pinkertons (1931); J. D. Horan, Desperate Men (1949) and The Pinkertons (1967).

Ramsay, Allan, 1685?-1758, Scottish poet. An Edinburgh bookseller, he opened one of the first circulating libraries in Great Britain. The Gentle Shepherd (1725), a pastoral comedy, is his most famous poetic work. He compiled several collections of old Scottish poems and songs and is considered an important figure in the revival of Scottish vernacular poetry that culminated in the work of Robert Burns. His son, Allan Ramsay, 1713-84, was a noted portrait painter. After a successful career in Edinburgh he moved to London in 1767 and became principal painter to George III.

See biography of the elder Ramsay by O. Smeaton (1896); study by B. Martin (1931).

Allan, Sir Hugh, 1810-82, Canadian financier and shipowner, b. Scotland. He emigrated to Canada in 1826, was employed by a large shipbuilding company in Montreal, and later founded the Allan Line of steamships. He was given the contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, but the Pacific scandal (1873) led to its cancellation.
Cunningham, Allan, 1784-1842, Scottish author. His collection of The Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern (4 vol., 1825) included his own "A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea," one of the best-known sea ballads. His six-volume Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects appeared from 1829 to 1833.
Nevins, Allan, 1890-1971, American historian, b. Camp Point, Ill. After studying at the Univ. of Illinois, he followed a career in journalism until 1927. Teaching at Columbia from 1928, he became a full professor in 1931 and was made De Witt Clinton professor of American history in 1942. He retired in 1958, becoming a senior research associate of the Huntington Library. Nevins, one of the most prolific U.S. historians of the 20th cent., is noted for the exhaustive research and comprehensive treatment that characterize his wide range of historical writings. His masterful political biographies include Grover Cleveland (1932) and Hamilton Fish (1936), both of which won Pulitzer Prizes; Frémont: Pathmarker of the West (1939); and Herbert H. Lehman and His Era (1963). In works on the economic giants of America, among them Abram S. Hewitt (1935) and Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller (rev. ed. 1953), Nevins pointed out the role of the captains of industry in making America a world power. The Ordeal of the Union (1947-60), Nevins's six-volume history of the Civil War era from 1847 through 1863, is a comprehensive narrative of the age, covering social, economic, and political aspects. Among many other notable works are Illinois (1917), a history of the state university; The Evening Post (1922), an early work in the history of journalism; The American States during and after the Revolution, 1775-1789 (1924), a valuable study of change in this period; The Emergence of Modern America, 1865-1878 (1927), a social history; and The Gateway to History (1938, rev. ed. 1962), an introduction to historiography. The many papers edited by Nevins include the diaries of Philip Hone (1927), John Quincy Adams (1928), James K. Polk (1929), and George Templeton Strong (1952), as well as the letters of Grover Cleveland (1933). Nevins also established the Columbia oral history program, the first of its kind in the nation.

Allan (2006 Population 631) is a town in west central Saskatchewan, Canada about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon.


Allan was incorporated as a village on June 9, 1910 though the first homesteaders first started arriving in 1903.


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