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Identifier: WH739

Scope and Contents

The Archibald Allison Papers (1882-1931) contains material pertaining to both Allison’s professional and personal life, including photographs and ephemera. His professional papers include material from the time he spent in Southeast Asia, Walsenburg and Colorado, as well as his published works. The bulk of the professional papers contain documents related to two defamation cases against Allison. His personal papers include correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, legal documents, financial information and other personal notes. Later diaries (1904-1924) contain numerous entries about the conditions in the mines in Trinidad, Colorado and Walsenburg, Colorado. The collection also contains personal memorabilia and photographs documenting Allison’s work for the Borneo Company and the Tegora Mines in Sarawak.


This series is divided into three subseries: Southeast Asia, publications by Archibald Allison, and Colorado mines. The Southeast Asia subseries is comprised primarily of documents related to the defamation cases filed against Allison in Borneo and covers the years 1887 to 1903. It includes legal papers, invoices from his lawyer, correspondence related to the cases, a newspaper article and background information on the Central Borneo Company. The publications subseries is comprised of four pamphlets that Allison had published from 1898 to 1900. Correspondence with the publisher, including printing costs, pamphlet drafts and background information are contained in this series. The Colorado mines subseries covers the years 1904 to 1913 and includes an account journal, a time statement, and correspondence related to the United Mine Workers.

SERIES 2 PERSONAL 1887-1931, N.D. BOX 1-2

Correspondence, diaries, financial and legal documents, newspaper clippings, notes and poetry comprise this series. The correspondence in this series spans from 1887 to 1924 and includes letters from family and friends. Topics covered include personal and household matters, travel and information about Allison's work. Letters with Geordie Jolly (friend) and J. Jeffrey Hunter (solicitor) have been separated as a significant amount of correspondence is included. The diaries span from 1896 to 1926, with the final entries written by his children, detailing his illness and death in October 1926. The diaries cover topics of financial matters, dreams and Allison's activities, including those related the United Mine Workers and the mines in Trinidad, Colorado and Walsenburg, Colorado. Financial information in this series includes invoices and receipts received by Allison. The legal portion of the series is dedicated to Allison's will and a receipt for a life insurance policy from 1895. The newspaper clippings are general interest items that Allison collected and including political cartoons, current events, and political articles. Personal notes, lists of books, an address, memos, and poetry written by Allison comprise the remainder of the series.

SERIES 3 EPHEMERA 1897-1902, N.D. BOX 2

This series is comprised of mementos and a Clansman pin from the Caledonian Club of Huerfano County, Walsenburg, Colorado. The mementos include invitations, calling cards, programs and a ticket from a dairy company.


The majority of the photographs are contained in a photo album and document the years 1882 to 1887, time that Allison spent in Southeast Asia. Photographs include images of Allison, friends, natives, the surrounding areas and the mines. A single photograph of an unknown statue is undated.


  • 1882-1931

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Archibald Allison was born in Scotland where he grew up in a small mining village. In 1891, Allison attended a technical college in Glasgow. A friend recommended him to the Central Borneo Company for employment. As a result, Allison traveled to Sarawak (Borneo) in 1892, where he worked in the Tegora quicksilver mines as a manager. After a few years, Allison became aware of corporate corruption and began writing about it and publishing pamphlets. Allison's allegations led to two defamation cases in 1898. Allison was convicted in both cases and was fined $2,000 and $100. After spending a few years in Scotland, Allison came to the United States around 1903-1904. He moved to Colorado and worked in the Robinson Mine in Walsenburg, where he became active in the United Mine Workers. Allison became an American citizen in 1909. Allison was married and had two children. Allison died October 28, 1926, as a result of pneumonia.


2 Boxes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.


Holly Allen-Petersen

September 2010


Jamie Seemiller

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States