Allan came to UCSD from Smith College in 1976. At Smith, he had been a regular tennis partner of Ramon Ruiz, who was then chair of our department and who could promise Allan year-around tennis and an opportunity to help build up European history in our department. Allan did those things--regularly playing tennis and running with colleagues and helping us recruit John Marino, David Ringrose, and Stuart and Judith Hughes.
In Allan, the department got a very active scholar and excellent teacher. He had established himself among German historians with his first book, Revolution in Bavaria 1918-19 (1965). But during the next ten years, he became increasingly interested in French history, alternating between German and French archives during his frequent trips to Europe. In 1979, he published German Influence in France after 1870, the first volume of a trilogy on the topic. His work in the French archives also produced wonderful articles on the origins of the Paris Morgue, the first murder solved by forensic medicine ("La femme coupée en morceaux"), and the efforts of the 19th-century government to control the spread of tuberculosis (the police monitored spittoons in the railway stations and kept meticulous records). After the publication of the third volume of his trilogy, Allan kept at it. He published books on the development of the railroad systems in France and Germany, on Bismarck and the French, and on various Germans who participated in the occupation of Paris during the Second World War. His last book appeared this year.
Allan was a model archive rat. Since his retirement in 1994, he went to Germany and France about twice a year. He always sent postcards with lovely scenes, but one wondered when he looked up from the boxes of records he was working through to take in such views. For him, historical work had to be rooted, deeply, in the archives. He had a firm opinion about that, as he did about most other things in life.
After retirement, Allan moved to Boulder, where his daughters had settled. He visited La Jolla about once a year--to get some warmth with his sun, to wander in the places he had loved when he lived here, and to see old friends. He was a good and vigorous friend. He died on Sunday, October 30, of sepsis, which he got when he suffered a burst appendix. He was 83. — Written by Stanley Chodorow