Since its inception in 1921, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society has preserved American Indian material cultural artifacts and art objects. While numerous donors added to the Society's Native American collection over the previous eighty-two years, Susan J. Allen deserves special recognition in light of both the sheer numbers of objects she gave and their overall high quality.
Through the efforts of Harold D. Bugbee--whom she met at Taos--Susan Janney Allen of Haverford, Penn., gave her American Indian collection in memory of her parents, Samuel L. and Sarah H. Allen of Philadelphia, who began assembling the collection in 1911.
Susan J. Allen continued collecting and operated an Indian shop in New Jersey in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1934, Allen decided to lend some of her collection for exhibition at the Museum writing to Harold Bugbee in April: "[I] feel quite sure you can make a very attractive and worthwhile display, that will appeal to the average visitor, and also be of educational value, too." Later that year Allen began donating her collection to the Society, and after subsequent gifts, by 1941 the Susan J. Allen Collection came to number more than 2,000 objects. This includes some 250 of the finest baskets in the Society's collection (and in any public collection in the United States), beadwork, pottery, paintings, silver, and katsina dolls.
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