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Frank Allen and Carrie Hadley correspondence

Identifier: Ms-0507

Scope and Content

Correspondence from Calvin Francis (Frank) Allen to Caroline (Carrie) Elizabeth Hadley, 1884-1887. Allen was an engineer, then attorney, for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad at the time. He settled in Socorro, New Mexico, becoming the city attorney. Carrie Hadley, daughter of New Mexico Agricultural College founder Hiram Hadley, was living in Indiana during the time the letters were written. The letters document the three-year courtship between Allen and Hadley. The two were married in 1888 and settled in Boston, where Frank took a teaching job at the Massachussets Institute of Technology.

Allen traveled extensively in New Mexico during the period the letters covered in the letters and he writes about professional and personal activities in the territory, highlighting social life in territorial New Mexico. Family matters are also discussed.

Also included in the collection is a biographical sketch of Allen and Hadley, written by Christine Erb, a descendent of Hiram Hadley through Carrie's brother Walter. A brief autobiographical sketch written by Frank Allen in 1933 is included. Three photographs - individual portraits of Frank Allen and Carrie Hadley, and one of the couple together in their later years - also accompany the letters.


  • 1884-1887
  • Majority of material found in Placeholder Unit Date Text

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room.

Copy Restrictions

Copyrights associated with materials in this collection have not been transferred to New Mexico State University.

Biography / History

Calvin Francis Allen was born in 1851 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He attended the Roxbury Latin School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1872. After several years working in water and sewer construction projects in Rhode Island and Ohio, he started west in 1878. In Topeka, Kansas, he sought work with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and was sent to Pueblo, Colorado, where he first worked on a project to construct the railroad like through the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas, also known as the Royal Gorge. He worked as a draftsman, eventually becoming head of the drafting office and reporting directly to the company's chief engineer.

In Pueblo, Allen met Walter C. Hadley, who had come west seeking a cure for his tuberculosis. In 1880, Allen was transferred to Las Vegas, New Mexico to work as a railroad engineer and also to construct the town's water works. Hadley also moved to Las Vegas and the two men became good friends. Around 1882, Allen met Hadley's sister Carrie, who had come to Las Vegas to help keep house for her brother. The Hadleys were children of Hiram Hadley, who would later found the New Mexico Agricultural College - today's New Mexico State University. Allen and Carrie Hadley began a courtship that would result in their marriage in 1888.

After a brief stint helping start the Mexican Central Railway south from El Paso, Allen took an appointment with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad to help settle cases of legal rights of way with the "native" people of New Mexico. His ties with the company's legal department sparked an interest in the field of law, which he studied "while traveling on the trains" during the middle 1880s. He was admitted to the Bar of New Mexico on July 1, 1885 and secured work for the railroad as attorney in Socorro, New Mexico. He opened a private practice and in July, 1886, was elected city attorney for Socorro.

On a vacation trip to see family in Massachusetts during the summer of 1887, with future plans in the balance, Allen was offered a position of assistant professor teaching railroad engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a position he accepts. Frank Allen and Carrie Hadley were married June 21, 1888, in Indianapolis. This same year, Carrie's father, Hiram Hadley, opened the New Mexico Agricultural College in Las Cruces. Frank and Carrie lived in Boston and had three daughters; Mildred, Margaret and Frances. Allen retired from MIT in 1916, after 29 years of teaching.

During his lifetime Frank Allen was president of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, president of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, president of the New England Railroad Club, and president of the Massachusetts Highway Association. Allen died during June 1948, and his wife Carrie three months later, in September.


.25 Linear Feet


Letters from Calvin Francis (Frank) Allen to Caroline (Carrie) Hadley written during their courtship, 1884-1887. The 163 letters mostly were sent from Allen in New Mexico to Hadley in Indiana. Frank Allen worked as a railroad engineer and attorney during his time in New Mexico. The letters discuss personal and family matters, but also provide a unique look into social life in territorial New Mexico. Allen lived in Las Vegas and Socorro, New Mexico during the time the letters were written, but his work required him to travel around the state, so information is provided about many communities. Carrie Hadley was the daughter of Hiram Hadley, founder of the New Mexico Agricultural College in Las Cruces.

Separated Material

Photographs have been separated from the manuscript materials and are stored with the photograph collections.
Guide to the Frank Allen and Carrie Hadley correspondence, 1884-1887
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid created by Dennis Daily
© 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA