While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Barbara LeUnes Pearson

ALLEN ACADEMY. Allen Academy, a private school in Bryan, traces its beginnings to 1886, when John Hodges Allen became the principal of Madison Academy, at Madisonville. After nine years of successful operation of Madison Academy, Allen requested and received a charter from the state to establish Madison College, a secondary school. Rivers O. Allen, Allen's younger brother, moved from Tennessee to become coprincipal at Madison College. In 1896 the name of the school was changed to Allen Academy.

In 1899 the Allens decided to reorganize Allen Academy as a private boarding school for boys. They moved it to Bryan that summer. During the early years the Allens were the only teachers in the school, but the academy prospered and overcame many obstacles similar to those that forced other private schools to close. In 1899 the Allens purchased five acres and a two-room building; in 1968 the school had 470 acres and thirty-eight buildings. From an initial enrollment of twenty-seven students in six grades, the number of students reached an average of 600 students enrolled in eight grades. In 1916 military training was introduced into the academy, and three years later an ROTC was organized there. The military program made rapid progress, and in 1927 Allen Academy was selected as an honor military school, the highest rating given to a military school in the United States. The academy continued to retain this rating throughout the years that it maintained its ROTC program.

Under the supervision of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), the first year of junior college was added to the Allen curriculum in 1927. The courses were instituted primarily to accommodate students who lacked a few high school credits to satisfy the entrance requirements for college. Therefore, a student was able to complete his high school work and at the same time receive some college credit. In 1947 the second year of college work was added to the curriculum, thus completing the requirements of the junior college division of the school. The academy continued to offer a junior college curriculum until 1968, when Blinn College in Brenham assumed the responsibility and began to teach the courses at the Allen Academy location.

The changing economic climate persuaded the Allen family to relinquish private ownership of the academy, and in June 1953 Allen Academy was transferred to the Allen Academy Foundation, a nonprofit educational trust. During the 1970s and 1980s the administration modified the school to meet educational demands. The military program was discontinued in 1982, and the next year the school had 250 students. In the summer of 1988 the school property was sold to the federal government for a minimum-security unit of the federal prison system. Allen Academy was moved to a modern facility located between Bryan and College Station. In 1994 the school was coeducational and offered instruction to students from preschool through high school. The enrollment was 305.

Glenna Fourman Brundidge, Brazos County History: Rich Past-Bright Future (Bryan, Texas: Family History Foundation, 1986). Barbara LeUnes, A History of Allen Academy, 1886–1968 (M.A. thesis, Texas A&M University, 1970). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Barbara LeUnes Pearson, "ALLEN ACADEMY," accessed August 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kba08.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...