Whiting ALLEN

(Delaware, 1855-Chicago, 1911)

allen whiting portrait 02 

Jean-Claude SEGUIN


Jedidiah Allen (Royalton, 11/10/1821-Indianapolis, 24/12/1905)

  • épouse (Delaware, 30/03/1854) Catherine Hubbell (Pennsylvanie, 1832-Delaware, 07/03/1858). Descendance :
    • Whiting Allen (Delaware, 09/07/1855-Chicago, 27/07/1911) épouse (Philadelphie, 30/12/1882) Ellen "Nellie" A. Gibbons (Pennsylvania, 1863-Philadelphie, 15/04/1914).
    • Flora Allen (Delaware, 25/09/1857-Delaware, 1858)
  • épouse Mary Leonard ([Delaware], 1843-). Descendance:
    • George, Leonard Allen (Ohio, 29/12/1865-[Delaware], 15/10/1900)


Fils d'un avocat (attorney), Whiting Allen, encore enfant, sert comme page à l'Assemblée législative de l'état de l'Ohio à Columbus. Par la suite, il s'exerce au journalisme dans un périodique local avant de s'adonner à l'écriture théâtre. Pour la premier fois, il est engagé comme attaché de presse par le W. C. Coup Circus, puis par le Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Circus (1882/1891-1894), le Sells Bros' circus (1884), la Carleton Opera Co. (1884), la Lester & Allen's Minstrel Company (1885), le Beveridge's Montana Wildest West show (1895). Il rejoint le colonel W. F. Cody "Buffalo Bill" en 1895 :

Mr. Whiting Allen, press agent for the Buffalo Fill (Colonel W. F. Cody), wild west show is in the city to-day renewing old acquaintances, and arranging for the appearance for that splendid combination here on September 22.

Harrisburg Daily Independent, Harrisburg, jeudi 22 août 1895, p. 1.

Whiting Allen semble s'être intéressé au cinématographe vers la fin de l'année 1896. D'après l'opérateur Félix Mesguich, qui débarque à New York en décembre 1896, Allen serait le représentant de W. B. Hurd :

Au quai de débarquement, je trouve M. W. Allen, représentant-impresario de M. Hurd.

MESGUICH, 1933: 9.

Ce qui est certain, c'est que Whiting Allen a en responsabilité la présentation du cinématographe à Washington, en janvier 1897 comme l'indique l'article suivant :

The Cinematographe.
The famous cinematographe, invented and perfected by the French scientists and inventors, the Lumieres, was yesterday placed on exhibition at Willard Hall. Three audiences were entertained, and they were well entertained, for the exhibition is one of the most amusing and instructive of its kind.
There have been many machines constructed for projecting moving pictures upon a screen, but Mr. Lumiere claims to have been the precursor of all others and that his cinematographe is the original moving picture machine. Of this there does not seem to be any dispute. But his instrument need not rest upon a claim to originality for its Laurels, it is, as a matter of fact, more perfect in its results than any which have succeeded it.
The cinematographe at present stands at the north end of Willard Hall in a green baize inclosure, and is operated by two young Frenchmen from M. Lumiere’s factory at Lyons. Though the opening whence the rays are projected is less than an inch and a half diameter, they diverge as they pass the length of the hall and are reflected upon the large screen in perfect reproduction of life, in all the details of size, shading and motion.
To one who has never seen the moving photographs the cinematographe is a marvelous revelation. Little idea of the fine effects reproduced can be obtained from a description. To one who has seen the other inventions of this character, it will commend itself for having many notable improvements. The pictures move in time with actual motion, instead of nurying unnaturally to avoid lapses. There are fewer defects in the plates of these photographs and consequently more smoothness and more realism.
Mr. Whiting Allen has the cinematographe exhibitions in charge and delivers interesting explanatory talks on each of the views. Many of the pictures shown yesterday are local to this city. One is of the Avenue in the block on the west side of The Times office. The cable cars are seen passing as naturally as life, delivery wagons and coal carts pass and repass, pedestrians hurry along and a cabman deposits a passenger in the foreground, and he hurries off of the side of the picture, evidently into the new post-office building.
Another view shows the Capitol, with Peace Monument in the foreground, and a third Washington view represents the south end of the Treasury, with the stream of travel turning from the Avenue into Fifteenth street.
Though the local scenes are interesting to look upon there are pictures from all parts of the earth. Probably the finest view shown was that in which the waves are seen rolling in and dashing against the rocks on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Emperor William is seen reviewing his troops; the oriental delegation pass on their way to witness the coronation of the czar; Newgate street, London, is shown as Princess Maud passes to her wedding, a pretty baby quarrel is a prime favorite, and others to the amount of about twenty complete a program which affords excellent entertainment to the audiences.
Mr. Allen is confining his advertising to the newspaper and the fruit of his wisdom was yesterday seen in the three audiences which greeted the first exhibitions of the cinematographe.

Washington Times, Washington, samedi 2 janvier 1897, p. 3.

L'intérêt de Whiting Allen pour le cinématographe ne semble avoir été que temporaire et il va continuer à se consacrer à ses activités d'attaché de presse. En 1905, il se rend en France avec l'American Circus de Joseph T. MeCaddon, mais l'expérience européenne se solde par un échec. En 1907, il met un terme à sa collaboration avec le Barnum & Bailey Circus pour travailler comme éditeur dramatique du Philadephia North American, puis, en 1909, comme attaché de presse de la Metropolitan Grand Opera Company. Ce n'est qu'en 1911, peu avant sa disparition, que Whiting Allen devient le représentant de la Kinemacolor Motion Picture Company (New York) :

Mr. Allen had gone to the Western metropolis as representative of the Kinemacolor Motion Picture Company of New York, as was exclusively announced in las week's issue of The Billboard.
He had engaged this season as press representative of the Barnum & Bailey Show, but his health failed and he returned to New York, soon after the Madison Square Garden date. Several weeks ago, having been advised by his physician that his health would never permit of this traveling again, he asked the Ringling Brothers to remove his name from the payroll. It was then that he accepted the proffer of the position he was destined never to fill.

The Billboard, 5 août 1911, p. 6.


Chas. R. Hutchinson, Official Souvenir Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World Official Souvenir Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, Ed. M. B. Bailey, 1896, 295 p.