University of Wisconsin–Madison

2017 Distinguished Alumna: Dr. Susan Allen (MA’68)

Dr. Susan Allen (MA’68), is a dedicated leader who has flourished as a scholar, practitioner, and administrator at a variety of institutions. She contributed significantly to the areas of rare books and special collections, serving most recently as the associate director and chief librarian at The Getty Research Institute. Upon retirement in 2011, Dr. Allen applied her expertise to the ongoing operation and success of the California Rare Book School, where she serves as director, and The Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College where she is interim director.

Her professional association work, primarily in ACRL, lead to the creation of best practices for rare book security and communication between libraries, book dealers, and law enforcement. After completing her dissertation on Colonial American printers and receiving a PhD from UCLA in 1996, Dr. Allen continued to publish on printing history, becoming a prominent writer in this area. In addition to her professional and scholarly contributions, she also created The Old Town Press, a fine printing press, and exhibits as a book artist.

Beverly Lynch (PhD’73) nominated Dr. Allen for this award and compliments her by writing “Dr. Allen’s leadership qualities are enhanced by her gentle persuasive power, her fine sense of humor, the respect she shows for differing opinions, and her ability to bring seemingly intractable points of view to agreement. She does not call attention to herself, but she probably should.” SLIS is happy to call attention to Dr. Allen’s many achievements by honoring her as a Distinguished Alumna. Dr. Allen will receive her award at the spring graduation ceremony.