Fanny Margaret Allen

Historical Postcard of Ethan Allen Hospital
Historical Postcard of Ethan Allen Hospital

Time Period

1750-1820

Subject Categories

Medicine, Religion

Notable Facts

Daughter of Ethan Allen. Fifth New Englander to become a member of a Canadian religious order. Fanny Allen Hospital, in Colchester, Vermont, is named in her memory.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

11/1784

Date of Death

1819

Primary Residence

Westminster

Religion

Roman Catholic

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Frances "Fanny" Allen was the daughter of Ethan Allen and Frances Montresor Buchanan Allen. Her father died when she was only five years old, so her mother took her and her siblings to Westminster, Vermont. There, her mother was remarried to Dr. Jabez Penniman. In 1807, when she was twenty-three, she asked permission of her parents to spend a year in Montreal, Canada studying French. She was admitted as a boarder with the French Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Allen quickly announced to her family that she had joined the Catholic Church and wished to be a nun. In 1808 she entered a nursing order, the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph, as a novice. Three years later, in 1811, she took her final vows and became the fifth New Englander to enter a Canadian religious order. She spent the rest of her life nursing the sick although she was officially the hospital chemist. She died of consumption at the age of thirty-five, in 1819, and was entombed in the Hospital of the Hotel Dieu in Montreal. In 1894, six Sisters from the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph established the Fanny Allen Hospital, in Colchester, Vermont, in her memory.

Organizations or Movements

  • Sister of the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph

Occupations

  • Sister of the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph

Education

  • Middlebury Seminary

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Those Indomitable Vermont Women

  • Who was Fanny Allen" Link

  • Bryan, David. A Nun For Two Nations: Life of Sister Fanny Allen, RHSJ, 1784-1819.

  • Hemenway, Abby M. Fanny Allen, The First American Nun: A Drama in Five Acts. Boston: Thomas B. Noonan & Co., 1878.