George E. Allen was born in Booneville, Mississippi. He earned a law degree at Cumberland University in Tennessee. Allen was the head football coach for Cumberland College Bulldogs in Lebanon, Tennessee, for one game in 1916. Cumberland University suffered the greatest loss in the history of college football to Georgia Tech by a score of 222 to 0. Cumberland had actually discontinued its football program before the season but was not allowed to cancel its game against the Engineers. Georgia Tech coach John Heisman insisted on the schools’ scheduling agreement, which required Cumberland to pay $3,000 (considered a sizeable sum in 1916 and roughly equivalent to $60,000 currently) to Tech if its football team failed to show. George E. Allen (who was elected to serve as Cumberland’s football team student manager after first serving as the baseball team student manager), also a Kappa Sigma Fraternity member, put together a scrub team of 14 men to travel to Atlanta as Cumberland’s football team and were soundly beaten 222 to 0, saving the college $3,000 in the process. Cumberland would not play football again until 1920.
George E. Allen later practiced law in Mississippi and Indiana, afterwards engaging in various business ventures. In the 1920s he managed hotel properties in Washington, D.C., eventually drifting into politics and serving President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. He served as a member of the Board of Commissioners for the District of Columbia (1933-8, 1939–40) and treasurer and then secretary of the Democratic National Committee. On behalf of the Red Cross, Allen made a number of trips to England and Europe where, in the 1940s, he and Dwight D. Eisenhower developed a friendship that grew over the ensuing years. Allen also served as a director of the War Damage Corporation, a government effort to provide insurance against war-related damage. He was an advisor to President Harry S. Truman, serving as manager of his vice-presidential campaign and accepting an appointment as a director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1946. He was on the cover of Time magazine on August 12, 1946. Based on his experiences as a White House intimate, he wrote Presidents Who Have Known Me in 1950, and then wrote a revised edition in 1960.
- February, 29, 1896
- Booneville, Mississippi
- April, 23, 1973
- Palm Desert, California