Arts & Sciences

Obituary: Garland Allen, professor emeritus of biology, 86

Garland (“Gar”) Edward Allen III, professor emeritus of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died peacefully in Palm Springs, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. He was 86.

Allen was born Feb. 13, 1936, in Louisville, Ky. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Kentucky in 1957. He earned a master’s degree in arts and teaching and a PhD in the history of biology from Harvard University in 1958 and 1966, respectively.


Allen joined the Washington University faculty in 1967 and remained until his retirement in 2017. He was widely known for his work in the history of genetics and was an international leader on the history of eugenics.

His primary interest was in the history and philosophy of biology — particularly genetics, embryology and evolution — and their interrelationships between 1880 and 1950. Through his scholarship, Allen broadened the study of biology to include its philosophical and ideological dimensions, and particularly to illuminate the historical and political-social context within the practice of science.

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