Artist Name

birth1927 in Havana, CubaPicture of Allen when available
death
parents
educationUniversity of Havana, Cuba
University of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Spain
George Washington University
awards

Tom Allen, Jr. was born to American parents in Havana, Cuba. His parents were United Press foreign correspondents who were assigned all over the world. This assured that Tom received a very cosmopolitan upbringing. He attended schools in Latin America and Spain and served as a U.S. Army infantry sergeant on the Philippines during World War II. His sketches of the campaign were published by U.S. newspapers.

After the war he continued to stay active in sculpture but he also created a pilot program in the Philadelphia corrections system that attempted to use arts-and-crafts for therapy. On the artistic side, he created a 40-foot frieze at the Poor Richard Club of Philadelphia depicting the life of Benjamin Franklin, the medal and symbol of the Department of Recreation for the City of Philadelphia, as well as trademarks for corporations, and bas-reliefs and tutto tondo busts for private collections. He was Scenic Designer at Valley Forge Music Fair, designed and executed attractions at the Willow Grove Amusement Park and window displays for banks and stores, including John Wanamaker in Philadelphia.

His works have been exhibited at the National Numismatic Society, the National Sculpture Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Hunterdon County Art Center, the Morris County Art Association, the East Brunswick Arts Council, and at many galleries.

I have been unable to locate any images of him or his other works. Please help out if you can.



You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

  • Pro Vita - Terra, Aqua, Aer 1970
    by Tom Allen
    SOM-82.1
    Golden bronze with silvery "Snowflake" patina
    SOM-82.2
    Brown-gold patina

    This medal was chosen as the 82nd issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1970. The obverse bears a stylized hand bearing a flame with interwoven human figures. The reverse bears a halo of flame surrounding a circular field with the inscriptions: PRO VITA / TERRA / AQVA / AER.

    Tom Allen Jr. was an environmentalist long before environmentalism became popular. The brochure which acommpanied the medal had the following words from the artist:

    "Ecology, or the biology dealing with mutual relations between organisms and their environment, has become one of the vital concerns of all mankind. Natualists and conservationists have been warning us for many decades that the loss of a species creates an effect on the natural order."

    The medal measures 73mm in diameter and has a reported production quantity of 1,115 pieces in bronze.

    SOM-82.1
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Golden bronze with silvery "Snowflake" patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 82ND ISSUE - NOV. 1970 TOM ALLEN JR., SC.(C)
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
    SOM-82.2
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Brown-gold patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 82ND ISSUE - NOV. 1970 TOM ALLEN JR., SC.(C)
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
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Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

Research Archives and Websites

Museums

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
A copy of his Society of Medalists issue #82 (Pro Vita - Terra, Aqua, Aer).