William C. Allen was born on March 9, 1857 on the premises of the Westtown School, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (4th and Arch Streets) of the Society of Friends, and was recorded as a Minister there in 1898 (circa). He lived for many years in San Jose, California, and later moved to Denver, Colorado in 1925 (circa). He was married in 1883 to Elizabeth C. Bromly. They had one surviving daughter, Grace Allen Bell.
Allen was deeply opposed to war and wrote often about the problems of propaganda, censorship, conscription, imperialism, and the munitions industry. He contributed articles on the Christian's attitude toward war and its causes to over twenty church papers. Allen traveled widely, going twice to Asia, four times to Australia and New Zealand, and three times to South Africa. He wrote many articles about his experiences abroad; perhaps most significant were the ones which championed the rights of native peoples in South Africa. Allen worked against conscription in California, he was a strong advocate for the temperance movement, and he was actively interested in the Federal Council of Churches, to name a few involvements. He established the Peace Committee of the Churches of the Pacific Coast.
Allen wrote several books, among them A Quaker in the Orient and War! Behind the Smoke Screen. These are available in the tri-college consortium.
Allen died on November 14, 1938.