Allen, Maryon Pittman, 1925-2018

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Maryon Pittman Allen (November 30, 1925 – July 23, 2018) was an American journalist who served as United States Senator from Alabama for five months in 1978, after her husband, Senator James B. Allen, died in office. She held no public office prior to her appointed to her husband's old senate seat.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi as Maryon Pittman, her family moved to Birmingham, Alabama the following year, where she grew up and attended public school. From 1944 to 1947, she studied journalism at the University of Alabama but did not graduate. While a student, she married and had three children. Following her divorce, she went to work, first as an insurance agent and later as the editor of the women's sections for five weekly newspapers in the Birmingham area. That experience led to a position as a staff writer for the Birmingham News. It was in that capacity that she met James B. Allen, then lieutenant governor of Alabama. Attracted to one another, they married in August 1964.

Upon her second marriage, Maryon Pittman Allen became a political wife while simultaneously continuing work as a journalist. After James Allen's election to the U. S. Senate, Maryon accompained him to Washington, DC. After his sudden death from a heart attack in June 1978, Maryon was appointed by Governor George Wallace to succeed him. Following her appointment to the Senate, Allen decided to become a candidate in the November 1978 special election for the remaining two years of her husband's Senate term; though she was initially the favorite, statements that she had made critical of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace damaged her public image and Allen ultimately lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff. She left the Senate the day after the November election. Thereafter, Allen worked for a time as a columnist for The Washington Post. In later years, she returned to Alabama, where she did public relations work for an antique dealer and auction house in Birmingham. Allen died in Birmingham.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Allen, James B. (James Browning), 1912-1978. Press files, 1968-1978 and undated. Alabama Department of Archives and History
contributorOf Byrd, Harry Flood, 1914-. Harry Flood Byrd, Jr. papers, [1920?], 1960, 1966, 1982-2005. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
spouseOf Allen, James B. (James Browning), 1912-1978. person
employeeOf Birmingham News corporateBody
associatedWith Byrd, Harry Flood, 1914- person
memberOf United States. Congress. Senate corporateBody
almaMaterOf University of Alabama corporateBody
employeeOf Washington Post Company corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Birmingham AL US
District of Columbia DC US
Tuscaloosa AL US
Meridian MS US
Newspaper editors
Insurance agents
Senators, U.S. Congress--Alabama
Public relations personnel


Birth 1925-11-30

Death 2018-07-23






Ark ID: w6c931nd

SNAC ID: 85400244