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Former History Department member, Richard Allen passed away last week at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  He was 90.


Born in 1929, Richard held degrees from Toronto, Saskatchewan and Duke Universities. His first academic post was at the University of Regina (1964-1974) and he moved to the McMaster History Department in 1974.  A specialist in the history of Canadian Christian Socialism, his first book, The Social Passion (1971) was a highly-regarded study of the Canadian social gospel movement.  He went on to publish four other books in the 1970s, returning to his scholarly work with two more books in 1998 and 2008 after a long spell in provincial politics.


Richard was a member of the department until 1987, leaving due to his political career.  He was MPP for the riding of Hamilton West from 1982 to 1995, and served as a cabinet minister in the Bob Rae government of 1990-1995.  He served as Rae’s as Minister of Colleges and Universities and later as Minister of Housing.  He continued his public service after 1995 as chair of the board of Wesley Urban Ministries, a provider of support to low-income and marginalized populations in Hamilton.