Allan Truax, A.E. Housman, The Ex, Me, and More

Truax Trivia

Because the recent post, Allan Truax, A.E. Housman, The Ex, and Me, has proven unexpectedly popular, I am publishing this Allan Truax addendum although it consists of only four trivial, unrelated bits of information.

This should take care of that annoying popularity.

Allan Truax In Hot Pursuit

In addition to his interest in American Revolutionary War history and genealogy, Allan Truax had other intellectual pursuits. One I stumbled across only this morning was an interest in mycology,1 including collecting and contributing at least one specimen to an authoritative collection.

An appendix for a paper2 to be published in Mycologia lists an example of Puccinia coronata (pictured above) among the collection of The Minnesota Herbarium, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, from Crosby, ND, and contributed 19 June 1924, by A. L. Truax.3

The Allan/Allen Switcheroo: Identifying Allan Truax, Allen Truax, and A.L. Truax

The titular “Ex” was, in fact, the first to note the discrepancies in the spelling of “Allan” and “Allen.”4

The “Allan/Allen” mix in my post is an artifact of the sources. Truax’s first name is spelled both ways in various documents. Most of the sources, including the Truax family genealogy site, render the name, “Allan.” The biographical sketch from the American Revolutionary War Postcards & Photographs Collection, however, has it as “Allen.”

I used “Allan” in my own notes, both because it seemed likely that the family’s records were more accurate than the photography archivists’ and because, as an authority, I know “Allan” is the best way to spell the name.

What The “L”

The “A.L” in “A.L. Truax” stands for “Allan Lincoln.”

Speaking Of “A.L.”

It turns out that Allan had a sister, Alice Louise Truax (born in 1879), who could, theoretically, be the “A.L. Truax” in the inscription in Housman’s Last Poems. So far, I can find little other information about her. I’m maintaining my belief that the “A.L. Truax” in inscription is Allan Lincoln Truax because Allan is known to have lived in Crosby and, although it is possible that Alice also moved from the family home in Michigan to Crosby, ND, that seems unlikely.

And, if it turns out that the book did belong to Alice, this perfectly nice story I’ve confabulated will be ruined.5

Allan Truax As Proto-Blogger

This excerpt is from Allan’s notes taken during an interview with Mrs. Amsden to gather information about one of his ancestors, Elias Truax, also known as Gillis Truax, born on 4 July 1772 at Albany, NY:

She corroborates the story of ‘Yelles’ skating across Franklin Pond, Vt. on his 100th birthday, says the ‘young folks’ let him beat them across just to please his vanity. Also told about bear he tamed. Says they would entertain him free of charge at the Farnham P.2 fair and the Franklin Co. Vt. fair just for the stories he would tell. Once while at the Farnham Fair he overstayed the limit of his ticket and his friends feared he couldn’t get back. He said he would show them. When the conductor came around to collect tickets and told ‘Yelles’ his ticket was n.g., the latter began to jabber at him in Holland Dutch. Of course no one could understand him. They sent for a Frenchman and he could understand Yelles’ jabberings no better, so finally the conductor said ‘Oh well, let the old fool ride. He’s crazy anyway’, and so he got back to Franklin.

Ice skating to celebrate a 100th birthday? Bear taming? Calling someone an “old fool?” Sounds like a Heck Of A Guy post to me.

More Allan Truax Data In The Offing

Allan Truax Returns

The Life and Times Of Allan Lincoln Truax

Allan Truax Timeline In Context


  1. The branch of botany that studies fungi and fungus-caused diseases []
  2. “Aeciospore surface variation in Puccinia recondita and P. coronata species Complexes” by McCain, Roelfs, and Leonard []
  3. It seems unlikely that he would contribute only one specimen, but this reference, which I found by lucky coincidence, unluckily lists only the single example in which the authors had an interest. []
  4. It could have been worse; there was not a single case of “Alan” and certainly no New Age, drug-induced spellings such as “Allyn.” []
  5. Unless it turns out that Alice was, say, Housman’s muse or a serial killer or something equally intriguing. That’s probably too much to hope for. []

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