Anna B. Allen joined the Southern Historical Collection staff in 1943 and retired in 1975. During her illustrious career, she handled millions of pieces of paper and organized the collection’s documents. Her citation noted:
Four Directors of the Southern Historical Collection learned to depend on its curator of manuscripts for her unusual ability at archival work ― in organizing both the manuscripts and the work of the collection. As author of archival procedures, staff coach and mentor, arranger of millions of unprocessed items in the collection and describer of the contents of many of them for scholarly work, a gentle, witty, and warm friend to her colleagues of the collection and to its users and donors, by her generous spirit and unceasing hard work, Anna Brooke Allan was deservingly recognized with a C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award in 1981.