Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

Malcolm Miller Papers

Identifier: MS-0308

  • Staff Only

This collection houses correspondence, reviews, programs, photographs, scripts, and other materials documenting Malcolm Miller's work with the University of Tennessee's drama program, his involvement with such Knoxville theaters as the Bijou, the Lyric, and the Tennessee, and his column, "Music and Drama," in the Knoxville Journal.

Series I: Theater Papers (1881-1963 May 17 [bulk 1922 March 20-circa 1939]) houses programs, correspondence, clippings, photographs, and other materials documenting Malcolm Miller's work with music and theater in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sub-Series A shows some of the acts that Miller brought to Knoxville (including Amelita Galli-Curchi and Anna Pavlova and her Russian Ballet) as well as some of the plays that Miller himself acted in or directed. Also included are items documenting drama at the University of Tennessee in the 1920s and 1930s. Sub-Series B houses copies of "Music and Drama" dating from 1939 to 1963 as well as the materials that Miller used to compose these columns. Sub-Series C houses publications discussing theatre but not linked to any particular production or other project.

Series II: Photographs (circa 1920s-1957) contains Miller's extensive collection of celebrity photographs. Autographed images are housed in Sub-Series A and include such prominent figures as Vilma Banky, Rod la Rocque, Amelita Galli-Curchi, Josef Hofmann, Louise Homer, Edna Woolley Lieurance, and Thurlow Lieurance. Unsigned images (many of which Miller apparently received as part of publicity packages) are housed in Sub-Series B and include Warren Beatty, Feodor Chaliapin, the José Greco Spanish Ballet, George DeVine, and David Van Vactor.

Series III: Personal Papers (1925 January 17-1962 October 16) houses correspondence, clippings, programs, manuscripts, and other materials showing Miller's personal life. Of particular interest are the materials documenting Miller's involvement with such civic organizations as the Roundtable Club, the Knoxville Civic Music Association, and the Knoxville Symphony Society.

Series IV: Oversized Materials (1881-1962 November 30, undated) houses all large format items in the collection.


  • 1881-1963 May 17
  • Majority of material found within circa 1920s-1963 May 17

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.


4.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes)


This collection houses correspondence, reviews, programs, photographs, scripts, and other materials documenting Malcolm Miller's work with the University of Tennessee's drama program, his involvement with such Knoxville theaters as the Bijou, the Lyric, and the Tennessee, and his column, Music and Drama, in the Knoxville Journal.

Biographical/Historical Note

Malcolm Edward Miller was born to Edward and Evelyn (Hewat) Miller in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were both British subjects and had been visiting Evelyn Miller's brother in Canada just prior to Malcolm's birth. On Christmas Day, Evelyn Miller went to visit a friend working as a nurse at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. During a Christmas program in the hospital auditorium, the candles lighting the trees started a fire that killed 26 and injured many more. Evelyn Miller was trampled and not found until two days later. Malcolm Miller was born on December 29, 1885 while his mother was still unconscious.

After Malcolm's birth the family returned to Britain, where Edward Miller died of typhoid fever when his son was very young. After her husband's death, Evelyn Miller moved herself and her son to Philadelphia, where Malcolm Miller studied at the Henry Ludlam School of Dramatic Art. After he graduated, his mother suggested that he find a career that he could fall back on if acting proved unfeasible. Thus, Miller began working in the lumber business in North Carolina and Michigan. During his time in Michigan, he met and married gifted soprano Eva Elizabeth Putnam (1885-1970) and the couple had two children, Elizabeth (Miller) Moore (1914-1976) and Margaret (Miller) Salter (1919-1999).

The Miller family settled in Knoxville in 1918, where Malcolm Miller worked with the Frampton-Foster Lumber Company buying railroad crossties before becoming a lumber broker. Although he followed this career for the rest of his life, his first love remained the theater. He brought a number of prominent acts to Knoxville during the early 20th century (including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ignace Jan Paderewski, and Amelita Galli-Curchi), directed the University of Tennessee's Tennessee Players, acted in a number of productions, and managed such theaters as the Bijou, the Park, and the Tennessee. Miller was also a prolific music critic, writing a column called Music and Drama for the Knoxville Journal from 1922 until his death. In addition to his work with the theatre, Miller involved himself in the community. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club (and indeed held a record for perfect attendance) beginning in 1925 and worked with such organizations as the Knoxville Civic Music Association and the Knoxville Symphony Society. Malcolm Miller was killed in a car accident on the Maryville Bypass (US 129) on May 21, 1963 and is buried in the Highland Memorial Cemetery.


This collection consists of seven boxes divided into four series:

  1. Series I: Theater Papers,1881-1963 May 17 (Bulk 1922 March 20-circa 1939)
    • Sub-Series A: Productions that Malcolm Miller or his Family Participated in, 1922 March 20-1960 December 1 (Bulk 1922 March 20-circa 1939)
    • Sub-Series B: Music and Drama Columns and Supporting Materials, 1881-1963 May 17
    • Sub-Series C: Publications and Catalogs, 1922-1963 February 11
  2. Series II: Photographs, circa 1920s-1957
    • Sub-Series A: Autographed Images, circa 1920s-1957
    • Sub-Series B: Unsigned Images, 1940-1962
  3. Series III: Personal Papers, 1925 January 17-1962 October 16
  4. Series IV: Oversized Materials, 1881-1962 November 30, undated

Acquisition Note

Malcolm Miller's estate donated these papers to Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA