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MS Am 2653

Miller, Dickinson Sergeant, 1868-1963. Dickinson Sergeant Miller papers, 1915-1980: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Am 2653
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Miller, Dickinson Sergeant, 1868-1963.
Title: Dickinson Sergeant Miller papers,
Date(s): 1915-1980.
Quantity: 1 collection (2.5 linear feet (6 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Papers of American philosopher Dickinson Sergeant Miller, including papers about Miller assembled by Loyd David Easton and also those of Charles Larrabee Street.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

75M-117. Gift of Miss Constance Worcester, 186 Marlborough Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116, courtesy of Professor Loyd David Easton, Department of Philosophy, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio 43015; received 1975 July. Miller's original papers were lent to Easton by Miss Worcester during Easton's work on book about Miller. [See Curatorial file for additional information].
93M-169. Gift of Professor John C. Street, 8313 State Highway 19, Cross Plains, Wisconsin 53528-9317; received: 1994 May 31. John C. Street's father was Charles Larrabee Street (1891-1968). [See Curatorial file for additional information].

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt
Part of the MS Storage project, 2008-2009.
Papers are in very fragile condition, on highly acidic paper.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Dickinson Sergeant Miller Papers, 1915-1980 (MS Am 2653). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Dickinson Sergeant Miller (1868-1963) was a professor of philosophy and a writer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Elihu Spencer Miller (1817-1879) and Ana Emlen Hare Miller. In 1885 he graduated from Episcopal High School in Philadelphia and in 1889 received an A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania. He entered Clark University in 1889, but withdrew the next year to enroll in Harvard University where he was influenced by his friend and mentor William James. He also studied under Josiah Royce, George Santayana, and George Herbert Palmer. He received an A.B. and A.M. in 1892 from Harvard, then went abroad to study in Germany at Berlin and Halle. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Halle in 1893. The dissertation, entitled: Dad Wesen der Erkenntnis und des Irrthums, was published in 1893 as The meaning of truth and error.
Miller returned to the United States and became an associate in philosophy at Bryn Mawr in 1894. Here he developed a partially paralyzing illness that plagued him his entire life ("crippling neurasthenia"). In 1899 he was appointed an instructor at Harvard where he became increasingly critical of William James' thought. Miller left Harvard to teach at Columbia University from 1904-1919. In addition to his professorship at Columbia, from 1911-1924 he was a professor of Christian apologetics at the General Theological Seminary, and became an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church. From 1924-1926 he taught philosophy at Smith College, then began a period of "European retirement", mainly in Vienna and Florence, where he met with the Vienna Circle and others and wrote and published various philosophical articles. In 1934 he returned to Boston and began his "American retirement" period, continuing to write and publish, as much as his chronic ill health would allow, until his death in 1963. Miller never married. [Source: Loyd David Easton "Miller, Dickinson Sergeant" American National Biography Online, February 2000].
Other individuals associated with these papers are:


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Includes Miller's correspondence, autograph manuscript compositions (primarily drafts), notes, and a few items of biographical interest. Correspondents include Edgar Sheffield Brightman, Roderick M. Chisholm, Curt John Ducasse, Loyd David Easton, E. Spencer Miller, Charles Larrabee Street, and many others. Also includes many notes and letters about Miller.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

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