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Miller, Frieda S. Papers of Frieda S. Miller, 1909-1973 (inclusive), 1929-1967 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-37
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Frieda S. Miller
Title: Papers of Frieda S. Miller, 1909-1973 (inclusive), 1929-1967 (bulk)
Date(s): 1909-1973
Date(s): 1929-1967
Quantity: 6.26 linear feet (15 file boxes) plus 13 folders of photographs, 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, photographs, etc., of Frieda Segelke Miller, labor administrator and official.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 55-60, 57-116, 58-72, 917, 1200, 1638, 69-3, 70-19, 70-69, 70-90, 71-5, 71-36, 71-84, 71-98, 72-61, 73-68, 74-179, 75-86, 75-285, 76-293, 77-M170, 78-M35, 78-M109, 78-M214
The papers of Frieda S. Miller were given to the Schlesinger Library by Frieda S. Miller and Pauline Newman between 1955 and 1978. They were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987).

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1979
By: Donna E. Webber

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Frieda S. Miller is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Frieda S. Miller Papers, 1909-1973; item description, dates. A-37, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Additional papers of Frieda S. Miller, 1948-1963 (MC 881); Papers of Pauline Newman, 1900-1980 (MC 324); Additional papers of Pauline Newman, 1926-1982 (83-M191--83-M198); and Papers of Elisabeth Burger, 1880-2013 (inclusive), 1940-2000 (bulk) (MC 868).


Frieda Segelke Miller, labor administrator and official, was born at La Crosse, Wisconsin, on April 16, 1889. Her parents, James Gordon, a lawyer, and Erna Segelke, died when Miller was small, leaving Frieda and her younger sister Elsie to be reared by their grandmother, Augusta (Mrs. Charles) Segelke of La Crosse. Miller received her BA from Milwaukee-Downer College (later Lawrence University), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1911; she then spent four years doing graduate work in economics, sociology, political science, and law at the University of Chicago, but did not complete a degree.
Miller spent the next several years at a variety of jobs, including secretary to the Philadelphia branch of the Women's Trade Union League (1918-1923) where she met her lifelong friend Pauline Newman. In 1929 Frances Perkins appointed Miller director of the Division of Women in Industry and Minimum Wage at the New York State Department of Labor; she was instrumental in the passage of New York's Minimum Wage Law for Women and Minors in 1933. In 1938 Governor Herbert Lehman appointed Miller Industrial Commissioner of New York, a post she held until 1943 when she left to become special assistant for labor to John C. Winant, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Late in 1944 Miller became director of the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor. Her major responsibility was the reintegration of women into the economy after their displacement by veterans returning to their pre-war jobs. She conducted studies to examine labor laws and vocational improvements in the conditions of women in the labor force. A Roosevelt appointee, Miller left the Women's Bureau in 1953 at the request of President Eisenhower.
During the 1950s and 1960s Miller focused on international labor issues. As early as 1936 she had begun representing the United States at International Labor Organization conferences; after leaving the Women's Bureau she went to work full-time for the ILO and conducted several major surveys in Asia and the Middle East of working conditions and opportunities for women and children. For a short period (1957-1958) she also represented the International Alliance of Women at the United Nations.
In the early 1960s Miller became United Nations representative for the European organization the International Union for Child welfare, conducting an International Child Welfare Survey (#227) and participating in various UNICEF projects. She left the United Nations in 1967 at the age of 78.
During her long professional life Miller was affiliated with a number of other organizations concerned with women's role in the economy, including the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the International Council of Women, the Women's Trade Union League, and the International Ladies Garment Worker's Union. She was much in demand both as a speaker and a writer and maintained an international reputation in her field. Her contributions to women and labor were recognized in 1940 when she was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Russell Sage College.
Miller never married, but in 1923 while in Germany she adopted a daughter, Elisabeth. For most of her life she lived in New York, maintaining a summer home in Connecticut and later one in Pennsylvania; she spent the last four years of her life in a New York City nursing home where she died on July 21, 1973.



The Frieda S. Miller collection consists of eight series, each chronologically arranged except where noted. There are some papers from Miller's early life, but most of the collection covers the period 1929-1967.
Series I, Personal, contains biographical information, school notes, and correspondence with family and friends. This material provides only a sketchy source of information about Miller's personal life.
Series II, New York State Department of Labor: A. Director, Division of Women in Industry and Minimum Wage, is a short subseries containing reports and correspondence collected during Miller's first job at the New York State Department of Labor. The material provides some insight into Miller's activities but in general lacks substantive information about her nine years in this position. B. Industrial Commissioner, is an extensive collection of reports, committee papers, and correspondence. Letters and petitions written in support of Miller's nomination to the position suggest her appointment may have been controversial.
Series III, Assistant to United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, record Miller's eighteen months as special assistant for labor during World War II. It is the largest series of the collection and contains a complete file of reports, with a card file index, and a lengthy correspondence file. Series IV, Women's Bureau, documents Miller's nine years as director and contains an extensive correspondence file, numerous reports, conference and committee records, and official statements to Congress.
Series V, International Labor Organization, is a fairly complete record of Miller's long involvement with the ILO. Committee papers describe Miller's role as a United States government-appointed delegate during the 1930s and 1940s. There are preliminary notes and final reports for later Asian and Middle Eastern labor surveys for the ILO, and a brief correspondence file.
Series VI, International Union of Child Welfare representative to the United Nations, is especially notable for the extensive correspondence between Miller and officials at the IUCW. There is some information on IUCW and UNICEF meetings, but this does not seem to be complete. A short subject file provides some indication of Miller's activities at the United Nations.
Series VII, Professional, describes Miller's diverse activities and affiliations with various organizations, including her longtime participation with the International Alliance of Women. The correspondence file sheds further light on her many interests and professional contacts, and the large collection of speeches, radio speeches, and articles by Miller is especially valuable. The clippings document her contributions to women and labor and suggest the extensive coverage her many endeavors received.
Series VIII, Photographs, includes portraits of Miller, pictures taken at work or on trips, and several unidentified photos. Few of the pictures are captioned or described.



Container List

Additional Index Terms

Asia--Social conditions
Child labor--Middle East
Developing countries--Social conditions
India--Description and travel
International agencies
International cooperation
Labor laws and legislation
Labor movement
Labor movement--Great Britain
Middle East--Social conditions
New York (State)--Social conditions
United States--Officials and employees
Women--Employment--Developing countries
Women in public life
Women in the civil service
Abbott, Grace, 1878-1939
Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
American Association of University Women
Beyer, Clara M. (Clara Mortenson)
Bondfield, Margaret, 1873-1953
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 1856-1941
Bunche, Ralph J. (Ralph Johnson), 1904-1971
Burlingham, Charles C. (Charles Culp), 1858-1959
Byrnes, James F., 1906-1972
Carrie Chapman Catt Memorial Fund
Christman, Elisabeth, 1881-1975
Cohn, Fannia M. (Fannia Mary), 1885-1962
Cripps, Isobel, 1891-1979
Dingman, Mary A., 1875-1961
Dodd, Alvin E.
Douglas, William O. (William Orville), 1898-1980
Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982
Edwards, India
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Electrical Association for Women
Elliot, Katherine, 1905-
Frank, Walter, 1882-1969
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965
Goldmark, Josephine Clara, 1877-1950
Goodrich, Carter, 1897-1971
Haslett, Caroline, 1895-1957
Herrick, Elinore Morehouse
Hillman, Sidney, 1887-1946
Hoffman, Anna Rosenberg, 1902-1983
International Alliance of Women
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
International Council of Women
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Labour Organisation
International Union for Child Welfare
Jeffrey, Mildred, 1911-2004
Johnson, Ethel McLean, 1882-1978
Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
Kenyon, Dorothy, 1888-1972
Keyserling, Mary Dublin
La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947
Lenroot, Katharine F. (Katharine Fredrica), 1891-1982
Lehman, Herbert H. (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963
Mayo, Leonard W., 1899-1992
National Association of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
National Committee on Household Employment
National Institute of Houseworkers
National Women's Trade Union League of America
New York. Department of Labor
Newman, Pauline
Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965
Peterson, Esther, 1906-1997
Pickett, Clarence, 1884-1965
Poletti, Charles, 1903-2002
Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987
Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1914-1988
Schneiderman, Rose, 1882-1972
Sichrova, Elizabeth
Stewart, Maxwell S. (Maxwell Slutz), 1900-1990
Strauss, Anna Lord, 1899-1979
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
United Nations
United States. Women's Bureau
Wagner, Robert F. (Robert Ferdinand), 1910-1991
Winant, John C.
Women's Trade Union League of New York
Wood, Ethel Mary
Young Women's Christian Association