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Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970. Papers of Emma Guffey Miller, 1833-1975 (inclusive), 1884-1972 (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

The papers were reprocessed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987) in 1979, and were again reprocessed in 1991 by Bert Hartry, and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-36
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970
Title: Papers of Emma Guffey Miller, 1833-1975 (inclusive), 1884-1972 (bulk)
Date(s): 1833-1975
Date(s): 1884-1972
Quantity: 3.63 linear feet (3 cartons, 1 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 2 folio+ folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 2 oversize folders)
Abstract: Correspondence of Emma Guffey Miller, Democratic Party leader.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 57-8, 57-32, 58-3, 58-63, 51, 114, 289, 379, 667, 834, 892, 1239, 1501, 70-83, 71-100, 72-74, 77-M113, 77-M188, 81-M248, 91-M169
The Emma Guffey Miller papers were given to the Schlesinger Library between November 1956 and November 1968 by Emma Guffey Miller. Additional materials were given in June 1970, August 1971, November 1977, and October 1981 by William Miller; in July 1972 by Edgar Grim Miller; in August 1977 by Michael Ochs; and in October 1991 by Cathy (Miller) Crocker and Alexander Miller.

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: June 1979
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Access Restrictions:


Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Emma Guffey 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:

Emma Guffey Miller Papers, 1833-1975; item description, dates. A-36, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Emma (Guffey) Miller, Democratic Party leader, was born Mary Emma Guffey at Guffey Station, Pennsylvania, on July 6, 1874, the daughter of Barbaretta (Hough) and John Guffey. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with an A.B. in history and political science in 1899. While traveling in Japan (1902) she met and married Carroll Miller (1875-1949). Miller's letters to her family (see #6-8) recount their courtship and marriage and the birth of their first child, William Gardner Miller, III. Twin sons, John Guffey and Carroll Jr., were born in 1908, son Joseph F. in 1912.
Active politically since her college days, Miller campaigned for Democratic candidates in 1920; in 1924 she was elected a delegate to the national convention, where, in a seconding speech for Alfred E. Smith (see #136), she appealed for religious tolerance and denounced the Ku Klux Klan. As a result, Miller received one-half vote for the presidential nomination, the first woman ever to do so. She helped organize the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women, and spoke out for prohibition reform; her advocacy of disarmament forced her resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1932 she was elected Democratic National Committeewoman from Pennsylvania, a post she held until her death. During the 1930s and 40s she also served as official hostess for her brother, Joseph F. Guffey, United States Senator from Pennsylvania (1935-1947). Miller remained in the background of political life, never running for nor accepting public office herself, though she felt strongly about women's right to do both. She was an active member of the National Woman's Party (Chairman, 1960-1965, and Life President, 1965-1970), and an outspoken advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Miller died of a heart attack on February 23, 1970, and is buried with her husband in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
More biographical information is available in this collection (see Series I). See also Notable American Women: The Modern Period (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), which includes a list of additional sources. Miller also gave papers to the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Library (Pittsburgh) and the Slippery Rock State College Archives.


The collection is arranged in four series:


The papers provide some information about Emma Guffey Miller's college education, the Guffey family (especially her brother, Senator Joseph F. Guffey), her husband, Carroll Miller, her sons, and her travels. They document her many interests and volunteer activities: Democratic Party politics on the local, state, and national levels, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee, Slippery Rock State College, the National Woman's Party and the Equal Rights Amendment, the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform, Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. The correspondence (Series II) also provides documentation of anti-Catholicism (see #39, 88, 92-93), politics at Slippery Rock State College, and political favors and patronage during the 1950s and 60s. There is almost no information about her family or her personal life (childhood, adolescence, and her marriage after 1907).
Series I, Personal and biographical (#1-33), includes the following in the order listed: certificates, Bryn Mawr College material, short Miller biographies, lists from her social life in Washington, D.C., printed excerpts of her letters to her family, 1901-1907, Guffey and Miller family material, photographs, and clippings about Miller.
Series II, General correspondence, (#34-131), makes up the bulk of the collection, and is arranged chronologically. Letters found grouped by subject or by individual were kept together and placed chronologically on the basis of the earliest item in each group. Some enclosures referred to in the letters are missing. Many prominent politicians and a variety of organizations wrote to Miller; not all are included in the added entries; researchers should therefore refer to the index in the printed guide. Invitations and programs are in a separate chronological sequence at the end of the series (#117-131).
Series III, Speeches and writings (#132-157), is divided into two sections. Miller's speeches concern mainly prohibition reform, party politics, and the Equal Rights Amendment; they are arranged chronologically. The writings fall into six categories, each arranged chronologically: poetry, articles, Miller's Washington column, plays, miscellaneous, and writings by others.
Series IV, Organizations and boards (#158-181f+), is divided into two sections. The first contains reports, minutes, photographs, and proceedings, and is arranged chronologically by organization (i.e., according to the earliest item in each group). The second section consists of memorabilia, including membership cards, buttons, etc., and is arranged by category (and chronologically within each category) in the following order: handmade items, membership cards, Democratic National Conventions, Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women, Democratic Party candidates and committees, miscellaneous. A portion of the miscellaneous items are in box 5.
Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.



Container List

Additional Index Terms

Anti-Catholicism--United States
China--Description and travel
Dairy farmers--Pennsylvania
Equal rights amendments
Family records
Hate mail
Japan--Description and travel
New Deal, 1933-1939
Patronage, Political--Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania--Politics and government--20th century
Politics, Practical--United States
Prohibition--Repeal of legislation
Public officers--Pennsylvania
United States--Politics and government--20th century
Voyages and travels
Women--Political activity--United States
Women's rights--United States
Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989
Armstrong, Florence A. (Florence Arzelia), 1884-1962
Avery, Nina Belle Horton
Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956
Blatt, Genevieve, 1913-1996
Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986
Breckinridge, Sophonisba Preston, 1866-1948
Bryn Mawr College
Burns, James MacGregor
Carpenter, Liz
Clark, Frank Monroe, 1915-2003
Clark, Joseph S.
Cross, Wilbur L. (Wilbur Lucius), 1862-1948
Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948
Daughters of the American Revolution
Democratic National Committee (U.S.)
Democratic National Committee (U.S.). Women's Division
Democratic Party (Pa.)
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962
Dirksen, Everett McKinley
Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania
Edwards, India
Farley, James A. (James Aloysius), 1888-1976
Forrest, Wilbur
Furness, Betty, 1916-1994
Granaham, Kathryn Elizabeth, 1896?-1979
Green, Theodore Francis, 1867-1966
Guffey family
Guffey, Joseph F., 1870-1959
Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986
Hayden, Carl Trumbull, 1877-1972
Hill, Lister, 1894-1984
Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978
Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-2007
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Johnson, Mordecai W. (Mordecai Wyatt), 1890-1976
Kefauver, Estes, 1903-1963
Kennedy, Ethel, 1928-
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
Keyes, Frances Parkinson, 1885-1970
Keyserling, Mary Dublin
Krock, Arthur, 1886-1974
Lausche, Frank John, 1895-1990
Loines, Hilda
Louchheim, Katie, 1903-1991
Lucy Stone League, Inc.
Lutz, Alma
Mann, Alexander, 1860-1948
Marks, Jeannette Augustus, 1875-1964
Matthews, Burnita Shelton, 1894-1988
McAllister, Dorothy S.
McBride, Mary Margaret, 1899-1976
McCormack, John W., 1891-1980
Mesta, Perle, 1889-1975
Meyer, Agnes Elizabeth Ernst, 1887-1970
Miller, Carroll, 1875-1949
Miller family
Miller, Frieda S.
National Woman's Party
Norton, Mary Teresa, 1875-1959
Owen, Ruth Bryan, 1885-1954
Parisi, Angela R., 1914-1961
Paul, Alice, 1885-1977
Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women
Pepper, Claude, 1900-1989
Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965
Peterson, Esther, 1906-1997
Pinchot, Cornelia Bryce, 1881-1960
Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975
Price, Margaret, 1912-1969
Putnam, William Lowell, Mrs., 1862-1935
Ralston, Cameron
Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961
Republican Party (Pa.)
Robb, Inez
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Ross, Nellie Tayloe, 1876-1977
Sabin, Pauline Morton
Scandrett, Richard B., Jr., 1891-1969
Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007
Sharpe, Mary Elizabeth, 1884-1985
Slippery Rock State College--Administration
Sloan, Grace McCalmont
Smith, Alfred Emanuel, 1873-1944
Smith, Corinna Lindon, 1876-1965
Smith, Margaret Chase, 1897-1995
St. George, Katharine
Starrett, Agnes Lynch
Stevens, Doris, 1888-1963
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965
Thomas, M. Carey (Martha Carey), 1857-1935
Truman, Bess Wallace
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
United States. National Recovery Administration
United States. National Youth Administration
United States. Work Projects Administration
Varallo, Mary A.
Wagenhorst, Lewis H.
Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965
Wallace, Ilo Browne
Weisenfluh, Norman Naegeli, 1899-1976
Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988
Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt, 1872-1961
Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights
Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform
Women's Universal Movement
Woodward, Ellen S. (Ellen Sullivan)
World Woman's Party