Alice Duer Miller Biography and Bibliography: A Scribbling Woman Who Should Be Remembered

Alice Duer Miller by unknown photographer via Wikipedia / public domain

Alice Duer Miller is a name that in many ways was swept away with the forces of history. Her legacy and voice should not be forgotten; her activism for suffrage combined with her writing career produced important pieces. I will attempt to compile a robust survey of Miller’s works, secondary literature, and her archival materials. This post is not comprehensive, as much of her work continues to resurface with the recent revival of historical suffragettes. If anything, I hope to contribute a starting point for more research.

Biography

Alice Duer Miller had prominent and influential family ties. Miller was born in 1874 on Staten Island and grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey. Her parents, James Gore King Duer and Elizabeth Wilson Meads, were of the founding families of New York City and inherited a tremendous wealth. Her father’s bloodline dates to a president of Columbia College and a signer of the Articles of Confederation. Her taste of wealth was short lived, though, as the family lost its fortune in a bank failure. She went on to study mathematics and astronomy at Barnard College and began her writing endeavors. Selling her essays and poems to widely read magazines like Harpers and Scribner’s helped her afford her studies. Miller graduated in 1899 after she already published her first book with her sister Caroline Duer, Poems, in 1896. Soon after her graduation, she married stockbroker Henry Wise Miller and the two of them moved to Costa Rica until 1903. Upon returning to New York City, she began teaching at Barnard until 1907. Thereafter, financially stable from her husband’s job on wall street and from some success with her works, she became a full-time writer and activist.

Her career was extensive, and it is not well documented. Miller began gaining recognition with a column in the New York Tribune where she released pro-suffrage satirical poems, later being complied into a book titled Are Women People?: A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times (1915). In 1916 she published a novel called Come Out of the Kitchen (1916). Miller and other activists joined the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CUWS), an organization who drew upon methods employed by the Women’s Social and Political Union in Britain. She was also part of a group that came to be known as the Algonquin Round Table, which was a gathering of writers and critics around New York City. She also had a successful role in Hollywood, writing screenplays and even acting. In 1940, Miller published The White Cliffs, a verse novel about World War II, that is arguably her most famous work. There is some debate that the novel encouraged US involvement in the war. The book was adapted to be a film, The White Cliffs of Dover in 1944. Miller died in 1942, but many of her stories lived on as film adaptations.

Biography compiled from the following sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Duer_Miller

https://spartacus-educational.com/Palice_duer_miller.htm

https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/miller-alice-duer

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alice-Duer-Miller

For more on Miller’s life, an extensive biography has been written by her husband:

Miller, Henry Wise, 1877-1955. All Our Lives: Alice Duer Miller. New York: Coward-McCann, 1945.

Bibliography

Miller was a prolific writer who released material steadily throughout her life. This Bibliography focuses mainly on Miller’s novels. It does not include plays and dramas, filmography, adaptations, or articles that she submitted to a plethora of journals and magazines. I have listed some of these magazines below because they are interesting:

  • Saturday Evening Post
  • Putnam’s Magazine
  • Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine
  • Harper’s
  • Scribner’s
  • Pictorial Review
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Ladies’ Home Journal
  • Woman’s Home Companion
  • Colliers
  • New Republic
  • Scholastic
  • Gender Roles: Doing What Comes Naturally
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Literary Digest
  • Century
  • McClure’s

The list above was compiled online located in Catalyst at Johns Hopkins University.

The first editions below were compiled using a host of online databases and searching that include but are not limited to: Wikipedia, WorldCat, Catalyst at JHU, Google Books, and Project Gutenburg.

Poetry and Prose: First Editions

Miller, Alice Duer, and Caroline Duer, Poems. New York: George H. Richmond & Co., 1896.

Miller, Alice Duer. The Modern Obstacle. New York: Scribner, 1903.

Miller, Alice Duer. Calderon’s Prisoner. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903.

Miller, Alice Duer. Less Than Kin. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1909.

Miller, Alice Duer. Blue Arch. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910.

Miller, Alice Duer. Things. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914.

Miller, Alice Duer, Charlotte Harding, and George W Hood. The Burglar and the Blizzard: a Christmas Story. New York: Hearst’s International Library Co., 1914.

Miller, Alice Duer, Are women people?: A book of rhymes for suffrage times. New York: George H. Doran company, 1915.

Miller, Alice Duer. Come Out of the Kitchen. New York:  Grosset & Dunlap, 1916.

Miller, Alice Duer. Women are People! New York: George H. Doran company, 1917.

Miller, Alice Duer, and Paul J Meylan. Ladies Must Live. New York: Century Co., 1917.

Miller, Alice Duer, and Paul J Meylan. The Happiest Time of Their Lives. New York: Century Co., 1918.

Miller, Alice Duer. Wings in the Night, New York: Century Co., 1918.

Miller, Alice Duer. The Charm School. New York, Harper and Brothers, 1919.

Miller, Alice Duer. The Beauty and The Bolshevist. New York, Harper and Brothers, 1920.

Miller, Alice Duer. Manslaughter. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1921.

Miller, Alice Duer. Priceless Pearl. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1924.

Miller, Alice Duer. The Reluctant Duchess. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1925.

Miller, Alice Duer. Welcome Home. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1928.

Miller, Alice Duer. Green Isle. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1930.

Miller, Alice Duer. Forsaking All Others. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1931.

Miller, Alice Duer. Come Out of the Pantry. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1933.

Miller, Alice Duer. Gowns by Roberta. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1933.

Miller, Alice Duer. Death Sentence. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935.

Miller, Alice Duer. The Rising Star. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1937.

Miller, Alice Duer. Not for Love. Dodd, Mead & Co., 1937.

Miller, Alice Duer. And One Was Beautiful. Dodd, Mead & Co., 1938.

Miller, Alice Duer, and Susan Myers. Barnard College: the first fifty years. New York: Columbia University Press, 1939.

Miller, Alice Duer. The White Cliffs. New York, Coward-McCann, inc, 1940.

Miller, Alice Duer. I Have Loved England. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1941.

Secondary Literature

Chapman, Mary. “’Are Women People?’: Alice Duer Miller’s Poetry and Politics.” American Literary History, vol. 18, no. 1, 2006, pp. 59–85.

Chapman, Mary. Making Noise, Making News : Suffrage Print Culture and U.S. Modernism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Morey, Anne. “A New Eroticism or Merely a New Woman? Cecil B. DeMille’s Adaptation of Alice Duer Miller’s ‘Manslaughter.’” Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, vol. 51, no. 2, 2010, pp. 388–403.

Morris, Linda. American Women Humorists : Critical Essays. New York: Garland Pub., 1994.

Archival Holdings

Alice Duer Miller Papers, 1779-1949; Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library, Barnard College. http://collections.barnard.edu/public/repositories/2/resources/355

Duer family papers, 1784-1937; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library. https://findingaids.library.columbia.edu/ead/nnc-rb/ldpd_4078716#using_collection

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