Addition to the Appalachian Collection

The Special Collections Research Center has a new collection available for researchers: AC.280: Charles "Chuck" Miller papers. These papers are the personal collection of Charles "Chuck" Allen Miller (1937-2019), a notable professor and author. He attended Swarthmore College (B.A., Political Science, 1959); the University of Freiburg (Fulbright grant: Public law, 1959-1960); and Harvard University (Masters, Public Administration, 1962; Ph.D., Political Science, 1968). He taught law, and his academic career spanned Clark College (1967-1970), Princeton University (1970-1974), and Lake Forest College (1974-1998).



Chuck Miller is at the forefront, photo taken at Grandfather Mountain, 1956

Chuck Miller was raised in a household committed to social justice and the associated responsibility. His father, Morris "Chick" Miller, was a young lawyer who had practiced during the New Deal era and worked for agencies concerned with public housing. Eventually, he became the Chief Judge of the Washington, D.C. Juvenile Court. His mother, Sarah Levy Miller, was a child psychologist and an artist. His brother, Tom Miller, is an author.

Much like his putative ancestor, Vilna Gaon, Chuck Miller was a productive writer, and he took an active role in his archive by preparing life narratives and giving personal context to many documents and ephemera. In his short memoir "Growing up in New Deal Washington," Miller describes the Foreign Service Officers and lawyers who were his parents' friends that left "the most enduring impressions" on him as a child. Miller includes details of their professional and personal lives, enough for readers to interpret the economic and social change-charged environment.

Miller was also influenced by music and the arts; the papers illustrate scholars, artists, composers, and the socially conscious individuals he was surrounded by and whose legacy he continued to carry on. As a child in Washington, D.C., he took music lessons from American composer and folk music specialist Ruth Crawford Seeger. Seeger was the first woman to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to her in 1930, and she worked with the Archive of American Folksong (now the Archive of Folk Culture) to preserve music. He was also a former camper and counselor at Camp Catawba, a camp for Jewish boys that opened in the 1940s by Vera Lachmann. Vera Lachmann was a former Berlin schoolteacher who had opened a school for Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Berlin after they were expelled from public schools. The camp was considered a European-cultured mountain oasis, and campers were taught the classics and music. Tui St. George Tucker, Lachmann's partner and a reputable musician and composer, taught the camp's music lessons. For more information on Camp Catawba, its founder, or its music instructor, consult the complimentary collections AC.214: Camp Catawba and Vera Lachmann papers and AC.940: Tui St. George Tucker papers also held by the Special Collections Research Center. 

Miller had an active role in compiling the camp's papers, and he also wrote the book A Catawba Assembly, in which he collected former campers and counselors' accounts of their memories and time at the camp. The Camp Catawba series in Miller's papers includes his correspondence and research for the book. In addition to telling the story of Camp Catawba, Miller was a prolific correspondent, and a significant portion of his correspondence includes his advocacy for social justice issues or holding companies and corporations responsible for unfair practices. To view either of these collections, request an appointment at the Special Collections Research Center on the fourth floor of the Belk Library at the Boone campus, or for more information, contact | 828.262.4041. 

    - Contributed by Angela Ocuto Howell,  Manuscripts and Archives Processor

Published: Jan 18, 2024 2:15pm