John Elvis Miller Papers

MC 1358

Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Shana Zarnowski, 2017.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Miller, John Elvis, 1888-1981
Title
John Elvis Miller Papers
Inclusive Dates
1917-1981
Identification
MC 1358
Extent
6.5 linear feet (7 boxes)
Language
Materials are in English.
Repository
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Restrictions apply. Original vinyl record albums are unavailable. Cassette recordings have been made for research use.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

Papers and materials pertaining to John Elvis Miller were donated to Special Collections by Robert L. Skinner of Fort Smith, Arkansas, on August 23, 1996. Funds for processing the Miller Papers were donated by Judge Miller's former law clerks, including the Honorable Bradley D. Jesson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas, Edgar E. Bethell, Granville T. Harper, Charles R. Ledbetter, Claibourne W. Patty, James E. West, and G. Alan Wooten.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd Everett Lewis, Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas, February 1997.

Preferred Form of Citation

John Elvis Miller Papers (MC 1358), Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

John Elvis Miller (1888-1981), attorney, congressman, U.S. senator, and federal judge, was born near Aid, Missouri, the son of John A. and Mary K. Miller. After receiving his L.L.B. at the University of Kentucky in 1912, he moved to Searcy, Arkansas, and began practicing law. In 1913 he was elected Searcy's city attorney, and in October, 1914, he married Ethel Lucile Lindsey. Together they had two children, Mary Louise and John E. His first wife died in April, 1955, and in December, 1956, he married Ethel Skinner of Fort Smith.

In 1919-1922 Miller served as prosecuting attorney of the First Judicial Circuit of Arkansas; one of his first tasks in this office was the prosecution of African Americans charged in the Elaine Riot cases. A Democrat, he was elected representative from Arkansas's Second Congressional District in 1930, and would continue to serve in that capacity until 1937, when he became a reluctant candidate for U.S. senator. Miller received the opportunity to become senator upon the death of Senator Joseph T. Robinson in July, 1937. Then Arkansas governor Carl E. Bailey, an ardent supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, secured the state Democratic party's nomination through action of the state central committee, which selected Bailey to succeed Robinson but declined to hold a special primary to affirm Bailey's nomination. After several other Arkansas congressmen declined, including John L. McClellan, opponents of Bailey persuaded Miller to run for the senatorial position. Campaigning on a platform denouncing the high-handed manner in which Bailey received his nomination, Miller defeated his opponent in October, 1937, garnering the support of sixty-two of Arkansas's seventy-five counties. Miller served as senator until April, 1941, when President Roosevelt appointed him to the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. As judge for that district Miller received notoriety for his decision in 1956 favoring the gradual integration of Little Rock's public schools; the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Miller's decision. In 1967 he was made a senior U.S. district judge. Declining health stopped him from hearing court cases after 1976, although he remained active in the judiciary as a consultant. He finally resigned his position as federal judge in 1979. Miller died on January 30, 1981.

Additional information on Miller is available in the Special Collections Vertical File (folder labeled "Miller, John E.") and the Judge John E. Miller Collection housed in the Old Fort Museum in Fort Smith.

Scope and Content Note

Papers and materials pertaining to John Elvis Miller. The collection contains correspondence, press clippings, speeches, and other materials highlighting certain periods of Miller life, especially 1937-1941, and from the late 1950s through his death in 1981. The collection's six scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings covering his 1937 senatorial campaign and his career as a U.S. Senator. The collection also includes fifty-eight images, including individual portraits, photographs of formal occasions, and family and recreational snapshots. Especially notable are the fifteen individual images of Miller, which include portraits from almost every stage of his career, from 1917 to the mid-1960s, as well as informal images of Miller in the 1970s.

Related Materials

Records relating to the John Elvis Miller Papers include:

John Elvis Miller (1888-1981) Oral History Interview, MC 279, 1976

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

Box 1

Box 1 Folder 1

Correspondence and Miscellaneous Items, 1937-1942

Box 1 Folder 2

Correspondence and Miscellaneous Items, 1954, 1963-1981

Box 1 Folder 3

Speeches and Campaign Literature

Box 1 Folder 4

Court Docket, 10 June 1966

Box 1 Folder 5

Clippings, 1937

Box 1 Folder 6

Clippings, 1938-1939

Box 1 Folder 7

Clippings, 1970-1981

Box 1 Folder 8

Printed Materials--Miscellaneous Items

Box 1 Folder 9

Printed Materials--University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumni

Box 1 Folder 10

[Honorary degree of] Doctor of Laws, University of Arkansas, 1949

Box 1 Folder 11

University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumni Centennial Award, February 22, 1965

Box 1 Folder 12

Judge John E. Miller Collection Inventory, Old Fort Museum, Fort Smith

Box 1 Folder 13

Audio Recordings: "Political Talk by Congressman John E. Miller," October 6, 1937, 2 cassette tapes, duplicates of Two 33 1/3 recording, October 6, 1937

Box 2 Folder 1

Scrapbook 1: Clippings relating to Miller's Senatorial Campaign, organized county by county, July-October 1937

Box 2 Folder 2

Scrapbook 2: Clippings relating to Miller's Senatorial Campaign, September-October 1937

Box 3 Folder 1

Scrapbook 3: Clippings relating to Miller's Senatorial Campaign, August 1937-October 1937

Box 3 Folder 2

Scrapbook 4: Clippings relating to Miller's Career as Senator, November 1937-December 1939

Box 4 Folder 1

Scrapbook 5: Clippings relating to politics in Arkansas, November 1939-March 1941

Box 4 Folder 2

Scrapbook 6: Clippings relating to Miller's career as Senator and Judge of the Western district of Arkansas, January 1940-February 1941; and campaign speeches from October 1937, January 1940-February 1941; October 1937

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 1

Image 1: Portrait of J.E. Miller, 1917

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 2

Image 2: Portrait of J.E. Miller, ca 1917

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 3

Image 3: Portrait of J.E. Miller

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 4

Image 4: Portrait of J.E. Miller

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 5

Image 5: Portrait of J.E. Miller

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 6

Image 6: Portrait of J.E. Miller, standing (Original OV, stored in Box 6)

Box 5 Folder 1 Item 7

Image 7: Miller packing luggage

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 8

Image 8: Portrait of J.E. Miller, ca 1958

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 9

Image 9: Portrait of J.E. Miller, ca 1958

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 10

Image 10: Portrait of J.E. Miller, ca 1965

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 11

Image 11: Skinner portrait of J.E. Miller (Original OV, stored in Box 6), May1965

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 12

Image 12: Miller seated on stump (Original OV, stored in Box 6)

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 13

Image 13: Miller eating dessert, June 1973

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 14

Image 14: Miller seated at desk, ca 1976

Box 5 Folder 2 Item 15

Image 15: Miller on fishing trip

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 16

Image 16: Democratic Whips and Assistant Whips at White House (Original OV, stored in Box 6), January 11, 1934

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 17

Image 17: Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, U.S. 74th Congress, Washington, D.C. (Original OV, stored in Map Case 3, drawer 7), May 1935

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 18

Image 18: Dinner Party in Honor of Senator Miller, October 9, 1937

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 19

Image 19: Projects Committee, National Rivers and Harbors Congress, January 18, 1938

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 20

Image 20: Miller with Vice President John Nance Garner (center, foreground) and William Driver, former head of the Rivers and Harbors Congress, Washington, D.C., April 5, 1939

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 21

Image 21: Miller with unidentified others, March 10, 1941

Box 5 Folder 3 Item 22

Image 22: Miller with Jerry Scrunton, Secretary in Congress

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 23

Image 23: Miller with John Barnhill

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 24

Image 24: Miller with A.B. Vlereborne, Lancaster, Ohio

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 25

Image 25: Miller with William A. Hollingsworth, ca 1937-1941

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 26

Image 26: Photo of Miller, from Wesley E. Disney

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 27

Image 27: Miller with Ben Cravens, ca 1937-1941

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 28

Image 28: Miller with Arkansas Third Chancery Circuit Court Judge Sam W. Garratt, Garland County Sheriff Will Lowe, and others, ca 1951

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 29

Image 29: Miller with members of the Arkansas State Supreme Court, ca 1955-1956

Box 5 Folder 4 Item 30

Image 30: Judicial Conference (Original OV, stored in Box 6), March 3, 1958

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 31

Image 31: Miller receiving Distinguished Judicial Service Award from the Sebastian County Bar Association, March 24, 1961

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 32

Image 32: Miller speaking, dedication of Dardanelle Lock and Dam, November 11, 1969

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 33

Image 33: Miller with Senator John McClellan, dedication of Dardanelle Lock and Dam, November 11, 1969

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 34

Image 34: Miller with Senator John McClellan, Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt, and Colonel Charles L. Steel, dedication of Dardanelle Lock and Dam, November 11, 1969

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 35

Image 35: Miller with Andrew R. Cecil, President of the Southwestern Legal Foundation, and Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, at meeting of the Southwestern Legal Foundation, Dallas, Texas, May 3, 1973

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 36

Image 36: Miller receiving the Hatton W. Sumners Award from the Southwestern Legal Foundation, Dallas, Texas, May 3, 1973

Box 5 Folder 5 Item 37

Image 37: Miller with officials of the Eastern and Western District Courts of Arkansas, Hot Springs, February 1974

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 38

Image 38: Miller with Justice Harry A. Blackmun, U.S. Supreme Court, dedication of Law School Building,[location unidentified], May 1976

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 39

Image 39: U.S. Judicial Conference, Hot Springs, June 1976

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 40

Image 40: Miller with unidentified others, ca November 1976

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 41-45

Images 41-45: Unveiling ceremony of Miller's portrait for court room, Fort Smith, October 27, 1978

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 46

Image 46: Miller with unidentified others

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 47

Image 47: Miller with Congressman Wright Patman of Texarkana, Texas, Judge Charles McLauglin of Nebraska's North West District Court, and others

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 48

Image 48: Miller with other Arkansas congressmen

Box 5 Folder 6 Item 49

Image 49: Miller with Frank Welder and others

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 50

Image 50: Full portrait of Miller's wife, Ethel, ca 1941

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 51

Image 51: Portrait of Ethel

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 52

Image 52: Full portrait of Ethel (Original OV, stored in Box 6)

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 53

Image 53: Miller with wife

View scan of image

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 54

Image 54: Miller with family members

Box 5 Folder 7 Item 55

Image 55: Miller with unidentified man on fishing trip, Port Aransas, Texas

Box 5 Folder 8 Item 56

Image 56: Unidentified school portrait [Note: Miller is probably on the end of the back row, right side of photo]

Box 5 Folder 8 Item 57

Image 57: Signed portrait of Claude A. Fuller (Original OV, stored in Box 6)

Box 5 Folder 8 Item 58

Image 58: Signed portrait of James N. Farley (Original OV, stored in Box 6)

Box 6 Folder 1

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law, Harding College, Searcy, June 2, 1960

Box 6 Folder 2

Honorary Membership in Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, November 1, 1972

Box 6 Folder 3

Bachelor of Laws Degree, State University of Kentucky, June 6, 1912

Box 6 Folder 4

Attorney's License, State of Arkansas, July 1, 1912

Box 6 Folder 5

OV image Folder (Images 6, 12, 16, 30, 52, 57, 58)

Box 6 Folder 6

OV image Folder (Image 11)

Restriction: These original vinyl record albums are unavailable for use; interested researchers should use the duplicate cassette tapes of these items, stored in Box 1, folder 13.
Box 7 Folder 1

Audio Recordings: "Political Talk by Congressman John E. Miller," Two 33 1/3 recordings, October 6, 1937

END OF COLLECTION

University of Arkansas Libraries
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Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002
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