• Identification00065353
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Edgar Miller papers, circa 1868-1989, bulk 1924-1989
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • Language
    • English.
    • English
    • French
    • German
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationEdgar Miller
  • Date
    • 1868-1989
    • 1924-1989
  • Physical Description30 linear feet (62 boxes), including 1 oversize box
  • LocationMSS Lot M

Processed with funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

This collection is open for research use.

All rights owned by the donor, including copyright, were deeded to Chicago Historical Society. Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Most of the collection was a gift of Frank Miller (accession #: 1993.0322).

Edgar Miller papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Sketchbooks, reference material, press clippings, correspondence, exhibit programs, and other papers of Edgar Miller, a Chicago artist, architect, and interior designer. A majority of the sketchbooks contain pencil or black ink drawings, many of which are abstract forms or faces. Reference material includes published books and loose images annotated with Miller's comments and sketches of geometric lines, circles, and arcs to explore artists' use of space. Also present are Miller's manuscripts on art appreciation and personal memoirs and a few art reference books from the 19th century that Miller owned but did not annotate.

Edgar Miller was a Chicago artist, architect, and interior designer. Miller attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and worked in various mediums including drawing, sculpture, mural, mosaic, fresco, watercolor, mixed-media, ceramics, woodcuts, and stained glass. Miller was best known for his work in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, particularly the Carl Street Studios he co-designed and established with fellow artist Sol Kogen. Much of his commissioned work was created during the 1920s-1940s.

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include a portrait of Edgar Miller and the book, "Edgar Miller and the handmade home" [Call# NK2004.3.M55].

  • NamesMiller, Edgar, 1899-1993--Archives
  • Subject
    • Architects--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Artists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Designers--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Buildings, structures, etc.--20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Intellectual life--20th century
    • Lincoln Park (Chicago, Ill.: Community area)
    • Near North Side (Chicago, Ill.)
    • Old Town (Chicago, Ill.)

The collection is arranged in five series.

Series 1. Sketchbooks, ca. 1930-1980 (box 1-24, oversize box 25)

Series 1 consists of Miller's personal sketchbooks. A majority contain pencil or black ink drawings, many of which are abstract forms. Drawings of faces, particularly of elderly people, are also found throughout the sketchbooks.

Series 2. Annotated art books, undated (box 26-47, oversize box 25)

Series 2 consists of art textbooks annotated by Miller. Annotations include geometric lines, circles, and arcs which Miller used to explore artists' spatial planning. The books also include Miller's criticisms in the margins. Some of the books have missing pages and images.

Series 3. Annotated images, undated (box 48-52, oversize box 25)

Series 3 contains reproductions of paintings cut from art books and annotated by Miller with geometric lines, circles, and arcs to explore spatial relations. Images also include Miller's explanatory comments on artists' spatial planning.

Series 4. Biographical materials, 1917-1989 (box 53-56)

Series 4 contains correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, magazines, photographs, awards, and other papers relating to Miller's personal and professional life. Also included are exhibit posters, handwritten and typed manuscript drafts on art appreciation, and Miller's memoirs. The newspaper articles are largely about Miller and his artwork. The correspondence consists of 4 letters to the Chicago Tribune and to the Chicago Historical Society in which Miller recalls experiences in Chicago, such as working with Ben Hecht on a short-lived newspaper. Letters also address the similarity between an ancient satanic symbol and a symbol used in the "ban the bomb" campaign launched by nuclear protestors.

Series 5. General materials, ca. 1868-1980 (box 56-58d)

Series 5 contains posters, newspaper advertisements, loose drawings and sketches, and programs from other artists' exhibitions and lectures. Also present are reference books published in the late nineteenth century (boxes 58a-58d) on art history, illuminated manuscripts, and human anatomy. Several of the books are written in German and French. Miller owned these books but did not annotate them.