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Inventory of the Joan (London) Miller Papers, 1899-1975, (bulk 1937-1970)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Subject matter
  • Persons represented by 5 or more pieces
  • Important or interesting items
  • Bibliography
  • Printed Items Transferred to Rare Book Department of the Huntington Library

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Joan (London) Miller Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1899-1975, (bulk 1937-1970)
    Creator: Miller, Joan (London)
    Extent: 1,576 pieces. Also: clippings and other printed items.
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Acquired from Ronald Randall, July 28, 1983.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joan (London) Miller Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Joan (London) Miller, born in Oakland, California, on January 15, 1901, was the elder daughter of the author Jack London and his first wife, Bess (Maddern) London. Following graduation from Oakland High School, she attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1921. On February 11 of that same year, in Piedmont, California, Mrs. Miller married Harlan Park Abbott, from whom she was divorced in 1924. On December 20, 1925, in Sacramento, she married Charles Malamuth, a Moscow correspondent for United Press International, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1930. Subsequently, the two were reconciled while in Moscow and they remarried, but they were separated in 1934 and divorced for the second time in 1935. Finally, Joan London married Charles Lortz Miller in April, 1952, and they resided in Berkeley and, later, Pleasant Hill, California, until Mr. Miller's death in August, 1970.
    Mrs. Miller began her writing career early in life and her articles and other writings were published in newspapers and periodicals beginning in the 1920's. A novel, Sylvia Coventry, appeared as a serial in the Oakland Tribune in 1926-1927. In the late 1930's, Mrs. Miller began collecting material about her father in preparation for writing a biography. Through correspondence, she solicited reminiscences from many individuals who had known Jack London and she collected documents as well as clippings and other material relating to his life and work. The resulting biography, Jack London and his Times, was published in 1939 by Doubleday, Doran and Company and reprinted by the University of Washington Press in 1968. Until shortly before her death in 1971, Mrs. Miller had been at work on a book tentatively entitled Visiting Rights Only, which described her childhood and youth in a single-parent home and her feelings toward her absent father. Throughout her life, Mrs. Miller retained an interest in her father and maintained an active correspondence with London scholars and collectors concerning his life and her memories of him.
    In addition to her interest in Jack London, Mrs. Miller held a lifelong sympathy and concern for workers and labor causes. Much of her writing dealt with labor and union issues, and she worked for more than 20 years as the librarian for the California Labor Federation. Following her retirement from this position in 1962, she continued as an activist, writer and speaker on behalf of workers and unions. During the last several years of her life, Mrs. Miller researched and wrote, with Henry P. Anderson, a history of the farm labor movement, entitled So Shall Ye Reap. The book was published on her birthday, January 15, 1971.
    Just a few days later, on January 19, 1971, Mrs. Miller passed away following a battle against throat cancer. She was survived by her younger sister, Bess (London) Fleming, and her son from her first marriage, Bart Abbott, as well as several grandchildren.

    Subject matter

    • I. Correspondence
      • A. Concerning Jack London
        • 1. Reminiscences written in
          Date: 1937-1938
          in letters to Joan (London) Miller by those who knew him (Upton Sinclair, William James Ghent, Alexander Irvine, etc.).
        • 2. Correspondence, primarily in the
          Date: 1960's and 1970's,
          to and from London scholars and collectors (Tony Bubka, James E. Sisson, Hensley Charles Woodbridge, Alfred Samuel Shivers, George Tweney, Franklin Dickerson Walker, etc.).
      • B. Concerning labor (primarily letters between Joan (London) Miller and Henry P. Anderson, and between Mrs. Miller and such organizations as the California Labor Federation.
      • C. Business correspondence, with publishers and agents, including a few documents (contracts, royalty statements).
      • D. Family correspondence.
    • II. Manuscripts
      • A. By Joan (London) Miller
        • 1. Concerning Jack London
          • a. Jack London and his Times: notes and drafts.
          • b. Visiting Rights Only: manuscript and notes.
          • c. Essays, brief studies, and speeches.
        • 2. Concerning William Henry Chaney
          • a. Biography of William Henry Chaney: manuscript and notes.
          • b. W. H. Chaney: A Reappraisal.
        • 3. Concerning labor
          • a. So Shall Ye Reap
          • b. Essays, articles and speeches
        • 4. Miscellaneous and juvenile writings
      • B. By others
        • 1. Jack London scholarship and criticism
        • 2. Reviews of Joan (London) Miller's biography of Jack London, and other writings about Mrs. Miller
        • 3. Miscellaneous (including poems about Jack London, manuscripts by Bart Abbott, etc.)
    • III. Scrapbooks - concerning Joan (London) Miller and Jack London
    • IV. Photographs, particularly of Joan (London) Miller and Jack London.
    • V. Clippings, printed items
      • A. Concerning Jack London (material collected for Mrs. Miller's biography)
      • B. Concerning Joan (London) Miller
      • C. Concerning broken homes, children of famous parents, etc., for Visiting Rights Only.
      • D. Concerning farm workers and labor
    The collection is a valuable resource for research on Jack London, on Joan (London) Miller and on the labor movement in California. There are just two gaps in the collection: the letters from Jack London to Joan (London) Miller, which were acquired by a private collector; and personal and family papers, particularly those which would provide biographical documentation of Mrs. Miller's life.

    Persons represented by 5 or more pieces

    Abbott, Bart
    2 manuscripts, 8 letters, 1 document,
    Date: 1938, 1971, 1969-1971, 1971
    Abbott, Helen
    7 letters,
    Date: 1965-1971
    Anderson, Henry P.
    23 letters, 1 document,
    Date: 1966-1970, 1970
    Arthur, Gavin Chester
    2 manuscripts, 4 letters,
    Date: 1968, 1966-1970
    Bubka, Tony
    5 manuscripts, 53 letters,
    Date: 1966-1968, 1965-1970
    Bykov, Vil Matveyevich
    3 manuscripts, 32 letters,
    Date: 1967-1970, 1964-1972
    Clemens, Cyril
    5 letters,
    Date: 1969-1971
    Cole, Ella
    11 letters,
    Date: 1966-1968
    Cortez, Carlos
    3 manuscripts, 2 letters,
    Date: 1961-1965, 1962-1963
    Crowell (Thomas Y.) Co.
    66 letters, 1 document,
    Date: 1963-1970, 1965
    Doubleday, Doran and Co.
    36 letters, 21 documents,
    Date: 1936-1942, 1937-1942
    Freeman, A. Wallace
    3 manuscripts, 23 letters,
    Date: 1968-1971, 1966-1974
    Fujiwara, Sakae
    5 letters,
    Date: 1969-1972
    Galarza, Ernesto
    25 letters,
    Date: 1962-1971
    Howell (John) Books
    7 letters, 2 documents,
    Date: 1969-1971, 1971
    Jones, Leslie S. A.
    7 letters,
    Date: 1969-1972
    Kettler, Ernestine
    6 letters,
    Date: 1966-1971
    Kingman, Russell
    2 manuscripts, 4 letters,
    Date: 1969, 1968-1976
    Kuntschev, Boschidar
    11 letters,
    Date: 1967-1969
    London, Charmian (Kittredge)
    6 letters,
    Date: 1909-1940
    London, Jack
    54 letters (copies),
    Date: 1900-1916
    Macmillan Co.
    6 letters,
    Date: 1939-1964
    Maddern, Merle
    9 letters,
    Date: 1964-1971
    Malamuth, Charles
    1 manuscript, 8 letters,
    Date: 1965 1964-1965
    Miller, Joan (London)
    100 manuscripts, 186 letters, 5 documents,
    Date: 1917-1971 1931-1970 1938-1971
    Nelson, Eugene
    11 letters,
    Date: 1967-1971
    North, Richard
    7 letters,
    Date: 1965-1971
    Oittinen, Anna
    6 letters,
    Date: 1969-1971
    Paul (Warren) Associates
    10 letters,
    Date: 1963-1965
    Random House, Inc.
    5 letters,
    Date: 1965-1967
    Seltz, Julie Anne (Abbott)
    5 letters,
    Date: 1970-1971
    Shipley, Miriam
    14 letters,
    Date: 1962-1970
    Shivers, Alfred Samuel
    19 letters,
    Date: 1962-1969
    Sisson, James E.
    2 manuscripts, 23 letters,
    Date: 1971 and n.d. 1967-1970
    Turner, Ethel (Duffy)
    7 letters,
    Date: 1968-1969
    Tweney, George H.
    1 manuscript, 33 letters,
    Date: 1968 1966-1971
    Untermann, Ernest
    6 letters,
    Date: 1938-1941
    Walker, Dale L.
    49 letters,
    Date: 1966-1971
    Washington. University. Press
    26 letters, 3 documents,
    Date: 1967-1970 1967-1969
    Weiderman, Richard
    5 letters,
    Date: 1968-1970
    Wing, Willis Kingsley
    5 letters,
    Date: 1951
    Woodbridge, Hensley Charles
    2 manuscripts, 121 letters,
    Date: 1966-1968, 1962-1971

    Important or interesting items

    • Chavez, Cesar E. - letter
      Date: (1967, Oct. 6)
      to Joan (London) Miller briefly mentioning Jack London and a matter relating to farm workers. MI 223.
    • Doubleday, Doran and Co. - correspondence (36 pieces,
      Date: 1936-1942)
      to Joan (London) Miller concerning Jack London and his Times. Mention is made of Irving Stone's biography being written at the same time, and of Charmian (Kittredge) London's response regarding rights and access to papers. MI 342-377.
    • Ghent, William James - correspondence (4 pieces,
      Date: 1937)
      to Joan (London) Miller, mentioning Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Henry Gaylord Wilshire, and the Socialist Party. MI 471-474.
    • London, Jack - copies of correspondence (40 pieces,
      Date: 1899-[1916])
      to Anna (Strunsky) Walling, two of them containing brief annotations by Mrs. Walling. MI 601-640.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - unpublished biography of William Henry Chaney [Jack London's father], and notes. MI 681-683.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - Visiting Rights Only: the Story of Jack London's Relationship with his Daughters; an unpublished manuscript. MI 771 (1-3).
    • Miller, Joan (London) - correspondence with Henry P. Anderson and the Thomas Y Crowell Co. concerning So Shall Ye Reap, a good series between collaborating authors and their publishers:
      • Anderson to Crowell: 7 letters
        Date: (1970).
        MI 44-50.
      • Anderson to Miller: 16 letters
        Date: (1966-1970).
        MI 51-66.
      • Crowell to Anderson: 16 letters
        Date: (1964-1970).
        MI 268-283.
      • Crowell to Miller: 49 letters
        Date: (1963-1970.
        MI 284-332.
      • Crowell to Miller and Anderson: 1 letter
        Date: (1967, Aug. 29).
        MI 333.
      • Miller to Anderson: 17 letters
        Date: (1966-1969).
        MI 777-793.
      • Miller to Crowell: 31 letters
        Date: (1963-1970).
        MI 816-846.
      • Miller and Anderson to Crowell: 5 letters
        Date: (1966).
        MI 960-964.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - letter
      Date: (1967, Nov. 9)
      to Robert Eugene Burke containing much autobiographical information. MI 807.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - letter
      Date: (1966, Sep. 27)
      to James H. Greene containing list of descendants of Jack London. MI 864.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - correspondence (5 pieces,
      Date: 1964-1969)
      to Alfred Samuel Shivers re Jack London, particularly his death. MI 913-916, 918.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - correspondence (4 pieces,
      Date: 1937)
      to Lev Trotskii [Leon Trotsky] re Jack London. MI 924-927.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - scrapbook
      Date: (1938-1940)
      of clippings about Jack London and Joan (London) Miller. MI 1472.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - scrapbook
      Date: (1926-1927)
      of serialized novel, Sylvia Coventry, in the Oakland Tribune. MI 1473.
    • Miller, Joan (London) - scrapbook
      Date: (1902-1965)
      of miscellanea, including clippings about Jack London and other writers. MI 1474.
    • North, Richard - correspondence (6 pieces,
      Date: 1965-1966)
      to Joan (London) Miller regarding the discovery of the Jack London cabin in Yukon Territory. MI 984-989.
    • Sinclair, Upton Beall - correspondence (3 pieces,
      Date: 1937)
      to Joan (London) Miller concerning memories of Jack London. MI 1106-1108.
    • Sterling, George - letter of reference
      Date: (1925, Mar. 5)
      for Joan (London) Miller. MI 1141.
    • Untermann, Ernest - correspondence (6 pieces,
      Date: 1938-1941)
      to Joan (London) Miller concerning Jack London and socialism in the early days of the century. MI 1201-1206.
    • Walling, Anna (Strunsky) - letter
      Date: (1940, Nov. 8)
      to Joan (London) Miller expressing her reaction to Jack London and his Times. MI 1271.


    Contemporary Authors (Permanent Series, volume 2), entry for Joan London.
    London, Joan. Jack London and his Times (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1939; University of Washington Press, 1968).

    Printed Items Transferred to Rare Book Department of the Huntington Library

    California Development Association. Survey of the Mexican Labor Problem in California. c.1928.
    Chaplin, Ralph, Covington Hall, et al. When the Leaves Come Out. Chicago: The Rebel Press, 1934.
    Haldeman-Julius, E. The Son of Wolf Jack London. Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Co., n.d.
    International Literature, no. 2, 1935.
    Jack London Who He is and What He has Done. N.Y.: The Macmillan Co., c.1915.
    London Lore, no. 1 and 2. San Francisco: Jack London Amateur Press Club, n.d.
    Prestridge, Virginia (comp.). The Worker in American Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography. Champaign: University of Illinois Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, 1954.
    St. John, Vincent. The I.W.W. Its History, Structure and Methods. Chicago: I.W.W. Publishing Bureau, 1917.
    Yukon Press, Nov.-Dec., 1966.