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Finding Aid for the Henry Miller Papers, 1896-1984, 1930-1980
110  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Henry Miller Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1896-1984, 1930-1980
    Collection number: 110
    Creator: Miller, Henry, 1891-1980.
    Extent: 144 boxes (72 linear ft.) 2 cartons (2 linear ft.) 15 oversize boxes. 5 shoeboxes (2 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Henry Miller (1891-1980) was a prominent American writer and artist. This collection of his personal papers contains correspondence, manuscripts, legal documents, printed materials, film and audio recordings, and original artwork.
    Language: English
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Henry Miller, 1945-1979. Also includes gifts from Bern Porter, Emil Schnellock, Hilaire Hiler, Gerald Robitaille and Barbara Miller, 1945-1988; and miscellaneous manuscript purchases, 1989-1998.

    Processing Note

    The collection was partially processed by manuscripts division staff in the 1960s, with particular attention given to the original correspondence series. The correspondence series, which had been described at the item-level in a local card catalog, was completely rehoused and fully inventoried in 2004 by various staff members in the CFPRT under the direction of Laurel McPhee. The remainder of the collection, including all post-1968 donations, purchases, backlogged material, and deposits was processed by Alysia Cain with assistance from Laurel McPhee in 2005. Books were separated from the manuscript material for individual cataloging and storage in the Special Collections stacks. The collection was fully rehoused and described, and series and subseries levels were imposed to enhance access to the collection and create a finding aid.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Henry Miller Papers (Collection Number 110). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Biography

    Henry Valentine Miller was born December 26, 1891 in Manhattan to Heinrich Miller and Louise Nieting. A year later, the family moved to Brooklyn where Miller spent the majority of his childhood and adolescence. After graduating from high school in 1909, Miller attended the City College of New York for two months before leaving school. Throughout his twenties, Miller had a series of odd jobs, and in 1913 he left New York and traveled west, working briefly in California before he returned home to work in his father's tailor shop. In 1917 Miller married Beatrice Sylvan Wickens, and their first daughter, Barbara, was born two years later. At this time, Miller started working for Western Union Telegraph company where he made his first serious attempts at writing. Miller met June Edith Smith (June Mansfield) at a dance hall in 1923, and they were married in 1924 following a divorce from his first wife. At this time, Miller quit his job at Western Union in order to devote his time to writing, a decision that left him in poverty for much of this period. Miller and June traveled to Europe in 1928. Miller returned to Europe again in 1930 with the intention of living there permanently. He settled in Paris, where he would spend the majority of the next ten years, and immediately began writing Tropic of Cancer. This became his first published book in 1934. In Paris, Miller became involved in the literary and artistic scene, befriending writers and artists such as Alfred Perle's, Michael Frankel, Abraham Rattner, Hans Reichel, and Lawrence Durrell. Miller met Anaïs Nin in 1931, and both a romantic relationship and a lasting literary friendship developed. Miller was divorced from his second wife, June, in 1934. At the invitation of his friend Lawrence Durrell, Miller traveled to Greece in 1939, a trip that inspired his famous work, The Colossus of Maroussi. He was forced to return to the United States in 1940 as a result of the war in Europe. After his return, Miller lived in Los Angeles. During these years, Miller had several watercolor exhibitions in Los Angeles and London and prepared more of his writings for publication. In 1944, Miller married Janina Lepska, a graduate student who he had met on a trip to New York, and the Millers moved to Big Sur that same year. Daughter Valentine was born in 1945, and son Tony was born in 1948. Miller separated from Lepska in 1951. In 1953, Miller and Eve McClure toured Europe together; on their return, Miller and Eve were married. They divorced in 1960. In 1961 Tropic of Cancer was published for the first time in the United States, and censorship battles began. It wasn't until 1964 that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the book was not pornographic. The stateside publication of Tropic of Cancer made Miller famous in the United States, and a steady stream of fans began to visit and write to him at his home in Big Sur. In an attempt to flee the constant attention, Miller moved to Pacific Palisades in 1962 where he lived for the remainder of his life. In 1966, Miller met Hiroko "Hoki" Tokuda, a Japanese nightclub singer. They were married that same year, but Hoki left Miller in 1977. Miller continued to write, but poor eyesight and health problems decreased the frequency. He did, however, continue to produce watercolors until his death. Miller died at the age of 88 on June 7, 1980.

    Scope and Content

    The Henry Miller Papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, printed materials, film, audio recordings, and artwork that document Henry Miller's life and career as a writer and painter. The collection contains a large body of correspondence, primarily from Miller's friends, fans, and members of his artistic and literary circles, including Brassaï, Blaise Cendrars, Lawrence Durrell, Alfred Perle's, Abraham Rattner, Anaïs Nin, Bezalel Schatz, and Jean Verame. Of particular interest are the original manuscripts for many of Miller's books, essays, articles, and reviews that span the whole of his career as a writer, including several early, unpublished manuscripts dating from the late 1920s. The collection also includes a large selection of original watercolors by Miller and artwork given to Miller by friends and prominent artists, including Man Ray, Abram Krol and Gyula Zilzer. Other significant materials include legal documents related to court proceedings involving the publication of Tropic of Cancer, ephemera documenting Miller's publications and art exhibitions, copies of films of or related to Miller, sound recordings of Miller reading from various works including Tropic of Capricorn, and photographs of Miller and his art.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence, 1899-1980 (95 boxes), subseries A-J as follows:
      • 1A. Main correspondence
      • 1B-1J. Deposited correspondence
    2. Manuscripts, 1896-1980 (37 boxes, 2 oversized boxes), subseries A-C as follows:
      • 2A. Literary manuscripts by Miller
      • 2B. Prefaces and reviews by Miller
      • 2C. Manuscripts by others
    3. Microfilm, 1933-1959 (5 shoeboxes)
    4. Photographs, 1891-1978 (1 box, 1 oversized box)
    5. Printed materials, 1937-1984 (14 boxes), subseries A-D as follows:
      • 5A. Ephemera
      • 5B. News clippings
      • 5C. Legal materials
      • 5D. Extracts from periodicals
    6. Artwork, 1931-1980 (9 oversized boxes), subseries A-C as follows:
      • 6A. Original artwork by Miller
      • 6B. Artwork by others
      • 6C. Signed prints and posters
    7. Audio and visual materials, 1944-1973 (1 box, 3 oversized boxes), subseries A-B as follows:
      • 7A. Sound recordings
      • 7B. Films.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Miller, Henry, 1891- --Archives.
    Authors, American--20th Century--Archival resources.
    Artists--United States--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Manuscripts for publication.
    Paintings.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Lawrence, D. H.--(David Herbert), 1885-1930-- Bluebird.

    Related Material

    Books from Henry Miller's library that were originally donated with the papers have been individually cataloged in the UCLA Library online catalog. Records for these items may be found by searching on the keywords, "Henry Miller former owner."