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Loren Miller Papers: Finding Aid
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • List of legal Cases Mentioned in Loren Miller Papers

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Loren Miller papers
    Dates: 1876-2003
    Bulk Dates: 1932-1966
    Collection number: mssMiller papers
    Creator: Miller, Loren
    Collection Size: 10,454 items. 72 boxes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of journalist, civil rights activist, attorney and judge Loren Miller (1903-1967). The collection focuses on events taking place in Los Angeles and all of California; New York City and Harlem; Chicago and Detroit, chiefly between the 1930s and 1960s.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English and Russian


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item], Loren Miller Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Loren Miller, Jr., donated in memory of Juanita Ellsworth Miller and Loren Miller in December 2006.

    Biographical Note

    Loren Miller, journalist, civil rights activist, attorney and judge, was born in Pender, Nebraska, in 1903 to former slave, John Miller, and Nora Herbaugh, a white Midwesterner of Dutch ancestry. Miller attended Kansas University and received his law degree from Washburn Law School in Topeka, Kansas in 1928. In 1929, Miller came to Los Angeles where he first worked as editor of the California Eagle, the oldest African American newspaper in Los Angeles, which he purchased in 1951. He also worked for The Los Angeles Sentinel with his cousin Leon H. Washington, Jr. In 1932, Miller and writer Langston Hughes went to the Soviet Union along with other African Americans to make a film on Negro life in Communist Russia. The film never got made. In 1933 Loren married Juanita Ellsworth, a social worker; they had two sons: Loren, Jr. and Edward Ellsworth. Loren passed the bar exam in California in 1933. Miller spent most of his legal career fighting discrimination (he assisted Thurgood Marshall with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas), chiefly housing discrimination and real estate racial restrictive covenants. In 1945 he was the lawyer for African American actress Hattie McDaniel in the Los Angeles "Sugar Hill" housing case, which he won. In 1948 he successfully argued the US Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kraemer; the Supreme Court found that although real estate restrictive covenants were not unconstitutional in and of themselves, any enforcement of a restrictive covenant by a court would be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. He was a member of the Bars in Kansas and California. Miller was a member of and held offices in dozens of organizations including: the NAACP and its national legal committee; American Civil Liberties Union; National Urban League; Los Angeles Urban League; United States Commission on Civil Rights; League of American Writers; National Bar Association; National Conference of Christians and Jews; National Negro Congress; National Lawyers Guild; and the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. In 1964, Miller was appointed to the Los Angeles County Municipal Court. In 1966, Loren wrote The Petitioners: The Story of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Negro. He died in Los Angeles in July 1967.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    General Note
    This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of journalist, civil rights activist, attorney and judge Loren Miller (1903-1967). The collection focuses on events taking place in Los Angeles and all of California; New York City and Harlem; Chicago and Detroit, chiefly between the 1930s and 1960s. The collection contains 10,454 semi-cataloged items and is housed in 72 boxes and 3 oversize folders. The collection contains the following types of material: correspondence, telegrams, postcards, manuscripts, speeches, newspaper and magazine clippings, publications including full magazines, research notes, briefs and other legal documents, brochures, meeting minutes, reports and photographs.
    The following people and organizations are participants in the collection: Sadie Tanner Alexander, American Bar Association, American Federation of Labor, Charlotta Bass, Fletcher Bowron, Tom Bradley, Edmund "Pat" Brown, California Eagle, California Municipal Court (LA County), California Supreme Court, Civil Rights Congress, Nathaniel Colley, Congress of Industrial Organizations, Congress of Racial Equality, Benjamin Davis, Lester Granger, Augustus F. Hawkins, Langston Hughes, Japanese American Citizens' League, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, League of Struggle for Negro Rights, Los Angeles Bar Association, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Urban League, Thurgood Marshall, Meschrabpom Film Company, Henry Lee Moon, Stanley Mosk, NAACP and its Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Bar Association, National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, National Conference of Christians and Jews, National Lawyers Guild, National Urban League, Joel E. Spingarn and the following federal entities: United States Commission on Civil Rights, Fair Employment Practices Committee, Federal Housing Administration, Housing and Home Finance Agency, National Housing Agency, and the Supreme Court as well as Robert C. Weaver, Walter White, Roy Wilkins, Franklin Williams and Whitney Young.
    Subjects in the collection include: Africa, African Americans and other minorities in the United States; African American newspapers; civil rights and civil rights workers; communists and communism both in America and Russia; crime and race; discrimination in many areas including criminal justice administration, employment, housing, law enforcement and public accommodations; gangs; hate crimes; hate speech; inner cities; miscengenation; police brutality and misconduct; poverty; abuse of prisoners; race riots including Chicago, Detroit, Zoot Suit and Watts; racial profiling; slavery and reconstruction and African Americans in American history; real covenants; the Scottsboro case; social work; urban renewal; the United States Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution; James Baldwin; Sammy Davis; Frederick Douglass; Lena Horne, Martin Luther King, Jr.; Jackie Robinson; Thomas J. Mooney; Malcolm X; and African American authors Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, George Schuyler and Jean Toomer.

    The correspondence series, which contains 4,607 items, is mainly made up of correspondence written by and to Loren Miller, both business and personal. It includes letters, telegrams, cards, and postcards (most of the letters by Loren are typed copies that he retained in his office). The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically. Most of the correspondence is business in nature and the folders will also contain manuscripts and documents that accompanied the original correspondence. There is one full box of letters and telegrams to Loren congratulating him on his judicial appointment in 1964, including letters by Johnnie Cochran and Judge Joseph Wapner, and two full boxes of sympathy letters, telegrams and cards to Juanita Miller after Loren's death in 1967 including one by Frank Mankiewicz (press assistant to Robert F. Kennedy).
    Personal Papers

    The personal papers series, which contains 562 items, is made up of material related to Loren Miller's personal life and the Miller, Ellsworth and Gee families. It contains photographs, correspondence, documents, family trees, financial papers, and certificates. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically. The photographs include family photographs and pictures of Loren Miller as a child. Some of the photographs are of Loren Miller's funeral and contain pictures of Tom Bradley and Evelle J. Younger at the funeral. Other people in the photographs are: Lena Horne, Lorne Green and DeFrantz Williams. There are also three full boxes of material related to Loren Miller, Jr. including notes from his law classes at Loyola Law School and several papers by students in a law class he taught.
    Professional Papers

    The professional papers series, which contains 4,213 items, is made up of material related to Loren Miller's professional life including legal work (discrimination cases), civil rights work and his own writing. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically. It contains correspondence, manuscripts, legal documents, briefs, notes, articles, essays, drafts of manuscripts, brochures, meeting minutes, reports, photographs, over 200 speeches, 100 of which are by Loren, and material for Loren's book The Petitioners as well as drafts of and his research and notes for the book. The series also includes material related to Loren's work with the various organizations with which he was affiliated (NAACP, ACLU, Urban League, etc.). There are five full boxes of folders labeled "NAACP" and one box of folders labeled "Urban League." The series also contains some items written by and related to Juanita Miller and her social work in Los Angeles as well as material related to the California Eagle.
    Publications, Magazines and Newspaper Clippings

    The publications, magazines and newspaper clippings series, which contains 1,049 items, is made up of material received or collected by Loren Miller during his lifetime. It contains various publications by organizations (NAACP, etc.), magazines and magazine clippings, journals, programs, printed material, books, newspapers and newspaper clippings. The following publications are included: California Eagle, Chicago Defender, The Crisis, The Daily Worker, Ebony, Jet, Labor Defender, Life, Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Negro Digest, New Masses, The New Republic, New York Amsterdam News and the Pittsburgh Courier. There are several items from after Loren Miller's death including obituaries for him and the announcement of the acquisition of the Langston Hughes Papers by the Huntington Library in 2002.

    The oversize series contains 23 items. It is made up of oversize items including certificates of merit, resolutions honoring Loren Miller and his work, magazines, newspaper clippings, diplomas, panorama photographs, etc.

    The mold series contains the material that had mold on it when the Huntington Library received the collection. The folders have dummy folders in the collection where they would have been located if not for the mold. The items with mold and mold damage have been digitized and are available on the Huntington Digital Library .


    The papers are organized in 6 series following Miller's original organization as much as possible:
    • Correspondence (Boxes 1-16)
    • Personal Papers (Boxes 17-22)
    • Professional Papers (Boxes 23-47)
    • Publications, Magazines and Newspaper Clippings (Boxes 48-55)
    • Oversize (Boxes 56-59)
    • Items with mold (Boxes 1-13).
    The folders in each series are arranged in alphabetical order and then chronologically.
    Due to the original organization of the collection (Miller often put material dealing with several different subjects in the same folder as well as different types of material, i.e. correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, etc.) and with the decision to not take items out of their original folders, some subjects and material types can be found throughout the entire collection and not just in their corresponding series.


    Cataloger’s Notes
    1. The cataloger supplied titles to folders that did not have them and to loose material that was collected and put into a folder (those titles are in brackets). If the title is not in brackets, then it was the original title on the folder created by Loren Miller.
    2. Due to the size of the collection, the subject index is by no means complete. Several subjects such as civil rights, discrimination in housing, the Supreme Court, and African Americans are not included in the index because they are found throughout the entire collection.
    Language: The majority of the collection is in English; there are several items in Russian.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Baldwin, James, 1924-1987.
    Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963.
    Evers, Medgar Wiley, 1925-1963.
    Herndon, Angelo, 1913-1997.
    King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
    Miller, Loren--Archives.
    Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942.
    Spingarn, Joel Elias, 1875-1939.
    X, Malcolm, 1925-1965.
    Young, Whitney M.
    California. Municipal Court (Los Angeles Judicial District)
    California. Supreme Court.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Police Dept.
    United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment.
    United States. Committee on Fair Employment Practice.
    United States. Federal Housing Administration.
    United States. National Housing Agency.
    United States. President's Committee on Civil Rights.
    United States. Supreme Court.
    Meschrabpom Film Company.
    National Bar Association.
    United States Commission on Civil Rights.
    African American authors--Archives.
    African American civil rights workers.
    African American judges--California.
    African American lawyers--California.
    African American newspapers.
    African Americans in the performing arts.
    Civil rights--United States.
    Crime and race--United States.
    Discrimination in criminal justice administration.
    Discrimination in employment.
    Discrimination in housing.
    Hate crimes--United States.
    Inner cities--United States.
    Japanese Americans.
    Jews--United States.
    Journalists--United States.
    Labor laws and legislation--United States.
    Lynching--United States.
    Mass media and minorities.
    Mexican Americans.
    Minorities--United States--Population.
    Police brutality--United States.
    Race riots--United States.
    Racial profiling in law enforcement.
    Real covenants.
    Scottsboro Trial, Scottsboro, Ala., 1931.
    Segregation in education.
    Slavery--United States.
    Socialists--United States.
    Watts Riot, Los Angeles, Calif., 1965.
    Zoot Suit Riots, Los Angeles, Calif., 1943.
    Birmingham (Ala.)
    California--Politics and government.
    Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
    Little Rock (Ark.)
    Los Angeles (Calif.)
    Montgomery (Ala.)
    New York (N.Y.)
    Soviet Union.
    United States--History.
    United States--Politics and government.
    Washington (D.C.)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Annual reports--United States--20th century.
    Clippings--United States--20th century.
    Correspondence--United States--20th century.
    Ephemera--United States--20th century.
    Legal documents--United States--20th century.
    Manuscripts--United States--20th century.
    Minutes--United States--20th century.
    Photographs--United States--20th century.
    Press releases--United States--20th century.
    Research notes--United States--20th century.
    Speeches--United States--20th century.

    Subjects: Added Entries

    Alexander, Sadie Tanner Mossell, 1898-1989.
    Bowron, Fletcher, 1887-1968.
    Bradley, Tom, 1917-1998.
    Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996.
    Colley, Nathaniel Sextus, 1918-.
    Granger, Lester B. (Lester Blackwell), 1896-1976.
    Hawkins, Augustus F.
    Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967.
    Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
    Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968.
    Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993.
    Moon, Henry Lee, 1901-.
    Mosk, Stanley, 1912-.
    White, Walter Francis, 1893-1955.
    Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981.
    Williams, Franklin, 1917-.
    American Civil Liberties Union.
    American Federation of Labor.
    Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.)
    Congress of Racial Equality.
    Japanese American Citizens' League.
    League of Struggle for Negro Rights.
    Los Angeles Urban League.
    NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing.
    National Negro Congress.
    National Urban League.
    California eagle.

    List of legal Cases Mentioned in Loren Miller Papers

    • Abstract Investment Col v. Hutchinson
    • Amer v. Superior Court (LA)
    • Balkins v. Dedmon
    • Banks v. Housing Authority of San Francisco
    • Barnes v. Dow Chemical Company
    • Barnes v. Gadsen
    • Barrows v. Jackson
    • Bartel v. Delotch
    • Bass v. Miller
    • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
    • Briggs v. Elliott
    • Buchanan v. Warley
    • Burkhardt v. Lofton et al
    • Burleigh v. Weakley
    • Carbo et al v. USA
    • Chessman v. California
    • Cohen v. Norris
    • Cooper v. Stubblefield et al
    • Corrigan v. Buckley
    • Crawford v. LA Board of Education
    • Fairchild v. Raines
    • Foxx v. Williams
    • Gallagher v. Municipal Court of LA
    • General Tire Co. of LA v. California Eagle
    • Gerrish v. Palomar Mortgage Co. et al
    • Hardyman v. Collins
    • Hester et al v. Barbe et al
    • Holley v. Southern Pacific Co.
    • Hotchkiss v. Smith
    • Howard et al v. Local 74, Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers
    • Hurd v. Hodge
    • Jackson v. Pasadena City School Board
    • James v. Marinship
    • Johnson et al v. Barefield et al
    • Johnson v. Bacolas
    • Joscelyn v. Board of Fire Commissioners (LA)
    • Keller v. Sacramento City Unified School District
    • Kenyon et al v. Brain et al
    • King v. USA
    • Lampkin v. Hodges
    • Lawson and Trumbo v. USA
    • Lesser v. Lesser
    • Lewis v. Allen
    • Loftus v. Lewis et al
    • Manley v. Murillos
    • Masaoka et al v. People of California
    • McGhee v. Sipes
    • McNeese et al v. Board of Education, Cahokia, Ill.
    • Meade v. Dennistone and Becker
    • Medina v. Constantino
    • Merriweather v. Majestic Cafe
    • Ming v. Horgan
    • Moore v. Dempsey
    • Morgan v. Virginia
    • Mulkey v. Reitman
    • NAACP v. Alabama
    • NAACP v. Button
    • NAACP v. Patty
    • Parrish v. Civil Service Commission (Alameda County)
    • Pennington v. Pennington
    • People of the State of California v. Apo, Boyd et al
    • People of the State of North Carolina v. Adams
    • People v. Adamson
    • People v. Oyama
    • People v. Wallace
    • People v. Winton
    • Perez v. Moroney
    • Perry, McCary v. Cyphers, Furrh et al
    • Plessy v. Ferguson
    • Progress Development Corp. v. Mitchell et al
    • Qualls v. Qualls
    • Rhone v. Case
    • Richter v. USA
    • Riecho v. Allen
    • Romero v. Weakley
    • Shelley v. Kraemer
    • Smith v. Smith
    • Speiser v. Randall and Foley
    • Stanton v. Schmidt
    • State of Texas v. NAACP
    • Steele v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co.
    • Stokes v. Ostly
    • Stovall v. Johnson Publishing Co. Inc.
    • "Sugar Hill" case (McDaniel, Beavers, Waters et al)
    • Tucker et al v. Leeuwer et al
    • Tunstall v. Firemen
    • US v. Dennis
    • Washington v. Southern Pacific Co.
    • Westminster School District v. Mendez
    • White v. Crook
    • Wiley v. Richland Water District
    • Yin Kim vs. Superior Court (LA)
    • Zehman, Wolf et al v. Fazio Realty