Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Miller (Henry) papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
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.
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.
76.0 linear feet (144 boxes, 2 cartons, 5 shoe boxes, and 15 oversize boxes)
Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other 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.
Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.