Guide to the J. Howard Miller papers, 1891-1946

J. Howard Miller C0228

Published by George Mason University Libraries

Contact Information:

Fenwick Library (2FL)

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444


Phone: (703) 993-2220

Fax: (703) 993-8911



Descriptive Summary

Repository George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center
Creator Miller, J. Howard
Title J. Howard Miller papers
Date 1891-1946
Physical Characteristics 2.5 linear feet (6 boxes)
Abstract The J. Howard Miller papers consist of scrapbooks and folders containing newspaper clippings, programs, photographs, telegrams, and other pieces of ephemera, most of which are related to Federal Theatre Project productions in Los Angeles, San Diego, Padua Hills, and Denver. Also included is correspondence to and from Miller and employee identification cards.
Collection Number C0228
Language English

Biographical Information

Born on April 3, 1908 J. Howard Miller was a former actor and stage manager. He worked with the Federal Theatre Project as the Regional Director in the west, and later the Deputy National Director of the Federal Theatre Project.

The Federal Theatre Project was a division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which provided employment for large numbers of artists, writers, and performers during the Great Depression (1929-1939). The Federal Theatre began in 1935 and, until its end in 1939, flourished as the first and only federally sponsored and subsidized theater program in the United States. Directed by Hallie Flanagan (1880-1969), it was a way for theatrical professionals to gain employment during the Depression.

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Scope and Content

The J. Howard Miller papers contain eleven scrapbooks created by Miller. Scrapbooks are compiled around a location or play: one has general newsclippings about the Federal Theatre Project and the WPA, three are for productions from the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, two are for productions from the Savoy Theatre in San Diego, one is for the State Emergency Relief Administration (SERA), one covers the Federal Theatre unit in Denver, one covers the play It Can't Happen Here in it's many locations of production. There are also two scrapbooks for materials that did not originate with the Federal Theatre Project, one of these is filled with programs collected by Miller and the other is material from the Padua Players theatre group where Miller worked before joining the Federal Theatre. Also included in this collection is one folder of photographs featuring Federal Theatre sets and actors, and three folders with correspondence, miscellaneous newspaper clippings, and employee related material.

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This collection is arranged alphabetically by title.

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Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

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Related Material

The Works Progress Administration oral histories collection, the Federal Theatre Project collection, the Federal Theatre Project photograph collection, as well as numerous other personal papers.

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Index Terms

Corporate Names:

Federal Theatre Project (U.S.)


New Deal, 1933-1939.
Theater--United States.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

J. Howard Miller personal papers, Collection #C0228, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Donated to Special Collections Research Center by J. Howard Miller on April 12, 1979.

Processing Information

Processing and EAD markup completed in November 2012 by Greta Kuriger Suiter.

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Contents List

J. Howard Miller papers, 1891-1946
4 Federal Theatre personal employment papers, 1938-1940
Includes correspondence to and from Miller from and to a multiple of peoples, a letter to Hallie Flanagan from Miller while he was in Seattle, correspondence from Flanagan, as well as memorandums, telegrams, an issue of Federal Theatre magazine, and payroll information.
Miscellaneous photographs and programs, 1936-1939
Includes programs for productions of Plantation Days, Class of '29, Pursuit of Happiness, It Can't Happen Here, Blind Alley, Rachel's Man, Ten Minute Alibi, The Royal Family, Brothers, Help Yourself, Old Autumn. Includes one photograph of an empty stage from a production of Johnny Johnson, and one photograph of Hallie Flanagan and husband Phillip Davis sitting in a car together at Vassar.
Newspaper clippings and personal documents, 1938-1946
Includes newspaper clippings about the Federal Theatre Project and the WPA in general, as well as an issue of Food Field Reporter from 1943. Personal documents include reassignment slips, and a permit to depart the United States in 1946 and reside in Canada.
3 Photographs, 1936-1939
Photographs of Federal Theatre Project productions. Photographs are of empty stages sets or performing actors on stage. Plays include: The Merchant of Venice; Uncle Vanya; The Warrior's Husband; Green Grow the Lilacs; House of Connelly; Mary Stuart; The Devil Passes; Purple is as Purple Does; Noah; It Can't Happen Here; Censored; Rachel's Man; Johnny Johnson; Revue of Reviews; Follow the Parade; Triple A Plowed Under; Blind Alley; The Nativity; Black Crook.
6 Poster for John Houseman lecture undated
3 Scrapbook, Articles on Federal Theatre, 1935-1937
Scrapbook containing articles about the Federal Theatre Project from various magazines and newspapers.
1 Scrapbook, Denver, 1936-1939
Scrapbook contains programs, memorandums, and photographs from plays performed by the Denver unit. Contents have been removed from the original scrapbook and refoldered. Folder is separated and in box 4. Plays include: Censored; Rachel's Man; The Squall; Pursuit of Happiness; Criminal at Large; Me Third; If Ye Break Faith; The Animal Kingdom; Parents and Pigtails; Squaring the Circle; The Milky Way; Post Road; Cinderella; Know Your Onions; Lady of Letters; It's a Wise Child; Excursion; Hell Bent for Heaven; Help Yourself; Mystery of the Boardwalk Asylum; The Warrior's Husband. Also included is a small catalog titled Fashion Tops by Bonnie Frocks.
3 Scrapbook, It Can't Happen Here, 1936
Scrapbook containing programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings relating to the numerous productions of the play It Can't Happen Here.
1 Scrapbook, Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, 1936-1939
Scrapbook includes photographs, posters, programs, and newspaper clippings for Voodoo Macbeth, Pursuit of Happiness, Gods of the Lightning, The World We Live In, Miss Quis, The Weavers, Ready! Aim! Fire!, Days Without End all performed at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles.
Scrapbook, Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, 1936-1939
Scrapbook contains programs, flyers, posters, photographs, and other ephemera from productions at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles. Productions include: Under Two Flags; Black Empire; Miss Clementina Clutterbuck; Censored; Follow the Parade; If it Please the Court; Chalk Dust; The Mystery of the Boardwalk Asylum; Noah; Triple A Plowed Under; The Black Crook; John Henry; It Can't Happen Here (at the Figueroa Playhouse); It Can't Happen Here; It Can't Happen Here (at the President Theatre aka The Orpheum in Seattle); The Warrior's Husband (at the Hollywood Playhouse); The Nativity (St. Josephs Church); Green Grow the Lilacs; Roaring Girl; The House of Connelly; Blind Alley; Tomorrow's A Holiday; Johnny Johnson.
Scrapbook, Mason Theatre in Los Angeles, 1936-1939
Scrapbook containing mostly programs for shows performed at the Mason Theatre (and Mason Opera House) at 127 South Broadway in Los Angeles. Productions include: The Octoroon; Our American Cousin; A Texas Steer; 7th Heaven; Turn to the Right; The Bat; Cradle Snatchers; Smilin' Through; Potash and Perlmutter; The Whole Town's Talking; Laff That Off; Madame X; Three Wise Fools; Vaudeville Frolic; The Fool; Old Autumn; East is West; The Goose Hangs High; What Anne Brought Home; Ladies of the Jury; Habit; Revue of Reviews; The Merchant of Venice; Help Yourself; Ah, Wilderness!; Boy Meets Girl; Dracula; Counsellor-at-Law; Accent on Youth; The Pursuit of Happiness; Brothers; Why Men Leave Home; Night Must Fall; What a Woman Wants; Mary's Other Husband; The Bishop Misbehaves; The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse; To The Ladies!; The Milky Way; The Alarm Clock. Also included are two costume design watercolor drawings.
2 Scrapbook, Savoy Theatre in San Diego, 1936-1939
Scrapbook containing programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings for productions at the Savoy Theatre in San Diego. Productions include: Counsellor-at-Law; Arms and the Man; Accent on Youth; The Ship; Alice in Wonderland; Ah, WIlderness!, Why Men Leave Home; The Last Warning; New Brooms; Night of January 16th; One Sunday Afternoon; The Bishop Misbehaves; To The Ladies!; What a Women Wants; Squaring the Circle; Judgment Day; The Milky Way; I Want a Policeman; The Very Great Man; Post Road; The Camel Through the Needle's Eye; Lady of Letters; Night Must Fall; Little Women; Meteor; A Bill of Divorcement; The Ninth Guest; Penny Wise; It Might Happen to You; American Family Robinson; That's My Wife; Penny Wise; Is Zat So; The Queen's Husband; Vaudeville Frolic.
Scrapbook, Savoy Theatre in San Diego, 1936-1939
Scrapbook contains programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera from productions performed at the Savoy Theatre in San Diego. Plays include: The First Mrs. Fraser; The Wild Duck; The Romantic Young Lady; Secret Service; Lightnin'; Three Wise Fools; Whistling in the Dark; Turn to the Right; Big Hearted Herbert; The Ghost Train; Take My Advice; Double Door; Cradle Snatchers; The Girl of the Golden West; Up Pops the Devil; Out of the Night; Is Zat So; The Fool; The Silver Cord; Ladies of the Jury; Blind Alley; The Mad Hopes; Tommy; Rachel's Man; The Wisdom Tooth; Oliver Oliver; Candle-Light; Another Language (program and newspaper clippings); The People's Choice; Hell Bent for Heaven; The Dover Road; Saturday's Children; Anna Christie; Boy Meets Girl.
Scrapbook, State Emergency Relief Administration (SERA), California, 1936-1939
Scrapbook containing programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, telegrams and memorandums relating to plays performed by the Drama Project of the State Emergency Relief Administration. Plays include: As You Like It; Rip Van Winkle; This Night in Bethlehem; Open-air stage productions; Constitution Day program; Vaudeville; Blessed Thunder. The scrapbook also includes a photograph of the Choral Project of the Los Angeles County Relief Administration as well as images of sponsors and other groups of people involved with productions, and identification cards belonging to Miller.
Scrapbook, Padua Players, 1933-1934
Howard Miller was the Theater Manager at the Little theatre in Padua Hills, California. This scrapbook includes newspaper clippings and programs from productions put on by the Padua Players from 1933 to 1934.
3 Scrapbook, Programs, 1891-1935
Scrapbook containing programs collected by Miller. Programs includes: The Huguenots performed by the Emma Juch Grand English Opera Company; The Sea King; The Three Guardsmen; Mark Twain at Maguire's Opera House; Little Robinson Crusoe; oversize flyer for Dion Boucicault's After Dark; Balieff's Chauve-Souris (The Bat Theatre of Moscow); Cuadros Castizos; There's Always Juliet; The Lilies of the Field; The First Legion; Ah, Wilderness!; Bitter Harvest; Hedda Gabler; Three Men on a Horse; Othello and Macbeth; Camille; Fata Morgana; Geraldine Farrar; Her Majesty, the Widow; Accent on Youth; Mexican Folk Plays; Mary of Scotland; As Thousands Cheer; The Green Bay Tree; Drama at Inish; East Lynne; Awake and Sing!; The Children's Hour; Night of January 16; Personal Appearance. This scrapbook also includes pieces of programs that only include the title.
4 Scrapbooks, 1935-1939
5 Scrapbooks, 1935-1939
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