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The Paul Miller Papers Project

The original purpose of the Paul Miller Papers project was to evaluate the collection for possible scholarly topics which might be researched by anyone interested in the life and career of one of the most remarkable newspapermen of the twentieth century. That effort resulted in a 2,125-page report which suggests titles for fourteen possible monographs and four peer-reviewed journal articles, familiarizes investigators with the broad extent of Paul Miller’s surviving papers, introduces them to the complexity of the man himself, and offers accurate transcriptions of hundreds of the most significant documents in the collection. The report contains a narrative biography of Miller from 1904, the year his parents married, to 1947, the year he left the Associated Press for the Gannett Co., Inc. It also provides a detailed cross-section of Miller’s documentary legacy from the year of his birth in 1906 to 1957, the year he ascended to the presidency of the Gannett Company. And finally, it includes findings aids for documents which pertain to the years from 1958 to 1979, the year of his retirement.  The report is organized according to five main subheadings or sections: (1) The Paul Miller Papers: A Research Evaluation; (2) Paul Miller; (3) Paul Miller: A Biography; (4) Paul Miller: American Journalist; and (5) Paul Miller: Witness to History.

The Paul Miller Papers: A Research Evaluation opens with a general description of the collection and the proper format for citations. It continues with a summary of the biographical documents in Box #2 and the eighteen possible scholarly projects which almost seemed to suggest themselves after examining the material it contained. The documents from all of the storage boxes in the collection were then evaluated for which of those suggested titles each container might support, and the results appear as a line-by-line summary. The section concludes with a description of the report’s research methodology.

The eponymously-titled second section is a 200-page introduction to the life and career of Paul Miller. It opens with an article written by a Gannett colleague on the occasion of Miller’s retirement in 1979. The section then continues with a comprehensive biographical outline of Miller’s personal and professional life. And it concludes with an anthology of tributes to Miller compiled from several Gannett newspapers written immediately following his death in 1991.

The third, fourth, and fifth sections of the report organize the documents in the collection according to the three main subjects listed above, and which are then further subdivided into the thematic and chronological chapters suggested by the documentary material in the collection. For example, Paul Miller: A Biography contains a partial narrative biography of Miller spanning the forty years from his birth in Diamond, MO, in 1906 through his childhood, adolescence, college years and newspaper apprenticeships, and Associated Press jobs from 1932-1947. This section also includes transcriptions of nearly all of the documents from his Associated Press career from 1932-1978. Section three continues with transcriptions of the scrapbook entries, newspaper clippings, itineraries, and correspondence from Miller’s international air travel from 1945-1957. And it concludes with a comprehensive assortment of transcribed documents related to Miller’s lifelong affiliation to his adopted home state of Oklahoma.

Section Four, Paul Miller: American Journalist, contains complete transcriptions of the confidential files that Miller maintained while serving as the Associated Press Washington, D.C bureau chief from 1942-1947. This section also includes nearly 400 pages of transcribed documents from the “Paul Miller Era” (1947-1978) at the Gannett Co., Inc., from his dealings with Gannett newspapers other than the Rochester (NY) Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle, and from his impressive record of civic leadership in Rochester and Upstate New York. Section Four concludes with an introduction to material related to three possible topics for monographs suggested by Miller himself in a hand-written memorandum discovered in Box #2: Acquisitions, Broadcasting: Radio & TV, and Staff Building.

The fifth and final section, Paul Miller: Witness to History, chronicles his more than thirty years as both witness to and participant in many of the most dramatic and world-changing events of the Second World War and Cold War eras as they developed from 1942-1979. The section begins with nearly 100 pages of historiography, historical context, and transcriptions of documents connected  to Miller’s role as A.P bureau chief in the nation’s capital from 1942-1946 – years during which the greatest cataclysm in the history of civilization ended just as a new period of confrontation between former allies emerged from the wreckage. Section Five contains more than 200 pages that trace the story of Miller’s Cold War journalism from 1945-1979. It then continues with hundreds of pages of transcriptions of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and scrapbook entries that open the chronicle of his personal and professional relationships with all eight presidents of the United States from FDR to Jimmy Carter, follow Miller’s political conservatism as it evolved throughout the postwar era, and that detail his close personal and professional bond with Richard Nixon – an association that began during the latter’s vice presidency and which endured through the turbulent years of the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. The section concludes with fifty pages of finding aids for a wide variety of documents dating from 1958 to 1979.

The Paul Miller Papers Project will be uploaded to a website provided by the Edmon Low Library to scholars, journalists, teachers, and other investigators who seek to uncover the life and career of one of the most charismatic and multi-faceted Americans of his time. A word of caution: The website will not reproduce all of the documents in the collection in a digitized format. It will, however, provide a detailed overview and cross-section of the documentary legacy of an extraordinary journalist, entrepreneur, world traveler, civic leader, philanthropist, and intimate of many of the most significant political and military figures of the Depression era, Second World War, and the Cold War.

Prepared by
Dr. Kurt Anderson
Ph.D.: Oklahoma State University
Research Professional
Oklahoma State University