A Finding Aid to the Richard McDermott Miller Papers,
1962-2001, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.millrimc
Creators:
Miller, Richard McDermott, 1922-
Dates:
1962-2001
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3.4 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of sculptor Richard McDermott Miller measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1962 to 2001. The papers document his work as an artist and teacher in New York City through biographical material, financial and business records, writings, subject files, and correspondence. His personal records about the National Academy of Design, of which he was an active member and president, are included.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of sculptor Richard McDermott Miller measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1962 to 2001. The papers document his work as an artist and teacher in New York City through biographical material, financial and business records, writings, subject files, and correspondence. His personal records about the National Academy of Design, of which he was an active member and president, are included.
Biographical material consists of a resume and exhibition history, as well as notes and correspondence not involving Miller's vocation. Financial and Business records contain account books of income and expenses, records of his bronzes and a register of his work. Writings include speeches Miller prepared as he practiced for his teaching career. Also found are miscellaneous texts and drafts of unknown purpose, and musings on art. Artwork consists of one ink drawing.
Subject files reflect Miller's activities in New York City. Of particular interest is his pursuit of gallery representation, which led him to friendship and affiliation with Louis Pollack and the Peridot Gallery. There are also files relating to the Sculptors' Guild and the National Sculpture Society. Correspondence is mainly with other artists, patrons and collectors.
A significant portion of Richard McDermott Miller's papers relates to the National Academy of Design. Included are financial and legal records, correspondence, and minutes stemming from his involvement with the Academy. This series is especially rich for the period of his presidency, 1989-1992.
The small number of photographs found in this collection are mainly promotional in nature, and some are annotated.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 9 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1969-1997 (Box 1; 2 folders)
  • Series 2: Financial and Business Records, 1962-circa 2000 (Box 1: 0.4 linear ft.)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1968-1969 (Box 1; 2 folders)
  • Series 4: Artwork, 1985 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 5: Subject Files, 1962-2001 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear ft.)
  • Series 6: Correspondence, 1963-2001 (Boxes 2-3; 0.8 linear ft.)
  • Series 7: National Academy of Design Files, 1972-2001 (Boxes 3-4; 1.0 linear ft.)
  • Series 8: Photographs, circa 1981 (Box 4; 1 folder)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Richard McDermott Miller (1922-2004) was a sculptor and educator in New York, NY. Miller was born Richard Alan Miller in 1922. After studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the 1940s, Miller returned to his home town of New Philadelphia, Ohio, to work in the family plaque business.
At the age of 40, he and his wife, Gloria Bley Miller, moved to New York City. This transition is the focus of Miller's posthumously published autobiography, Heading for New York: A Sculptor's Journey. Upon arriving in New York, Miller began using McDermott (his mother's maiden name) as his middle name.
Countering prevailing tastes, Miller abandoned the popular abstract style to explore the human form. In addition to executing portraits and medals, his primary focus was the nude female figure. He worked with live models, creating sculpture in clay or wax, often casting in bronze. Because of his dedication to naturalistic work, Miller became known as the "Figure Sculptor of SoHo." Miller completed several large-scale commissions for public spaces across the country. He taught sculpture at Queens College, and, with his wife, wrote the textbook Figure Sculpture in Wax and Plaster.
In New York, Miller was a prominent presence among the city's sculpture organizations, writing many letters to newspapers demanding proper recognition for sculptors. He was active in the Sculptors' Guild, and active member and president (1989-1992) of the National Academy of Design, and president (1997-2000) of the National Sculpture Society. Upon his death in 2004, he bequeathed his SoHo building to the National Sculpture Society.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by intern Tal Nadan in 2008.
Author
Tal Nadan
Provenance
The papers were donated by Richard McDermott Miller to the Archives of American Art in 2001.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Richard McDermott Miller papers, 1962-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Richard McDermott Miller papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Material
The holdings of the Archives of American Art include additional photographs of Miller among the Louise Finklestein papers, circa 1944-2000, and sound tapes and partial transcripts of the Alliance of Figurative Artists lectures and panel discussions, 1969-1970, in which Miller participated.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Sculpture Society (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peridot Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pollack, Louis Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors Guild (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Academy of Design (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/