Robert Mills family letters, 1813-1847

Mills Family

The letters of the Robert Mills Family in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 187 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art


Collection size: 0.2 linear ft.

Collection Summary: This small collection of Robert Mills family letters date from 1813 to 1847 and measures 0.2 linear feet. Found here are 38 letters between architect Robert Mills and his wife Eliza, the majority of which were written between 1813 and 1819, and generally discuss family news and health, his travels, finances, and their affection for each other. Also found are a fragment of a letter to Mills from his sister, Sarah, a letter to Mills from his mother-in-law, Ann Smith, and nine letters to Mills from business acquaintances, including architect John Skirving and engineer Louis Wernwag, regarding building projects. The collection also includes six letters to Mills' daughter Anna from her mother, Eliza, and cousins.

Biographical/Historical Note: Robert Mills (1781-1855) was born in 1781 in Charleston, S.C. and studied architecture. Mills studied at Charleston College and under James Hoban and Benjamin Henry Latrobe. He was a friend of President Thomas Jefferson. Mills was known for design of the Washington Monument, the U.S. Patent Office, and U.S. Treasury, as well as the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland, and hospitals and jails in South Carolina using fireproofing and heating systems he developed.

The Mills Family papers were purchased in 1985 from Robert S. Gamble of the Alabama Historical Society.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

Related Materials

Additional Robert Mills papers are available at the South Carolina Historical Society and the Library of Congress. Also available are the Records of the Robert Mills Paper Project at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History.