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Richard McDermott Miller papers, 1962-2001

Richard McDermott Miller papers, 1962-2001

Miller, Richard McDermott, 1922-2004


Collection Information

Size: 3.4 linear ft.

Summary: 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.

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.

Biographical/Historical Note

Richard McDermott Miller (1922-2004) was a sculptor from New York, N.Y. Born Richard Alan Miller in 1922. Miller was president of National Academy Design from 1989 to 1992.


Donated 2001 by Richard McDermott Miller.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Richard McDermott Miller Papers,
1962-2001, in the Archives of American Art
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.
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)
Donated 2001 by Richard McDermott Miller.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by intern Tal Nadan in 2008.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Richard McDermott Miller papers, 1962-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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