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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Merle Miller Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1948 - 1961
Creator: Miller, Merle (1919-1986)
Extent: 2.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0660
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Editor at Yank, Time and Harper's, biographer of presidents, script writer, and novelist. Drafts, correspondence, printer's copies, and reviews for four of his books; the materials for The Sure Thing (1953) are extensive.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: Mr. Miller donated these papers to the University of Iowa Libraries over a period of years.

Preferred Citation: The papers of Merle Miller, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Merle Miller (1919 -- 1986) was born in Montour, Iowa. He grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa. There he worked as the city editor on the Daily Iowan. He did not graduate, as he refused to take the swimming and R.O.T.C. courses required at that time. He was a correspondent for the Philadelphia Record before joining the Army in 1941. Seeing action in both the European and Pacific theatres, he became an editor of the miliatry magazine, Yank. After the war, Miller was for a short while a contributing editor to Time and an editor at Harpers. He also worked as a television script writer before being blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Miller is best known as a novelist and a biographer. He wrote biographies of three presidents, Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson. His other books include Island 49, That Winter, Reunion, and A Day in Late September.

The papers of Merle Miller date from 1948 to 1961 and are comprised of two boxes of manuscripts for four of his works. There are drafts, printers copies, correspondence, and book reviews. The manuscript record is most complete for The Sure Thing, which was published in 1953.

The bulk of Miller's papers is at Boston University.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: MANUSCRIPTS
  • Sub-Series: Dark December
  • Box 1:
  • Script of a television play for "Playhouse 90" and telecast on April 30, 1959. - 1959
    With scipt of a Kleenex commercial titled "Manners & the Ladies Club"
  • Script (two drafts)
  • Sub-Series: Gay & Melancholy Sound
  • Box 1:
  • Book Review Digest, September - 1961
  • Final draft
  • Final draft
  • Sub-Series: The Sure Thing
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 1948-1949
  • Draft II
    Assorted fragments with revisions
  • Drafts III-V of opening
    With revisions
  • Draft of a flashback
    Apparently eliminated
  • Various drafts
    Miscellaneous assortment of pages with revisions
  • Various drafts
    Miscellaneous assortment of pages with revisions
  • Various drafts
    Miscellaneous assortment of pages with revisions
  • Various drafts
    Miscellaneous assortment of pages with revisions
  • Manuscript Fragments
    Most cut before final version
  • Printer's Copy
    With revisions
  • Printer's Copy
    With revisions
  • Sub-Series: That Winter
  • Box 2:
  • Miscellaneous manuscript material and suggested corrections
  • Printer's Copy
    With revisions
  • Series 2: OVERSIZED
  • Box 3:
  • Portrait of a young Miller
  • Portrait of a Miller, apparently taken for That Winter
    Not used

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Miller, Merle, 1919-1986

American literature
Authors, American

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Drafts (Documents)

Sure thing

English & American Literature
Writers Archive at Iowa
Novelists, Story Writers, & Poets