||The papers of American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller consist of
published and unpublished plays and other works, personal and professional correspondence,
notebooks, photographs, clippings, and family papers which document Miller's writing
career—spanning over fifty years—and include plays, novels, screenplays, short stories,
essays, speeches, and poetry. The papers are arranged in seven series: I. Works, 1936-2013,
undated; II. Correspondence, 1933-2006, undated; III. Personal and Professional Material,
1944-2007, undated; IV. Works about Miller, circa 1940s-2005; V. Photographs, circa
1910-2002; VI. Works by Others, 1938-1997; and VII. Notebooks and Journals, 1940s-2004.
||The arrangement of the materials closely reflects Miller's own organization of his
Where Miller provided a meaningful label for a grouping of material or an unpublished
that wording was used in the container list and is indicated in single quotation marks.
Labels written on any sticky notes were photocopied and the sticky notes housed in
sleeves and placed at the front of the new folder.
Series I. Works forms the bulk of the material and consists of
246 document boxes of scripts, drafts, notes, specific performance-related material,
adaptations, and film treatments associated with Miller's plays and writings. The
arranged into two subseries: A. Plays, Screenplays, Radio Plays, and Books, 1936-2013,
undated and B. Short Works, circa 1938-2005, undated. Short works include essays,
and lectures, short stories, poems, reviews of books and films, blurbs and introductions
other authors' works, open letters, statements, and other similar writings.
||Works within each of these subseries are generally in alphabetical order by published
title. The exceptions are categories of writing that are better served by grouping
together by genre (poetry, radio plays, etc.). For example, poetry is listed alphabetically
under the letter "p". Each of these groupings has a distinct arrangement governed
genre: radio plays are filed together by series program title; introductory essays
by other authors are filed alphabetically by author; eulogies are filed alphabetically
the name of the deceased; poetry is filed together by poem title or grouping; reviews
books are filed alphabetically by the author of the work; and speeches are filed together
alphabetically by title (when one exists) or by event when no specific speech title
||For unpublished, unfinished, or incomplete works, the title listed is taken directly
any title that appears on a draft; if no drafts of that work have a title, then the
listed is taken from any label written on the file folder and is enclosed in single
quotation marks. Usually, these labels are only descriptive (often the name of a character),
and Miller never intended them to be the final title. Miller used the term "unfinished"
mean that he never arrived at a final version of that work, so drafts of an unfinished
may be present as complete typescripts as well as fragments. Miller revisited works
long periods, so dates listed for drafts may have wide date spans, often over several
||Materials associated with individual works include drafts (fragments and notes as
complete drafts), correspondence, production material (such as photographs, programs,
posters, reviews and articles), published versions or excerpts, adaptations, translations,
and publicity material. For a specific play, production material related to its premiere
production is listed first, with subsequent productions grouped by decade and then
Correspondence regarding a specific play or production of that play may be located
throughout the papers and can be filed with the title of the play as a general
correspondence file, within a specific production, or the chronological correspondence
Series II. The Index of Correspondents at the end of this finding aid contains box
folder locations for all correspondence in the collection.
||Miller's wife, Magnum photographer Inge Morath, photographed many of Miller's productions.
There are often numerous duplicates of specific prints. For preservation purposes,
prints were removed. If a specific print contained different information on the back
there were differences in processing (such as more or less contrast or different tonality),
all of those variant prints are retained. All duplicates are housed in boxes beginning
the letter "D" (such as D1.2). Other notable theatre photographers represented in
include Fred Fehl, Eileen Darby, and Alfredo Valente.
||Because Miller reworked his plays extensively, numerous folders of "out-pages" and
fragments are present. Within each individual draft or folder of material, Miller's
order was retained when evident. Pages appear in the order they were found at the
processing, even if this does not follow their given by the page numbers. (Thus, if
"17" appeared before page "15," it was left in that sequence). Where groups of pages
clipped together, the groupings were placed together in either a white paper or a
sleeve to preserve that grouping.
||Many of Miller's manuscripts are brittle and extremely fragile. Due to special handling
considerations, all brittle manuscripts are housed together in boxes beginning with
letter "B" (such as B1.2).
||More detailed information about specific works in this subseries:
||The American Clock: The play was extensively revised over
many years, and numerous scripts and outpages are present. One version of the play
was to be
published by Viking Press as The American Clock: A Mural for
Theatre in 1980, and a printer's copy and bound proofs for that abandoned version
are located with scripts. Miller worked on a proposed television miniseries of The
Clock in 1985 and 1986, and used early playscripts and scenes from the play to work
project; therefore, typescripts of scenes, the Mark Taper Forum script, and possibly
playscripts have notations or edits made at the time of his work on the teleplay.
playscript pages also are located with teleplay material.
||Clara: The dates of the script pages and working drafts
reflect two concentrated periods of revision. The earliest notes begin 1974 through
Within the drafts are dated segments and loose pages which are likely out-pages. A
typed note dated August 27, 1975 begins with the statement "Burial of a Play" wherein
describes his abandonment of the project. Miller returns to the script in 1985 and
to add reflective notes directly to the earlier draft pages. For example, he evaluates
original text and uses "VG" (likely for very good) for a segment or describes what
is or is
||The Creation of the World and Other Business: The play had a
tumultuous history with changes in script, cast, and director. Harold Clurman was
the play and it was to star Barbara Harris and Hal Holbrook. The cast and director
difficulty meshing and the script proved difficult to perform. Ultimately, Clurman
from the project, as did Harris. When the play premiered at the Colonial Theatre in
under the direction of Gerald Freedman, African-American actor Susan Batson (who was
understudy for Harris) played the part of Eve. Once the production moved to the Eisenhower
Theatre at the Kennedy Center, Zoe Caldwell had replaced Batson and George Grizzard
Holbrook's part of Lucifer.
||Miller said it took about six weeks to write the original draft of the script, but
reworked it constantly during rehearsals and through each production. The majority
scripts and working draft pages are undated. If any dates appear, they are listed,
may reflect a single dated page. The complete scripts are also undated. An attempt
to list the scripts in chronological order based on changes within the script; however,
changes might not have been maintained from script to script, making that process
The script listed as "final" is based on comparing that script with the version published
Viking in 1973. The "first reading" script contained in the embossed notebook dated
28, 1972 likely contains portions of the original script used during the Boston preview
which included actors Barbara Harris and Hal Holbrook, as their names and the names
actors are listed on the cover page. That script draft also includes many inserted
dating from November 2 through November 23, 1972, as well as a sketch depicting the
||The play was ready for production in the 1971-1972 season, but difficulties with casting
postponed the opening. The first rehearsal was at the American National Theatre and
Playhouse in New York on August 28, 1972. A tryout run was held at the Kennedy Center's
Eisenhower Theatre on October 17, 1972.
||The review and article clippings for the first US productions are in chronological
allow a better understanding of this play's complex production history.
||The Crucible: Because it is one of Miller's most-produced
plays, there are programs, posters, photographs, reviews, and other production material
numerous productions, including many in Germany. Boston University produced the original,
unpublished version of the script in 1962 and script comparisons along with Miller's
typescript pages for that production (directed by Lloyd Richards) are present. A New
production includes costume drawings. Robert Ward's operatic version The Crucible: An Opera in 4 Acts won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1962. Also
noteworthy is correspondence from Aaron Copland in 1956 about the possibility of his
an opera of The Crucible. Film scripts, photographs, and
other material from Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Sorcières de
Salem (1957) and the 1996 film directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Daniel
Day-Lewis are present.
||Fame: Each draft of the one-act play is quite different from
the previous draft. The final draft is more like the first 1969 draft.
||The Golden Years: An unproduced play first written by Miller
from 1939 to 1940, then worked on again from 1969 to 1975. The script was discovered
Ransom Center by Christopher Bigsby and subsequently reworked by Miller for a BBC
production. Therefore, in addition to a 1940 script there is a photocopy of the script
by Ransom Center staff for Miller which contains his handwritten edits and additional
||The Misfits: An early manuscript contains Miller's
annotation indicating that it is a novel based on his short story "The Misfits" and
precursor to his screenplay of that work. Miller's "cinema novel" was apparently begun
during his work on the screenplay, and some of the screenplay manuscripts might have
used for the novel.
||No Villain (1935) / They Too
Arise (1936) / The Grass Still Grows (1939): Miller
wrote and submitted No Villain while at the University of
Michigan. It won a $250 Hopwood Award, but was never produced. Miller reworked the
1936 and it was retitled They Too Arise, which was later
reworked again in 1939 and became The Grass Still Grows.
Though these plays are related, they are viewed as individual works and thus are each
separately in alphabetical order.
||The Ride Down Mt. Morgan: Script drafts may be filed under a
particular production if it was used for that production or was heavily revised during
production. The notes entitled 'Notes begun July 27/77' were originally in a blue
includes typed and handwritten notes.
||The dates of the script pages and working drafts reflect several concentrated periods
revision. The earliest notes begin in July 1977. Miller returns to the script in 1981
1982, then in 1987 and 1989. In 1989, Miller very often returns to the 1981 and 1982
adding edits directly on those pages and adding new pages, as he reworks the narrative
structure. All of the script pages are heavily revised and often include notes, reflections
wherein Miller talks through what he is trying to convey and possible ways to represent
that. In 1990, Miller was preparing for the 1991 world premiere at the Wyndham Theatre
London and the scripts suggest that director Michael Blakestone collaborated with
revising the script.
||Miller significantly revised and worked on particular plays during the rehearsals
previews, including The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. Miller revised
the script again for the American premiere, five years later, at the Williamstown
Festival. Multiple drafts document this process.
||Timebends: A Life: Within his notes, Miller describes that
he began working on an autobiography over several decades, "writing a few pages now
about various turning points of my life." The "precursors" contain these short anecdotes
written as fully as memory permitted at the time of their writing, most between 1974
1981. Miller used many of these stories in Timebends;
however, often in a much revised form.
||Pagination is inconsistent, and there are notes detailing printing/pagination errors,
well as notes regarding certain digital copies and the corresponding printed page—the
"on the screen" differed from the printed page. Often, typescript pages were
re-numbered—sometimes several times—within a manuscript draft, making it difficult
pages in the proper sequence.
||Up From Paradise: A reworked musical version of The Creation of the World and Other Business, Miller wrote Up From Paradise in collaboration with composer Stanley Silverman
who wrote the incidental music for Creation. The
work-in-progress premiered as From Creation… in 1974 at
Miller's alma mater, University of Michigan, in place of American
Clock, which was to have debuted that year in Michigan where Miller was in
Residence. In addition to writing the book and lyrics, Miller was also the play's
As with many of Miller's later plays, the script evolved with each performance and
production. In June 1977, Miller staged a revised version of Up From
Paradise at the Kennedy Center's Musical Production Lab production and in 1981,
Silverman and Miller staged a concert-reading at the Whitney as part of the Composers'
||The View from the Bridge: Included in the materials is
correspondence regarding the Lord Chamberlain's Office refusal of license and proposed
script changes. The play was subsequently produced as a club presentation to avoid
censor's opposition to a kiss between male characters. A bound typescript of a French
translation by Marcel Aymé contains a note by Miller regarding "curious Gallic
interpolations in the final section." Opera and film adaptations of the work are also
represented, and the actor Raf Vallone's career playing the lead role in stage and
television productions is well-documented.
||Series I. Works, Subseries B. Short Works contains short stories and memoir pieces,
as essays, speeches and lectures, poems, reviews of books and films, blurbs and
introductions for other authors' works, open letters, statements, and similar writings.
of these reflect Miller's concern with contemporary political and social issues, as
the theater. Common subjects include the state of American theater, censorship, McCarthyism,
and the Vietnam War. Materials relating to a short work are filed under its published
if any; otherwise, they are filed by any title on a typescript, folder label, or sticky
note. Those transcribed titles are indicated by single quotation marks. Miller revisited
unfinished short stories at different times, and they can be present in more than
For example, manuscripts for "Presence" and "The Turpentine Still" include earlier, longer versions. A work
based on Miller's parents titled The Form is represented by manuscripts dating from
1960s to 2003. The monologue "Speech to the Neighborhood Watch
Committee" was preceded by playscript and short story versions.
||Similarly, Miller's speeches overlap with his essays as he melded material from one
another. For example, his well-known essay About Theatre Language is also present
speeches as well as an afterword to the 1994 published edition of The
Last Yankee. Introductory essays written by Miller for published texts of his
plays are located with the other material for those plays in Subseries A, as are any
notes he wrote. These can include early, lengthier versions that were not used and
similar to topics discussed in other essays within short works in Subseries B.
||Series II. Correspondence is organized into three subseries: A.
Family, 1934-2006, undated; B. Chronological, 1933-2006, undated; and C. General Public
Fans, 1950s-2000s. Subseries A. Family correspondence contains one box of letters;
from the 1930s while Miller was at the University of Michigan, and from the 1940s.
correspondence is organized alphabetically by correspondent with the bulk being letter
exchanges to and from Miller's mother Augusta and his brother Kermit. The largest
however, are the letters written by Miller to his wife Mary Slatterly while Miller
first, right after their marriage in 1940 when Miller boarded the SS Copa Copa in an attempt to expose himself to experiences that would inspire his
writing and later in 1947 and 1948 when he traveled to Europe for the same reason.
these letters are brittle and fragile.
||Subseries B. Chronological correspondence is primarily professional and includes letters
associated with Miller's role as a writer and public figure. This includes letters
agents, publishers, directors and producers associated with his plays and their productions,
as well as other writings and publications, publicity, rights information, etc. Due
Miller's role in PEN, political activism, and social causes, there are numerous letters
activists, artists, authors, diplomats, directors, heads of state. A significant volume
letters are requests for appearances and readings, interviews, signed books, charitable
donations, etc., as well as from fans, aspiring writers, universities, scholars, and
||The organization of the chronological subseries closely mimics Miller's own chronological
filing sytem. Since the materials were received at the Ransom Center over several
repetitive groupings were consolidated and organized by decade and then alphabetically
name or subject. Miller's headings for subject files is maintained and indicated by
quotation marks. For folders titled with the letter of the alphabet, letters are arranged
alphabetically by surname or corporate entity within the folder; and if there is more
one letter from that correspondent, the letters are in reverse chronological order.
often, a carbon copy of Miller's response is filed in front of the incoming letter,
a more complete picture of the exchange.
||Personal and professional letters are interfiled in the chronological subseries. Miller's
groupings are not absolute and are not the only possible location for letters from
correspondents or on certain subjects. For example, Miller categorized requests for
interviews, appearances, etc. as "requests" and then divided these into specific categories.
However, requests are located throughout the chronological series. Another example,
titled a files "famous people," but these files can include letters from correspondents
are also filed elsewhere alphabetically by last name. Letters related to political
PEN are also filed throughout this subseries and may be filed by correspondent or
country that was at the center of the political controversy.
||The volume of letters varies by decade. There is very little correspondence during
and a relatively small amount during the 1950s and with large gaps between years.
that the 1960s represents the largest volume, isn't surprising considering that many
related to political movements. The correspondence illustrates the common causes of
prominent social critics, celebrity activists, and non-celebrities. Most correspondence
this decade relates to peace movements, nuclear disarmament, ending the Vietnam War,
Israeli and Jewish causes. Though this is a large segment, there are mid-decade gaps.
Correspondence in the 1970s and 1980s remains large, but the volume is significantly
in the 1990s and 2000s.
||Business correspondence between the late 1980s and early 2000s was often conducted
machine. As a result, the papers contain a large number of faded faxed correspondence.
preservation purposes, these were photocopied during processing and in extreme cases,
faxes were digitized to enhance the contrast and printouts made.
||All correspondents along with the folder location(s) of her/his letters are listed
individually in "The Index of Correspondents" at the end of this finding aid.
||Series III. Personal and Professional Material includes
documents relating to Miller's career, personal life, and political activism. It is
alphabetically by theme or topic. Two of the most important segments relate to Miller's
subpoena to appear before the United States House Un-American Activities Committee
include the FBI's surveillance dossier documenting Miller's political and cultural
activities and the numerous files Miller kept to document the "Congressional Investigation."
||Miller was elected President of International PEN in 1965 for a four-year term. Once
term ended, he remained active in American PEN and continued work on behalf of the
organization. This series includes correspondence, newsletters, memos, reports, statements,
research material, and publications related to PEN's defense of writers facing persecution,
imprisonment, and other human rights violations throughout the world. Correspondence
to PEN campaigns or from or about exiled or imprisoned writers is also filed within
Correspondence Series in the Chronological subseries. Related writings authored by
are filed within short works in Series I.
||A significant volume of material relates to awards and honors Miller received and
attended, frequently with his wife Inge Morath. Any typescripts of speeches given
at these occasions are located with other speeches within short works in Series I.
||Series IV. Works About Miller is divided into five subseries: A.
Scholarly Works, 1949-2005, undated; B Interviews, circa 1940s-2001; C. Educational
Materials, 1968-1993; D. Documentary Films, 1978-2002; E. Profile Articles and Clippings,
1949-2005. Theses, dissertations, journal articles, school reports, and similar writings
about Miller or his works are listed alphabetically by author within the Scholarly
subseries. Interview transcripts and published interview clippings are filed in the
Interviews subseries and listed alphabetically by author, interviewee, or entity sponsoring
the interview. Following that are interviews contained in whole issues of magazines
journals. These are listed alphabetically by periodical title. Educational materials
includes teaching packets and films intended for use in school settings and is organized
alphabetically by organization. Documentary films includes scripts, research material,
interview transcripts, and promotional material for films made for public television
ordered alphabetically by organization. Profile articles and clippings is the largest
segment and is ordered chronologically by decade. Within each decade, the material
arranged by the following categories: general clippings, foreign language press clippings,
specific titles used by Miller, and whole issues of periodicals. Many of the clippings
the 1940s and 1950s are brittle and too fragile to handle; therefore, the originals
restricted and replaced with photocopies.
||Series V. Photographs is arranged into four subseries: A.
Childhood, Early Life, and Family, circa 1910s-circa 1960s, undated; B. Photographs
Miller by Inge Morath, 1960-2002; C. Photographs of Miller by Other Photographers,
1940s-circa 2000s; D. Snapshots, 1990s. Subseries A contains portraits and casual
of Miller taken before his marriage to Inge Morath and includes the earliest photos
Miller as a child, as well as his parents as a young couple, and his siblings Joan
Kermit. Photos of Miller as a student at the University of Michigan and his first
Slatterly, and his children Jane and Robert, are often included as subjects. Of particular
interest are the photos taken of Miller in 1940 while conducting fieldwork for the
||The photographs taken by Miller's wife–Magnum photographer Inge Morath–constitute
largest segment of photographs. The subseries is organized by category: Miller at
in Roxbury, Connecticut; Miller in other settings; Travel; and Family. Most of the
depict Miller in casual and candid situations, working with Elia Kazan, planting trees
working in his workshop in Roxbury, entertaining at his home, or traveling. Within
category, the photographs are in chronological order by year, beginning in 1960. Individuals
photographed with Miller include: Alexander Calder, Ralph Ellison, Elia Kazan, William
Styron, Pablo Neruda, as well as other friends and acquaintances.
||Photographs by others is in alphabetical order by photographer and includes such artists
Eve Arnold, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eileen Darby, Roddy McDowall, Dan Weiner, and others.
photographs in this subseries depict Miller in a professional capacity and were used
promotional purpose, published with magazine profiles of Miller, or other similar
||Snapshots are photographs taken by various people–frequently unidentified–that were
processed by commercial entities and not professionally developed. These include images
the Millers at their home in Roxbury, travelling, or at events. These are in order
||Series VI. Works by Others contains writings that are unrelated
to Miller specifically. One segment which Miller titled "Articles of Interest" includes
pieces written by or about friends or acquaintances on a variety of political topics.
remaining works were interspersed throughout Miller's papers, sometimes mixed in with
correspondence or other papers. They are in alphabetical order by author.
||Series VII. Notebooks and Journals includes Miller's notebook
journals dating from the 1940s through 2005. The notebooks often contain the earliest
versions and drafts of his plays. He used these pages to reflect on his writings and
clarify his thoughts and intentions as part of his writing process. These journals
include diary entries, jottings, personal notes, writing ideas, letter drafts, and
material. In later life, Miller returned to these notebooks and found renewed inspiration
for works he had previously abandoned. Miller often added notes to the original entries
dated decades later. Notebooks that were part of the 1983, 2005, and 2017 accessions
restricted from access and will be open to researchers no later than 31 December 2029.
Notebooks acquired by the Ransom Center prior to those dates and were previously open
research remain available to researchers.