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Hugh Miller Photograph Collection

Identifier: P022

Content Description

The collection consists of 443 glass plate negatives of various news related images generally taken around the mid-1920s. In the 1990s, Jerry McCoy, a Washingtingtoniana librarian and amateur photographer, made prints from the original negatives for researcher access. Eight of the negatives have no print and there is one print that has no negative. Writing on the rear of the prints is that of Washingtoniana volunteer Robert A. Trouex, however the text was directly taken from the original sleeves. Mr. Miller is believed to have assigned numbers to the images prior to their arrival to the Library.


  • Creation: 1880 - 1938
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1930

Conditions Governing Access

Patrons will not be given access to the glass negatives due to their fragile nature.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no known restrictions on the use of the images.

Biographical Note

Hugh Miller was born in New York City about 1898 and started to work with cameras while he was still a teenager. During World War I he went overseas with an ambulance group that served with the French Army. At the end of the war the Paris Tribune gave him his first photo assignment, covering the allied peace march along the Champs Elysees. After returning to America, Miller took a job working for the news photograph service Underwood and Underwood in Washington DC. He joined the staff of the Washington Post in 1921. In 1929 he moved from the District and became a turf photographer for the New York Morning Telegraph. During Miller’s time with the Telegraph he became one of the foremost turf photographers in the country, even helping uncover a scam during a fall race at Havre de Grace. When Eugene Meyer took over as the new publisher of the Washington Post in 1934, Miller once again returned to Washington. While he occasionally went out to shoot major stories, Miller spent most of his time serving as picture editor. In the late 1940s he oversaw the development and design of the Post’s photographic laboratory in the new building on L Street, NW. When completed it was considered the most up-to-date facility in the country and Miller delighted in giving guided tours. Throughout his career, Miller covered some of the most important events in Washington DC history. He worked every presidential inauguration from Warren Harding in 1921 to Lyndon Johnson in 1965, missing only Franklin Roosevelt’s first in 1933. In 1922 when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapsed killing ninety-eight people, he was the only photographer to snap pictures from inside the theatre. He accomplished this by pretending to be a welder. Among the other events he covered were the Peoples Drug warehouse fire, a deadly tornado in La Plata, Maryland that killed fifteen children, the explosion at the National Bureau of Standards, The Washington Senators 1924 victory parade, and Babe Ruth’s last game at Griffith Stadium. Miller was a founder and life member of the White House News Photographers Association. Miller retired from the Washington Post in 1967 and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. He died on November 10, 1979 of a circulatory ailment.


4.75 Linear feet

17 Boxes

Language of Materials



Series I: Accidents and Disasters
Series II: Biography
Series III: General DC
Series IV: Prohibition
Series V: Sports and Recreation
Series VI: Transportation
Series VII: Subject Idex Cards
Series VIII: Negatives


There is no deed of gift and it is uncertain as to how the library acquired these photographs.

Related Materials

Washington Star Photograph Collection

Processing Procedure

Originally the collection’s prints were assembled in four three-ring binders that were put together by Washingtoniana Volunteer Robert A. Trouex. The images were removed from their housing and placed in individual polypropylene sleeves. Mr. Miller originally assigned numbers and their order has been maintained. The images were then placed in an acid-free folder and stored in an archival storage box for long-term storage. The glass plate negatives were assigned a number that directly corresponded to the print. The plates were removed from their original housing and placed in individual archival paper sleeves. The collection name and all intellectual information were transferred to the sleeves. Information on the negative sleeve also appears on the rear of the corresponding print. The negatives were then placed in an archival box and placed in the negative cabinet for long-term storage.

Hugh Miller Photograph Collection
A guide to the Hugh Miller Photograph Collection
Finding aid prepared by Mark S. Greek
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001