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John F. G. Miller papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

John F. G. Miller papers

John F. G. Miller scrapbook

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John F. G. Miller papers, 1899-1936 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Nolan Eller

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Collection Overview

Title: John F. G. Miller papers, 1899-1936Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1903, 1923-1927

Primary Creator: Miller, John F. G. (1877-1939)

Extent: 0.85 Cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The papers are arranged into one series entitled the Intercollegiate Conference, the forerunner of the Big Ten conference. They are arranged further into three subseries entitled correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles, and reports, memorandums, and minutes.

Subjects: Purdue Boilermakers (Football team)--History, Purdue University--Alumni and alumnae, Purdue University--Students--Social life and customs--20th century, Railroad accidents--Indiana--Indianapolis

Forms of Material: Black-and-white photographs, Clippings (Information artifacts), Correspondence, Scrapbooks

Languages: English


Scrapbook, correspondences, and articles documenting the football career of John F. G. Miller and his involvement with the Intercollegiate Conference and Purdue Athletics.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The John F. G. Miller papers (1899-1936; 0.85 cubic feet) document the collegiate and post collegiate career of John F. G. Miller.  The collection includes a scrapbook from 1899-1904 and a group of correspondence, memorandums, and newspaper clippings.  Because Miller had such an illustrious athletic career at Purdue all of the items focus on athletics, specifically football.  The scrapbook contains photographs, newspaper clippings, game plan diagrams, and memorabilia from the 1903 football season.  There is also a section of clippings pertaining to the 1903 train wreck.  Apart from football there is memorabilia from John F. G. Miller’s social life and his career as the football coach for Earlham College.    The papers are arranged into one series entitled the Intercollegiate Conference, the forerunner of the Big Ten conference. They are arranged further into three subseries entitled correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles, and reports, memorandums, and minutes.  All of the documents cover Miller’s involvement with the conference as a representative of Purdue.  The papers focus on the recruitment of players by coaches and athletic programs, the giving of scholarships strictly for athletic merit, and professionalism versus amateurism in collegiate athletics.  The correspondence is arranged chronologically.  The collection would be very useful to anyone interested in the history of football at Purdue University or the History of the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives.  It would also be valuable to anyone studying football in Indiana in the early twentieth century.

Biographical Note

John Fisher Garr Miller, “Long John” to the Purdue community, was born on March 23, 1877 to Rev. and Mrs. John Free Miller of Nineveh Indiana.  John graduated from Purdue University in 1903 with a BS degree in mechanical engineering.  He achieved a very illustrious college career and was hailed as one of the most decorated athletes in Purdue history.  He played varsity football all four years at Purdue and was captain of the team his junior year.  During his football career his younger brother, Simeon V. B. Miller, and himself were involved in the 1903 Purdue train wreck.  The wreck occurred outside of Indianapolis when the entire football team was on its way to play Indiana University.  John F. G. Miller sustained minor injuries, but his younger brother was not as lucky.  Simeon fractured both of his legs and was in serious condition after the crash.  Both brothers were lucky to survive the crash that took the lives of 16 people including players, coaches, and fans.  Miller also played varsity basketball all four years.  An article in the Purdue Alumnus described Miller as one of the first “skyscraper” centers in Indiana basketball.  He played first base for the baseball team all four years of his Purdue career.  He was also a track star setting records in shot put, hammer throw and discus, and he won the All-Around Indoor Championship in Athletics his junior year.  During his Purdue athletic career he won 9 “P”s.  Apart from his decorated athletic career John was equally successful in academic endeavors.  He was a Wilbur Scholar of Tau Beta Pi, editor-in-chief of the 1903 Debris, class officer for two years, and a member of the Irving Literary Society.  He was a member of Phi delta Theta fraternity along with his father and younger brother.

After graduating from Purdue, John accepted a position as the head football coach for Earlham College and led them to a 1903 Indiana Athletic Collegiate Conference football championship.  That same year he also accepted a position as a special machinist apprentice for the Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad.  In 1905 he was offered a sales position at the American Blower Company in Detroit.  By 1917 he had risen to become the vice-president, director, and treasurer.  In 1933 he was named vice-president of the B. F. Sturtevant Company.  At the time of his death in 1939 Miller was the director and past president of the Employers Association of Detroit, the past president of the National Association of Fan Manufacturers, a member of the Advisory Board of the Purdue Research Foundation, Chairman of the General Alumni Committee on Athletics, and was a member of the Editorial Board of the Purdue Alumnus.  John F. G. Miller is also the younger brother of Hugh Thomas Miller the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana from 1905-1909.

Subject/Index Terms

Purdue Boilermakers (Football team)--History
Purdue University--Alumni and alumnae
Purdue University--Students--Social life and customs--20th century
Railroad accidents--Indiana--Indianapolis

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 mss. box and 1 flat box

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Physical Access Note: The scrapbook is in fragile condition.  A surrogate may be provided for viewing to preserve and protect the original.

Related Materials:

MSA 21, Simeon V. B. Miller scrapbook

MSP 117, Collection of Purdue Train Wreck materials

Preferred Citation: MSA 277, John F. G.  Miller papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: John F. G. Miller papers, 1923-1936],
[Box 2: John F. G. Miller scrapbook, 1899-1904],