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Papers of Joseph R. Miller

 Collection
Identifier: AJRM

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of documents dated 1930 to 2009, with the bulk falling from 1960 to 1990. Included are personal papers, working papers and daily desk notes from Joe Miller's career, brochures from the various National Parks he visited, and numerous publications related to the National Parks. There are also photographs and artifacts collected by Joe and his father Cal during their employment with the National Park Service.

Dates

  • 1930-2009
  • Majority of material found in 1960-1990

Creator

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.

Biography

Joseph Ray (Joe) Miller served in nearly a dozen national parks throughout the country during his forty-year career with the National Park Service (NPS). A son of long-time NPS employee Thomas Carol (T.C. or Cal) Miller, Joe grew up in the National Parks. He and his father served the NPS for a combined total of 83 years.

Cal Miller was Superintendent of Chaco Canyon National Monument in New Mexico at the time of Joe's birth on March 19, 1935. Joe Miller spent much of his childhood at Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico and Platt National Monument in Oklahoma. He began his own NPS career in Kentucky in 1952 as a tour guide at Mammoth Cave National Park while his father was serving as park superintendent. From Mammoth Cave, Joe moved to Grand Teton National Park in 1954. While serving as maintenance foreman there, he met his first wife, Jeannine Driskell (a native of Jackson Hole, Wyoming). Joe and Jeannine's three daughters, Carol, Cheryl, and Cathy, were born during the eleven years he worked at Grand Teton.

Joe Miller transferred to Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico in 1965 before moving on to Arches/Natural Bridges/Canyonlands National Parks in 1968, where he served as the maintenance superintendent. In that role, Joe was responsible for operational maintenance, construction, and planning in all three parks. He was also briefly stationed at Glacier National Park in the late 1960s, where he helped suppress the 1967 Wall Fire as well as the 1969 Sun Mountain Fire.

By 1971, Joe Miller had accepted a position as a park safety officer at Yellowstone. He met his second wife, Sheila Gate of Logan, Utah, in 1972 while working as a safety officer at the Midwest Regional Office in Nebraska. Their daughter Melinda arrived in 1973 while Joe was Superintendent of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia. While at Kennesaw, Joe introduced several new initiatives to the popular Civil War battlefield park outside Atlanta. He expanded the interpretive programs, created a living history program, increased ranger patrols and implemented a new signage system. Most significantly, he developed a bus program for Kennesaw during the energy crisis of the 1970s. By placing interpretive rangers on the buses with guests, Joe Miller was able to simultaneously save fuel, reduce traffic, and improve the quality of visitors' experiences in the park.

Following Kennesaw, Joe moved to Grand Canyon National Park in 1975. From 1979-1980, he served as Superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park before moving to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah. After accepting a second duty assignment at Yellowstone and then at Canyonlands in the late 1980s, Joe concluded his NPS career in 1992 as Associate Regional Director for Management and Operations in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Philadelphia. In that position he supervised more than 30 areas of the National Park Service in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Joe Miller received many awards from the NPS during his four decades of service, including the Meritorious Service Award, Superior Service Award, Special Act Award, and Special Achievement Award. After nearly fifteen years of retirement, Joe died at his much-loved cabin at Strawberry Valley in Duck Creek Village, Utah, on February 13, 2008.

Joe's father Thomas Carol (T.C. or Cal) Miller was born December 5, 1896 in Bandera, Texas. In 1900, he moved to the New Mexico territory with his parents who were early ranchers in the area. At the age of 14, Cal began working as a water boy at mining operations near Carlsbad. He served in World War I before beginning his 43-year career with the NPS as Chief Ranger at Carlsbad Cavern National Monument in 1926. Cal married Amelia Mayes in Carlsbad in 1923, and they had five children: Arthur, Joseph, Jean, Eunice, and Mary.

During his tenure with the Park Service, Cal Miller met four U.S. presidents: Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower. Cal was well-recognized within the Park Service for his dedication and efforts to increase park visitation following World War II.

Cal Miller served at Carlsbad until 1932. From 1932 to 1934, he was superintendent of Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona. As the superintendent of Chaco Canyon National Monument in New Mexico from 1934 to 1936, he also supervised Hovenweep and Yucca House National Monuments in Colorado and Utah. When Chaco Canyon constructed a new visitor's center in the 1950s, a cornerstone was placed to recognize Cal's dedication to the park.

In 1956 Cal Miller returned to Carlsbad as the assistant superintendent. He suffered a heart attack while making a climb to Lake of the Clouds, which led to his decision to retire in 1961. During the following decade Cal helped to develop and manage a privately-owned cavern and tourist attraction 22 miles from Carlsbad in Seligman, Arizona. He passed away on February 8, 1971.

Extent

9 linear feet (6 document boxes, 12 flat boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Joseph Ray (Joe) Miller served in nearly a dozen national parks throughout the United States (including Mammoth Cave, Grand Teton, Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Kennesaw, and Grand Canyon) during his forty-year career with the National Park Service (NPS). Collection documentation of Joe Miller's work with the NPS is representative but not comprehensive; his desk notes, working papers, photographs, and artifacts provide a glimpse into his daily activities. Publications such as park brochures, pamphlets, and books help to illuminate Miller's interests within the National Park System. Included with the collection is a small group of photographs and personal papers belonging to Joe's father, Thomas Carol (T.C. or Cal) Miller, who also served more than forty years with the NPS.

Arrangement

The materials in this collection were arranged largely by material type into five series in six boxes:

Series 1: Personal papers, 1954 -2009 and undated

Series 2: Working papers, 1958-1993 and undated

Series 3: Publications, 1951-1993 and undated

Series 4: Photographic materials, 1930-1992 and undated

Series 5: Artifacts, 1940-1992 and undated

Acquisition

Sheila Miller donated the Papers of Joseph R. Miller to the Agricultural and Natural Resources Archive of the Colorado State University Libraries in June, 2013.

Related Collections

The Agricultural and Natural Resources Archive also preserves the National Park Service Employees Collection and the Records of the Association of National Park Rangers, as well as papers of other NPS employees, including John N. Albright, George and Herma Baggley, James M. Brady, B. Riley McClelland, Peggy Froeschauer Nelson, and Jean H. Rodeck.

Processing

All materials were rehoused using acid-free folders and boxes. Metal fasteners were removed as necessary, and photographs and slides were sleeved. Oversized items were separated to flat file storage. Publications without annotations were removed and added to the National Park Service Employees special collection.

Title
Guide to the Papers of Joseph R. Miller
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Prepared by Kellie Nicholas and Linda M. Meyer
Date
Copyright 2022
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA
970-491-1844