Topping Miller was born December 8, 1884 in Fenton, Michigan,
the eldest of eight children. Under the influence of her literary
mother she began writing childrens stories for St. Nicholas Magazine when she was fifteen. She went on to attend
Michigan State College and graduated in 1905.
taught for two years in rural and city schools before her family
moved to Fremont, Ohio. In 1908 they moved to Morristown, Tennessee.
Two years later on June 16, 1910, she married Frank Roger Miller,
the owner of a newspaper and later executive of the United States
Chamber of Commerce.
1918 the Millers moved to Macon, Georgia and over the following
years Helen began to write the first of 11 serial stories
that were published in a variety of national magazines including
The Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and McCalls.
During this time she also taught modern fiction writing at Mercer
in1924 the Millers made the first of several moves that
included Asheville, Washington, and Dallas. In 1939 they bought
an antebellum mansion built around 1857 in Talbott, Tennessee
named the Watkins-Witt House. It was used by both the Union
and Confederacy during the Civil War as a command post and hospital.
Confederate General James Longstreet was among its guests for
a night. Mrs. Miller named it ArrowHill for the
mountain retreat she and her husband had owned in Asheville.
One of her historical Christmas stories entitled "No Tears
For Christmas" is based on the 1863 holiday at ArrowHill.
Though her husband died in 1944, she would live there until
her lifetime Mrs. Miller wrote over 300 short stories
and more than 40 books, mostly historical romance in nature
and many dealing with the Reconstruction period in the South.
Her childrens books include a Christmas series with such
titles as Christmas at Monticello With Thomas Jefferson,
Christmas at Mount Vernon With George and Martha Washington,
and Christmas With Robert E. Lee. She has been quoted
as saying, To me the unchanging loveliness of the holy
days is proof of the unchanging love of God.
Topping Miller died on February 4, 1960 at age seventy-five
and is buried in Morristown, Tennessee.