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Helen Topping Miller

Miller Resources

Helen 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 children’s stories for St. Nicholas Magazine when she was fifteen. She went on to attend Michigan State College and graduated in 1905.

She 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.

In 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 McCall’s. During this time she also taught modern fiction writing at Mercer University.

Beginning 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 1958.

During 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 children’s 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.”

Helen Topping Miller died on February 4, 1960 at age seventy-five and is buried in Morristown, Tennessee.

Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library * Carson-Newman College * P. O. Box 70000 * Jefferson City, TN 37760
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Last Updated September 22, 2010