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Olive Beaupre Miller papers, 1864-1992 (Bulk: 1894-1958)
13 boxes (5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 104

Publisher; Children's author; Teacher of English; and Christian Scientist. Founder of the publishing company, The Book House for Children, the first collection of children's literature graded to meet developing needs and abilities of children at different ages. Materials include published and unpublished writings, including creative short stories of her youth and extensively researched historical novels of her later years; correspondence; literary manuscripts; memorabilia; drawings; photographs; and autobiographies of maternal grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Brady, and husband, Harry Edward Miller.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Olive Beaupré Miller. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Olive Kennon Beaupré was born in Aurora, Illinois on September 11, 1883 to William S. and Julia (Brady) Beaupré. She received her B.A. from Smith College in 1904 and returned to Aurora to work as an English teacher at East Aurora High School for two years. In spring of 1906 Olive met Harry Edward Miller, a salesman for D. Appleton and Company. Soon after meeting Olive, Harry went to work for Lamson Brothers, a Chicago-based grain brokerage firm. Olive and Harry were married October 2, 1907. Olive took her first trip to Europe in 1908, accompanied by her friend Alene Williams and a tour group, and later by Harry. After returning to the United States, Harry was transferred by Lamson Brothers, to Streator, Illinois, where he and Olive joined the Christian Science Church. In 1912 the Millers moved again when Harry was transferred to Chicago, Illinois. Their daughter, Virginia Beaupré Miller, was born December 30, 1912.

Olive began writing rhymes and stories to entertain her child, and was encouraged by Harry to publish some of her writings. In 1917, the same year the Millers moved to Winnetka, Illinois, P.F. Volland Company published "Sunny Rhymes for Happy Children." P.F. Volland Company published two more of Olive's works, "Come Play with Me" and "Whisk Away on a Sunbeam," in 1918. Olive also published selected stories and poetry in The Christian Science Monitor that year.

In 1919 Olive founded The Book House for Children publishing company with Harry, who had resigned from his job with Lamson Brothers. Olive assumed the title of Editor and published all of her subsequent material either solely through The Book House or through other publishing companies in conjunction with The Book House. On May 8 of the same year Olive had her second child John who died shortly after birth. Olive published the first volume of the My Book House series in 1920 and set to work on the next five volumes. My Book House became the first collection of children's literature which was graded to meet the developing needs and abilities of children at different ages.

The Millers returned to Europe with Virginia in 1923 to collect material in France and Holland for her next series of children's books. The first two volumes of My Travelship: "Nursery Friends from France" and "Little Pictures of Japan," were published in 1925, followed by "Tales Told in Holland" in 1926. In December of 1927 the Millers went to the Eastern Mediterranean where Olive collected material for more books, traveling through Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia.

Olive began publishing the nine volume series A Picturesque Tale of Progress in 1929. She spent the next year making trips to the Southwest U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, and Yucatan. In 1931 she returned to Europe to gather more material in Germany, Austria, and Yugoslavia. In 1933 Engines and Brass Bands was published by Doubleday Doran, and in 1934 Olive revised My Book House, expanding the series from six volumes to twelve.

Her involvement in introducing sex education to public schools at Winnetka, Illinois led Olive to write an article in the June 1934 edition of Childhood Interests, A Digest for Parents and Teachers entitled "How Mothers and Fathers May Tell Children the Facts of Sex," and in 1935 she collaborated with George L. Bird to edit the book How Life Begins.

When Olive and Harry were divorced in May 1935, he resigned his position as President of The Book House. In addition to being Editor, Olive was elected Vice-President by the Board of Directors, who hoped that this post would keep her from pursuing a more managerial role in the company. Olive achieved the position of Chairman of the Board in 1939 and held it until 1954. In 1939 Olive published Heroes, Outlaws and Funny Fellows with Doubleday Doran, and Heroes of the Bible a year later with Dickson Publishing Company.

The Book House for Children was sold to United Educators in 1954, and moved in 1955 to Tangley Oaks at Lake Bluff, Illinois. Olive remained Chairman of the Board in an advisory capacity until she retired in 1962. Then she moved to Tucson, Arizona where she lived with her daughter Virginia (Miller) Read and family until her death on March 25, 1968.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Olive Beaupré Miller Papers consist of five linear feet (twelve document boxes) of notes and research materials, published and unpublished writings, business documents, correspondence, literary manuscripts and typescripts, memorabilia, drawings, and photographs, dating from 1864-1992. The bulk of the material dates from 1894-1958.

The Biographical series fills one box and includes clippings, articles, and unpublished biographical sketches of Olive and other Beaupré and Miller family members. There is also miscellaneous correspondence, Smith College Alumnae material, and photographs. Biographical and genealogical material of other family members appear after material about Olive. Olive transcribed stories that her aunt, Mary Marsh Beaupré, dictated about her uncle, Arthur Matthias Beaupré, who served as Consul-General to Guatemala and U.S. Minister to Colombia, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Cuba. There are also typescripts of autobiographies by her maternal grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Brady, and her husband, Harry Edward Miller.

Miller's writings and related papers make up aproximately one third of the collection. The Writings series consists of both unpublished and published works. The unpublished writings are arranged chronologically, and separated into two parts: the creative short stories and paper dolls of her youth and typescripts of extensively researched historical novels of her later years. Olive's writings and research materials provide a clear chronological progression of her development as a writer and researcher. Her writing displays a strong sense of personal style which can be traced from her childhood writings on. The Paper dolls and drawings are included with the childhood writings because they were an integral part of Olive's early story-making endeavors. She considered the drawings her way of creating stories before she learned the alphabet.

Also of interest in the Writings series is the correspondence between Edwin Read, Jr. and Margaret Pratt concerning sales tactics and the sales women for The Book House. The collection includes a signed, first edition copy of Engines and Brass Bands. Business documents and correspondence relating to published works are filed in the Writings series under each work.

The Notes and Research series is arranged by subject and encompasses approximately two-thirds of the collection (seven boxes). Olive's class notes, mostly of Smith College literature classes, fill one and a half boxes. There are three boxes of material from her last unpublished work, America, Johannes. Much of this is historical accounts of the first Dutch settlers in the United States. There are two boxes of research material for various writings which focus on the history of the Midwest, including maps and brochures from historic sites. In addition, there are notebooks which Olive kept of lists, plot summaries, and reviews of the books she read, dating from 1904 to 1962. Similar summaries are found among the research notes.

Organization of the collection

This collection is organized into three series:

  • I. Biographical
  • II. Writings
  • III. Notes and Research Materials
  • Books on Shelf
  • Oversize Materials

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Olive Beaupré Miller. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Olive Beaupré Miller Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Olive Beaupré Miller's papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection in several installments from 1977 to 1994 by her daughter, Virginia Beaupré (Miller) Read. The first edition of Engines and Brass Bands was donated by Esther Booth Wiley, Class of 1934.

Processing Information

Processed 1995.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List

Contents and notes on material located elsewhere

Box 1: folder 1a
Olive Beaupré Miller

Biographical sketches, clippings, family geneology,

Box 1: folder 1b
East Aurora High School, class of 1900 Golden Anniversary,

Box 1: folder 2
Miscellaneous correspondence and other material,

Box 1
Smith College:

Box 1
Alumnae Association and 1904 Class Secretary: correspondence and printed material,

Box 1: folder 3
Speeches for Class of 1904 30th Reunion, 1934, and Smith College Club in Chicago, Illinois, n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Lorenzo Dow Brady, Arthur Matthia Beaupré, and William S. Beaupré: biographical sketches and typescripts,
ca. 1864-1927

Box 1: folder 5
Arthur Matthias Beaupré: photographs, correspondence, typescript by Olive Beaupré Miller as dictated and edited by Mary Marsh Beaupré,

Box 1: folder 6
Harry Edward Miller: biographical sketch, "Yesterdays of a small town boy" (typescript),

Box 1: folder 7
Photographs: Olive Beaupré Miller,

Box 1: folder 8

[See also Flat File]


Unpublished work

Early writings and notebooks

Paper dolls and other drawings,

Box 2: folder 9
Notebooks of short stories with paper dolls (2 vol),
ca. 1894-95

Box 2: folder 10
Booklet of Poetry,
ca. 1895

Box 2: folder 11
"A Story of the Bacon Rebellion" (manuscript),
ca. 1895

Box 2
"Some Kind of Story" (manuscript),

Box 2
"Claudius" (manuscript),

Box 2

Dominion (typescript),

Box 2: folder 12
The Wind Blows Free, formerly entitled The Land of Escape (typescript),

Box 3: folder 13-14
America, Johannes (typescript),

Box 3: folder 15-19
1951-57, undated

Box 3: folder 20
Published work

The Searchlight: articles,
Jan-Jun 1899

Box 4: folder 21
Engines and Brass Bands


Box 4: folder 22

Box 4: folder 23

Box 4: folder 24
Heroes of the Bible

Business documents,

Box 4: folder 25

Box 4: folder 26

Box 4: folder 27

Box 4: folder 28
Heroes, Outlaws and Funny Fellows

Business documents,

Box 4: folder 29

Box 4: folder 30

Box 4: folder 31
Research material,

Box 4: folder 32

Box 4: folder 33
Junior Instructor,

Box 4: folder 34
Poetry copyright material,

Box 4: folder 35
"When Blue Sky Smiles": correspondence,

Box 4: folder 36
My Book House

Alterations--new material,

Box 5: folder 37

From Elizabeth Chmiel about dispute over "The Little Engine That Could" rights,

Box 5: folder 38
Margaret Pratt (a.k.a. "Pratty") to Edwin Lewis Read, Jr.,

Box 5: folder 39
Curriculum guides,

Box 5: folder 40

Box 5: folder 41
1920, 1951, 1958

Box 5: folder 42
Packet of letters to Olive Beaupré Miller on 30th anniversary of My Book House,

Box 5: folder 43
Notebook of reviews,

Box 5: folder 43a
A Picturesque Tale of Progress: notebook of reviews,

Box 5: folder 43b

Smith College Materials

Class Notes,
ca. 1900-04

Box 6: folder 44-51
Class Notes,
ca. 1900-04

Box 7: folder 52-54
Finished Papers and notes for Literature Classes (manuscripts),

Box 7: folder 55
Lists and plot summaries

Plot summaries of books read,
ca. 1904-06, undated

Box 7: folder 56-58
Books read listed by author (in address book),

Box 7: folder 59
Lists and plot summaries of books read ,

Box 7: folder 59a
America, Johannes

Notes on Epic of America by James Truslow Adams

Box 8: folder 60
Geneology of Jans Anneke

Box 8: folder 61-62
De Lancey family

Box 8: folder 63
Material on manors, Philipses, Schuylers, Van der Doncks

Box 8: folder 64
Lamb family

Box 8: folder 65-66
Narrative of New Netherland, Stuyvesant

Box 8: folder 67
Lamb family, New Netherland

Box 8: folder 68-69
"Used material" for America, Johannes

Box 9: folder 70-73
Notes for American, Johannes

Box 9: folder 74
"Used material" for chapters 23-24

Box 9: folder 75
Source material on Guiana and Tobago incidents

Box 9: folder 76
Guiana and South America

Box 10: folder 77
Human body and medicine

Box 10: folder 78
Kidd, Valentine

Box 10: folder 79
Pilgrims, Riker

Box 10: folder 80
Dirck Corssen Stam

Box 10: folder 81
Ships, Weddings

Box 10: folder 82
Used Notes for America, J.--Landy from Ryher

Box 10: folder 83-84
"Midwestern Material"

Miscellaneous book material

Box 11: folder 85
Central and Southern Illinois

Box 11: folder 86
Foreign settlements

Box 11: folder 87

Box 11: folder 88-89

Box 12: folder 90
Miscellaneous material

Box 12: folder 91
Mississippi Valley

Box 12: folder 92

Box 12: folder 93
Natchez, New Orleans

Box 12: folder 94
Nationalities and races

Box 12: folder 95
New Harmony, Indiana

Box 12: folder 96
Ohio and Ohio River

Box 12: folder 97
St. Genevieve, Missouri

Box 13: folder 98
Notes on Society in America by Harriet Martineau

Box 13: folder 99
Timothy Dexter

Box 13: folder 100
Vincinnes, Indiana

Box 13: folder 101

Box 13: folder 102

Olive Beaupré Miller and The Book House for Children, Dorothy Loring Taylor

Engines and Brass Bands, Olive Beaupré Miller


3 oversize photographs of Olive Beaupré Miller,

Flat file
2 maps

Fox River Valley, Wisconsin, historic sites,

Flat file
Northeastern states road map,

Flat file
Mississippi Valley travel brochure,

Flat file
Article re: Heber Jeddy Grant, Chicago Tribune,

Flat file
Book jacket for Engines and Brass Bands,

Flat file

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Beaupré family
  • Beaupré, Arthur, 1853-
  • Book House for Children (Chicago, Ill.)--History--Sources
  • Brady, Lorenzo Dow, 1810-1892
  • Children's literature, American--History--Sources
  • Children's literature--Authorship--Sources
  • Dutch--United States--History--Sources
  • Education, Elementary-United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Middle West--History--Sources
  • Miller, Harry Edward, 1878-1952
  • Miller, Olive Beaupré
  • Miller, Olive Beaupré. My book house.
  • Publishers and publishing--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Smith College--Students--History--Sources
  • Women in the professions--United States--History--20th century--Sources

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