Harriet Mann Miller

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Harriet Mann Miller
Portrait of Olive Thorne Miller.jpg
Harriet Mann Miller
Born (1831-06-25)June 25, 1831
Auburn, New York
Died December 25, 1918(1918-12-25) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California
Pen name Olive Thorne Miller
Nationality American
Subject nature, birds

Harriet Mann Miller (25 June 1831 – 25 December 1918), also known under the pseudonym Olive Thorne Miller, was an American naturalist, ornithologist and children's writer.

Career overview[edit]

Harriet was the eldest of four children born to Seth Hunt Mann and Mary Field (Holbrook) Mann in Auburn, New York on 25 June 1831.[1] Miller began writing in childhood.[1] When Harriet was eleven years old, the Mann family moved to Ohio, where she attended private schools for five years.[2]

In 1854 she married Watts Todd Miller, and the couple would have four children. From 1858 and 1869 she put aside writing in order to raise her children.[3] The couple lived in Chicago, Illinois, and after about 1875, in Brooklyn, New York.[1]

Miller's first article for children, on the making of china, was published in 1870. She went on to publish 375 articles in religious weeklies and other publications, among them Harper's Weekly, St. Nicholas Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.[4] Her first book about nature, Little Folks in Feathers and Fur, and Others in Neither, appeared in the mid-1870s.[1] Her first use of the pseudonym Olive Thorne Miller was in 1879.[1][5]

In 1880 she became an avid bird watcher, introduced to the study of birds by Sara A. Hubbard, director of the Illinois Audubon Society.[3][4][6] Miller studied captive birds, as well as birds in the wild in a series of field trips across the country during the period 1883–1903.[7] The first of eleven bird-related books, Bird Ways, appeared in 1885.[7] In addition to writing on birds and their behavior, she contributed to the journal of the Audubon Society.[8] She was a proponent of the movement to prevent hunting of birds for use of their plumes in the millinery trade.[8] In 1901, along with Mabel Osgood Wright and Florence Merriam Bailey, Miller became one of the first three women raised to elective membership in the American Ornithologists' Union.[9]

Across her writing career, Miller produced an estimated 780 articles, one booklet on birds, and 24 complete books.[10] Her work was acknowledged by professional biologists for its highly accurate research and observation.[1]

After the death of her husband in 1904, Miller moved to Los Angeles, California.[3] Miller died in Los Angeles on 25 December 1918.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

Illustration by Charles Bevalet (originally from Ocean World : Being a Descriptive History of the Sea and its Living Inhabitants (1868) in Little Folks in Feathers and Fur, and Others in Neither


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Solomon, Geri E. (1997). "Miller, Harriet Mann". In Sterling, Keir B.; Harmond, Richard P.; Cevasco, George A.; Hammond, Lorne F. Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-23047-1. 
  2. ^ Bailey (1919), pp. 163–164.
  3. ^ a b c Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey; Harvey, Joy D. (2000), The biographical dictionary of women in science, L – Z, 2, Taylor & Francis, p. 897, ISBN 041592040X. 
  4. ^ a b Bailey (1919), p. 165.
  5. ^ Anderson, Lorraine; Edwards, Thomas S. (2002), At Home on This Earth: Two Centuries of U. S. Women's Nature Writing, UPNE, p. 54, ISBN 1584651938. 
  6. ^ Weeks, Linton. "Hats off to women who saved the birds". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Bailey (1919), p. 166.
  8. ^ a b Merchant, Carolyn (2005), The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History, Columbia University Press, p. 225, ISBN 0231505841. 
  9. ^ Sage, John H. (January 1902). "Nineteenth Congress of the American Ornithologists' Union" (PDF). The Auk. 19 (1): 64–69. doi:10.2307/4069208. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Bailey (1919), p. 168.


External links[edit]