Jump to content

Harry Willis Miller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Harry Willis Miller
BornJuly 1, 1879
DiedJanuary 1, 1977
Occupation(s)Physician, Seventh-day Adventist missionary

Harry Willis Miller (July 1, 1879 – January 1, 1977) was an American physician, thyroid surgeon and Seventh-day Adventist missionary. Miller was a vegetarian and pioneer in the development of soy milk.[1]


Miller was born in Ludlow Falls, Ohio on July 1, 1879.[2] He graduated M.D. from the American Medical Missionary College in Battle Creek, in 1902.[2][3] Miller studied at Rush Medical College and authored an article on blastomycetes in the Journal of Dermatology in 1903.[4] With his wife Maude Thompson Miller, he went to Shanghai in 1903. She died less than two years later from sprue.[4] Miller married Marie Iverson in 1908 and he remained in China until 1956.[3] With Arthur Selmon, he established The Gospel Herald, which was renamed to Chinese Seventh-Day Adventist Press. It was moved to Shanghai in 1909, and in 1911 was renamed to the Signs of the Times Publishing House.[5] He specialized in surgery and as a missionary generalist. He served as a leader of the SDA Church in China.[3] It is estimated that Miller performed 6,000 thyroid operations.[6]

He served as superintendent of the China Mission in Shanghai (1908-1909) and established the China Training Institute in Chouchiakou.[4] He returned to the United States in 1911. Miller was medical director and secretary of Washington Sanitarium (1913–1925).[4] He returned to China in 1925 and managed the Shanghai Hospital and Sanitarium. Miller researched the production of soy milk and published an article in the Chinese Medical Journal on a soy infant formula in 1936.[4] Miller is credited in 1936 with starting the first production of soy milk in Shanghai.[7]

Miller returned to the United States in 1939. He was medical director of Mount Vernon Hospital and established the International Nutrition Laboratory to produce soy products.[4] With his son he formed the International Nutrition Foundation on a 140-acre farm in Mount Vernon.[1] The soy farm produced canned and malted soy milk. His first American soy milk product was known as Soyalac in 1941.[1]

Miller administered hospitals in Shanghai, Hankou and Hubei. He established the Taiwan Adventist Hospital in 1949.[3] He sold his factory, land, and soy milk products to Loma Linda Foods in 1951. Loma Linda Foods was owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[8] However, Miller continued to conduct research in at Loma Linda Food factory in La Sierra until his death.[2] In 1956, he was awarded the Blue Star of China by Chiang Kai-shek.[3] In 1960, Miller helped in forming the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital.[6] In total there were 19 hospitals that Miller was instrumental in starting all over the Far East.[2]

A biography of Miller was published in 1961.[9] Miller died in Riverside, California on January 1, 1977.[2]


Miller stated that he became a vegetarian for its health and longevity aspects.[10] He was a pioneer in popularizing soy milk as a satisfactory substitute for animal milk and making it available to feed the poor in areas where there was no cow's milk.[6][11] He conducted research on vegetarian meat substitutes and proteins. He was influential in bringing soy-based foods to the United States.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Way to Health (1920)
  • Tuberculosis: A Curable Disease (1954)


  1. ^ a b c d "Dr. Harry W. Miller: Work with Soy". Soyinfo Center.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Harry Willis Miller, M. D. (1879- 1977)". Chinese SDA History.
  3. ^ a b c d e Staples, Russell L. (1997). Miller, Harry W(illis). In Gerald H. Anderson. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 458-459. ISBN 0-8028-4680-7
  4. ^ a b c d e f Land, Gary. (2005). The A to Z of the Seventh-Day Adventists. Scarecrow Press. pp. 192-193. ISBN 978-0-8108-6826-7
  5. ^ Clart, Philip; Scott, Gregory, eds. (2015). Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China: 1800-2012. Boston: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-1-61451-499-2. Retrieved 2024-05-13 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c "Dr. Harry W. Miller, 'China Doctor,' Dies". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Trinh, Dianne Thuy. (2001). Using Developed Laboratory Procedures for Discriminating Potential of Selected Michigan-grown Soybean Varieties for Soymilk and Tofu Production. Michigan State University. Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. p. 17
  8. ^ Shurtleff, William; Aoyagi, Akiko. (2010). History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Southeast Asia. Soyinfo Center. p. 858. ISBN 978-1-928914-30-3
  9. ^ Yoder, Franklin D. (1961). "China Doctor: The Life Story of Harry Willis Miller". JAMA. 177 (10): 730–731. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040360066027.
  10. ^ Peterson, Robert. (1967). New Life Begins at Forty. Trident Press. p. 129
  11. ^ Walker, Joseph. (1973). Hong Kong Who's Who: An Almanac of Personalities and Their Comprehensive Histories. Rola Luzzatto. p. 320

Further reading[edit]

  • Raymond S. Moore. (1961). China Doctor: The Life Story of Harry Willis Miller. Harper & Bros.
  • Robert Peterson. (1961). Interview with Harry Willis Miller. Pascagoula Chronicle-Star and Moss Point Advertiser.