Barbara S. Miller Papers, 1915-1995

Accession: 2011-017
Extent: 1.25 linear feet
Restrictions: None
Copyright: Copyright for some materials has been transferred to the University of Louisville


Barbara S. Miller, a Louisville resident, became a children’s librarian in 1951 at the racially segregated Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. Several years later, with a colleague, she integrated the professional staff at the Main Branch, ultimately advancing to Director of Children's Services. Miller gained early community-wide notoriety as the "Storytelling Lady" on the popular local children's television show T-Bar-V Ranch. After retirement in 1978 Miller served as President of the Kentucky Library Association, a member of the Spalding University Overseers (she was an alumna of Spalding) and the Speed Museum Board, and was active in several other local organizations. In 1987-1988, she was both an interviewer and subject on a grant funded oral history project on the Louisville Free Public Library. (Those interviews are part of the Oral History Center in the University Archives and Records Center.)

In the 1990s Miller developed an extensive narrated slide presentation on the life of pioneering Black American missionary to Africa William H. Sheppard. In 1975 she visited European libraries as part of an American delegation and in 1979 traveled more extensively to the Soviet Union to study children’s services. Barbara S. Miller died in Louisville on March 26, 2000 at age 90 and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery.

Brief Description of the Collection

The Barbara Miller Papers include biographical and genealogical materials, professional papers documenting her library work and service on several community boards, and a few items documenting the lives of her husband, Rowland Miller, and mother Vivian Simmons. There are extensive narratives and photographic materials chronicling her trip to the Soviet Union and a lesser amount on her trip to Europe. Both the slides and accompanying script for her lecture on William H. Sheppard are also found along with several unframed awards and diplomas. Finally, there are a goodly number of photographs of Miller, her husband Rowland, friends, and family members (including the Rabb family) spanning nearly eighty years.

Related Materials

See also University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville, Oral History Center interview 1989-29 for February, 1988 interview with Barbara Miller.

Box List

Box 1

  • Folder 1. Correspondence 1990, 1998
  • Folder 2. Early Pages of Large Print Holy Bible, 1973, Pages of Family History (Photocopies)
  • Folder 3. "William H. Sheppard: Celebrating an American Hero," Slide Presentation and Information, undated
  • Folder 4. Librarians Oral History, 1987-1988
  • Folder 5. Spalding University Board of Overseers File, 1996-2000
  • Folder 6. Speed Art Museum, 1998-1999
    • Speed Art Museum Board
    • Speed Museum Nominating Committee 1996-1997
    • Speed Support Committee
  • Folder 7. Links Black Artists' Exhibit, 1978-1987
  • Folder 8. KLA Annual Conference Program (Miller Presiding), 1979
  • Folder 9. Miller Bio and Clippings
    • "Louisville's 'Story Lady' Tells Her Story"(2 pp.), Spalding University Alumni News, Spring, 1990
    • "Women of Distinction," The New Voice, April 18, 1990
    • "800 Loses Power," Courier-Journal, September 16, 1992
    • "Shawnee Library Helps To Explore Missionary's Life," Courier-Journal, February 18, 1998 (2 copies)
    • "Congo Connection," Courier-Journal, September 20, 1998
    • Miller Obituaries, Courier-Journal, March 26 & 29, 2000
    • "The Miller Collection," Courier-Journal, May 28, 2000
    • Runyon, Keith L., "The People's Library," Courier-Journal, undated
  • Folder 10. Vivian Simmons Award (2)
  • Folder 11. A Taste for the Beautiful: Zairian Art from the Hampton University Museum (1993) 116 pages. (Appears to have been presented to Ms. Miller in 1999 by Ruth B. Bryant.)
  • Folder 12. Miller Account of 1979 Trip to Russia
  • Folder 13. Miller Correspondence from USSR, 1979
  • Folder 14. Itinerary and Announcement on Trip to USSR, 1979
  • Folder 15. Briefing Papers from 1979 Trip to USSR
  • Folder 16. ALA Report of 1979 Trip to Russia
  • Folder 17. Miller Academic Paper on Library Tours European Countries, 1975
  • Folder 18. Diplomas
    • Barbara Simmons Miller Diplomas, University of Michigan, Bachelor of Public School Music, 1933; Nazareth College, Bachelor of Science in Library Science, 1951; Nazareth College, Master of Education, 1957
    • Rowland and Barbara Miller Diplomas, Central High School 1923 and 1927, Louisville Colored Normal School, 1929 (oversized at rear of box)
  • Folder 19. Miscellaneous Unframed Awards and Distinctions, 1968-1999
  • Folder 20. 1990 Women of Distinction Awards Program and Accompanying Video. A program of the Center for Women and Families. Ms. Miller was one of 8 award recipients. Program includes brief biographical sketch of Ms. Miller.
  • Folder 21. Photos:
    • Barbara and Rowland Miller
    • Vivian Simmons, Barbara's Mother
    • 800 Apartment Building, 800 South Fourth Street
    • Miller's Grill (Interior)
    • Maurice and Jewell Rabb Family (Jewell was Rowland Miller's sister)
    • Group Photos
    • Unidentified Photos
  • Folder 22. Miller Slide Program Script for 1979 Trip to Soviet Union
  • Folder 23. Slide Photos from 1979 Trip to Soviet Union (separate small box)