George Washington Carver Correspondence Collection

Photograph of Carver in his lab, autographed to Paul R. Miller, 1938.

Introduction

The George Washington Carver Correspondence Collection comprises six pieces of correspondence along with an autographed photograph of Carver. The correspondence consists of several letters and a photograph that were exchanged between Carver and his friend and colleague Paul R. Miller between 1932 and 1938. There are also two letters from author Rackham Holt to Miller after Carver’s death in 1943 regarding Miller’s contributions to a Carver biography.

Paul R. Miller’s sons, Peter P. Miller and Richard W. Miller, donated the correspondence and photograph to the National Agricultural Library’s Special Collections in 2008. Special Collections staff member Emily Somach completed the finding aid for the collection in 2018.

Biographical Sketch

George Washington Carver (1864-1943), farmer, agricultural chemist, and educator, dedicated his life to agricultural research. He developed crop-rotation methods for conserving nutrients in the soil. He also created new uses for peanut and sweet potato crops, which helped to improve the agricultural economy of the southern United States. Carver was the first African American to serve on the faculty of Iowa State University. He spent most of his career as director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute. Beginning in 1935, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as a collaborator in the Division of Plant Mycology.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence between George Washington Carver and his friend Paul R. Miller, who was a former Agricultural Research Service scientist. There are three handwritten letters dated 1932 and 1933 from Carver to Miller, and a reply from Miller dated 1932 regarding rust specimens. A signed portrait from Carver to Miller (1938) is included. Additionally, there are two typed letters dated 1943 from Rackham Holt to Miller. Holt, who was the author of George Washington Carver: An American Biography, wrote to Miller about his contribution to the book regarding Carver's standing in the scientific world.

Container List

George Washington Carver Correspondence Collection. 1 box.
Box Folder Description Date(s)
1 1 Correspondence between Carver and Paul R. Miller regarding rust specimens 1932
1 2 Letter from Carver to Paul R. Miller regarding collecting specimens together 1933
1 3 Photograph of Carver in laboratory autographed to Paul R. Miller 1938
1 4 Two letters from Rackham Holt to Paul R. Miller regarding biographical information on Carver for Holt’s book 1943

Selected Bibliography

Related Collections at the National Agricultural Library

George Washington Carver Collection, 1920-1996. Manuscript Collection 226.

U.S. National Fungus Collections Topical Files, 1850-1977. Manuscript Collection 454.