Frank J. Miller
Frank justus miller 1938

Full name

Frank Justus Miller

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Academy period staff

Frank Justus Miller was "non-resident principal" of Shimer College during the first year of the Academy period, 1896-1897. Traditionally his role is equated to that of president, while the role of "resident principal" Ida Gardner is equated to that of academic dean; however, the actual arrangements of this one-year period do not really correspond to any other time in the school's history.

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Brief descriptionEdit

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Frank Justus Miller was a leading American classicist, translator, and university administrator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was interim president of Shimer College from 1896 to 1897. He authored the Loeb Classical Library translations of Seneca and of Ovid's Metamorphoses, was president of the American Classical League from 1922 to 1934, and served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Chicago from 1911 to 1923.

Early life and educationEdit

Miller was born on November 26, 1858, in Clinton, Tennessee. His father was a Baptist minister, James W. Miller.[1] He obtained his AB degree from Denison University in 1879, and took up the career of a Latin instructor, teaching at Clinton College for a year while continuing his studies, completing his master's degree in 1882.[1]

From 1881 to 1887, he served as the vice principal of the high school in Plainfield, New Jersey. During this period, on July 10, 1883, he married Lida Willett. He subsequently worked as a Latin instructor at the Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1887 to 1890.[2]

Miller received his Ph.D. at Yale in 1892. His dissertation was on "The Latinity of the Younger Pliny".[2]


While completing his Ph.D. at Yale, Miller became acquainted with William Rainey Harper, then a professor of Semitic languages. Harper left Yale in 1891 to become the first president of the University of Chicago, and subsequently offered Miller a job at the new University of Chicago. Miller accepted the offer, becoming an instructor of Latin and assistant examiner, and worked at the U of C until his retirement. He was remembered as "one of the most versatile and influential" of the members of the original U of C faculty who spent their careers at the university.[1]

Miller published influential translations of Ovid, Virgil and Seneca. Miller's approach to Ovid for the Loeb Classical Library edition of the Metamorphoses was considered regressive even in its time,[3] but inspired later translators in the same mold, such as A.E. Watts.[4] In 1908, Miller published two adaptations for the stage of "Dido: The Phoenician Queen" and "The Fall of Troy", both based on passages in Virgil's Aeneid.[1]

For much of his University of Chicago career, Miller was charged with special responsibility for the university's affiliations program. He served as examiner for affiliations from 1892 to 1898 and "dean of affiliations" from 1898 to 1904.[1] In this capacity, he served as "non-resident principal" of the Frances Shimer Academy, which later became Shimer College, through the 1896-1897 academic year, between the presidencies of Frances Shimer and William Parker McKee.

As the affiliations program originally envisioned by Harper was gradually scaled back, Miller's title changed from Dean of Affiliations to Examiner for Secondary Schools, a position he held from 1904 to 1911.[1] Miller became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1911, holding that position until 1923.[1] He retired from the university in 1925, but continued to hold visiting professorships at universities throughout the Midwest until his death.[5]

Miller held leadership positions outside the University as well, serving as president of the American Classical League from 1922 to 1934.[1] He was also assistant chief editor of the Standard American Encyclopedia, although this was not published until 1940, after his death.[1]

Miller's translations and writings on Virgil led to a chairmanship of a planning committee for the 1930 Bimillenarium Vergilianum, which was sponsored by the American Classical League, of which he was serving as president.[1] His work for the Bimillenarium earned him the Order of the Crown of Italy.[1]

In retirement, Miller moved to Denver, Colorado.[5] He died on April 23, 1938, while visiting his daughter in Norwalk, Connecticut.[5]


  • Studies in Roman Poetry (1901)
  • A Second Latin Book (1902) (with Charles Beeson)
  • Two Dramatizations from Vergil (1908)


  • Selected Works of Vergil (1892)
  • Selected Works of Ovid (1900)
  • Dido, An Epic Tragedy (1900)
  • The Tragedies of Seneca (1907)
  • Ovid: Metamophoses (Loeb Classical Library) (1916-1917)
  • Seneca: Tragedies (Loeb Classical Library) (1917)

Works citedEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Lattimer 413.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lattimer 414.
  3. Susan Petrilli (2003). Translation, Translation. p. 495. 
  4. "The Metamorphoses of Ovid: An English version by A. E. Watts". Phoenix 8: 81. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Prof. F.J. Miller, Educator, Writer". New York Times. 1938-04-24. 


(not yet consulted)

  • Walter Miller, Vergilius 1 (1938) 42-3
  • Who Was Who in America vol. 1 1943, p. 841


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