Biographical Chronology

1895   On 8 January, John William Miller is born in Rochester, New York, to Minnie R. and John Miller.

1912   Miller begins undergraduate studies at Harvard University.

1913   For financial reasons, Miller transfers to the University of Rochester for his sophomore and junior years of college.

1915   Returns to Harvard for his senior year and takes at least one course with Josiah Royce.

1916   Miller receives his A. B. from Harvard University and returns to Rochester where he works for the Rochester Electric Company.

1917   Declaring himself a conscientious objector, Miller volunteers for the American ambulance corps and serves in France with Base Hospital 44.

1919   Begins graduate studies in philosophy at Harvard University where he studies under Professors Ralph Barton Perry, Edwin Bissell Holt, William Ernest Hocking, and Clarence Irving Lewis, among others.

1921   Miller receives his M. A. in philosophy and begins his dissertation under the direction of Hocking.

1922   "The Definition of the Thing" is presented to the Harvard philosophy faculty and Miller earns his Ph. D. In the autumn, Miller takes a position teaching philosophy at Connecticut College.

1923   Miller and Katherine S. Gisel are married.

1924   Comes to Williams College and takes a position in the Philosophy Department.

1925   Eugene R. Miller is born.

1928   Paul J. W. Miller is born.

1931   Miller is named chairman of the Williams Philosophy Department, a post he holds through 1955.

1935   "The Paradox of Cause" is published in The Journal of Philosophy.

1937   "Accidents Will Happen" is published in The Journal of Philosophy.

1938   Takes a visiting appointment for the academic year at the University of Minnesota; the leave from Williams College is precipitated by a larger campus dispute between faculty members and Williams College President Tyler Dennett. During this year, Miller meets Professor Alburey Castell of the University of Minnesota Philosophy Department, with whom he enjoys an extended philosophical correspondence.

1943   Eugene Miller is inducted into the army. Miller Submits "Idealism and Freedom" to The Philosophical Review for publication; the essay is rejected.

1944   Signs a contract with W. W. Norton & Company to publish his Harvard dissertation. (The contract is only put into effect after Miller's death.) Eugene Miller is wounded in action in France.

1945   Miller is named Mark Hopkins Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, a title previously held by his one-time colleague and predecessor as Department Chairman, James Bissett Pratt.

1948   "History and Humanism" is read before the Harvard Philosophy Club and "Freedom as a Characteristic of Man in a Democratic Society" is read before a meeting of the American Political Science Association in Chicago.

1950   Paul Miller is drafted into the army.

1951   "The Midworld" is read before the Harvard Philosophy Club. "The Scholar as Man of the World" is read before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Hobart College at the College's commencement.

1953   Paul Miller is discharged from the army and remains in Europe. In November, Miller and Katherine sail to Europe and meet their son Paul in Italy.

1954   Miller and Katherine continue their vacation in Europe and return to the States in July.

1955   Steps down as chair of the Philosophy Department.

1960   Miller retires from teaching and the Williams College Philosophy Department. Mr. Barry S. Wolff (Williams College Class of 1935) and others establish the John William Miller Fund and set aside monies to fund the John William Miller Prize in Philosophy, a book award to be given to a senior chosen by the chair of the Philosophy Department.

1961   "The Ahistoric and the Historic" is published as an Afterword to a volume of translated essays by José Ortega y Gasset, History as a System and Other Essays Toward a Philosophy of History.

1978   The Paradox of Cause and Other Essays is published by W. W. Norton & Company. Miller dies on 25 December.

1979   Miller is buried in Westlawn Cemetery just west of the Williams College campus.

John William Miller Papers, 1916-1978