Miller, Gerrit S. (Gerrit Smith), 1869-1956

Alternative names
Birth 1869-12-06
Death 1956-02-24

Biographical notes:

Gerrit Smith Miller, Jr., (1869-1956) was born in Peterboro, New York, on December 6, 1869, and grew up on a large estate in central New York. In this relatively isolated setting and through the influence of his great uncle, an ornithologist, Miller developed an early interest in natural history. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1894, Miller joined the Biological Survey in the Department of Agriculture and worked under Clinton Hart Merriam. In 1898 he joined the United States National Museum as Assistant Curator of Mammals and in 1909 became Curator of that Division. He continued in that position until 1940 when he retired and remained as an Associate in biology at the Smithsonian Institution until his death on February 24, 1956.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Field Book Project: Person : Description : rid_475_pid_EACP472

Gerrit Smith Miller (1845-1937) was a New York politician and dairy farmer. His father was Charles D. Miller (1818-1896); through his mother Elizabeth Smith (1822-1911) he was the grandson of New York reformer, philanthropist and abolitionist Gerrit Smith.

Gerrit Smith Miller was one of the early importers of Holsteins from Holland (following the example of a neighbor, Winthrop W. Chenery) and maintained the oldest purebred Holstein herd in the United States from 1869 to 1937. Many of the 1.8 million animals registered in the Holstein-Freisian book today descend from Miller's Kriemhild herd. He was also one of the first to approach dairy farming scientifically, keep daily year-round records of milk production in his effort to increase yields. Miller was also a member of the New York State legislature, and was involved with the George Junior Republic, a boys' school founded by American philanthropist William Reuben George in 1909.

He and his wife, Susan Hunt Dixwell, had three sons: Gerrit Smith Jr. (1869- ?), Basil Dixwell (1873- ?) and William Fitzhugh (1878-1890).

A genealogy of the Smith family is available here (if online) or at the end of this finding aid (if in hard copy).

From the guide to the Gerrit Smith Miller Papers, 1869-1913, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


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  • New York State
  • Zoology
  • Dairy farmers--New York (State)
  • Politics, government and public administration
  • Dairy farming--New York (State)
  • Legislators--New York (State)
  • Mammals
  • Bats


  • Dairy farmers
  • Legislators


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