Robert D. Miller papers, [ca. 1933-1998]
Collection Number: 21-13-3960

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


Robert D. Miller papers, [ca. 1933-1998]
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Collection Number:
Collection includes personal and professional materials regarding his travels and work at Cornell
Miller, R. D. (Robert Demorest), 1919-2011.
Cornell University. Dean of Faculty
6.3 cubic feet.
Collection material in English


Professor of Soil Science. Robert Demorest Miller grew up in Columbia, Mo., earned a B.S. from the University of Missouri in 1940, an M.S. from the University of Nebraska in 1941, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1948. During 1944-1945, he served as an air traffic and air defense controller in the Pacific in the Army Air Corps. On August 28, 1945, he was a member of a small advance party sent to Atsugi Air Base near Tokyo to prepare for the major American landings beginning the occupation of Japan. Shortly after landing, he raised the first American flag over Japan, on the radio mast of a C-47, two days before American combat troops began the actual armed occupation. He wrote about his wartime experiences in the book: "Descent from Niitaka, 1941-1945: First Flag Over Japan." After the war, he worked at the University of California at Berkeley, returning to Cornell in 1952 where he remained until his retirement in 1987. From 1964 to 1965, he served as assistant to the Provost Dale Corson and from 1967 to 1971 as dean of the faculty, in which position he played a role in the peaceful resolution of the Cornell '69 crisis, remaining a lifelong friend of President James Perkins. He is considered by his colleagues to be a "Founding Father" of soil physics. Robert Miller died on April 11, 2011.


Collection includes personal and family materials including an "auto log" travel diary kept by Miller's mother Flora Grace Ernst Miller from the family's 1933-1934 trip to Germany; materials relating to Miller's World War II experiences and the preparation of his book about them titled Descent from Niitaka; a letter to the Committee on the Armed Services regarding his perspectives on gays in the military; correspondence as Dean of the Faculty and later (to 1975); Cornell '69 materials; scientific correspondence, 1975-2010; materials relating to trips to Russia, 1973 and 1982; letters from James Perkins; slides and photograph albums from scientific trips; and publications and conference papers. course preparation material; material, photos, and slides relating to trips to Takutsk, Moscow, and others; awards; also business correspondence; publications and reprints.


See also the Robert D. Miller. Oral Histories, #13-6-1285 and Merritt Miller papers, #4583.

Separated Materials

Books Removed From Collection, Cataloged Separately:
  1. Perkins, A. James. The University in A Restless Decade. New York, NY: The International Council for Educational Development, 1972.
  2. Miller, D. Robert. Descent from Niitaka 1941-1945 First Flag over Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cayuga Press, 2002
  3. Rossiter, S. Caleb. The Chimes of Freedom Flashing. Washington, DC.: TCA Press, 1996
  4. Alexis Lawrence Romanoff. The University Campus. Ithaca, NY: The Cayuga Press, 1960, Inscribed by the author to the Miller family with laid in Romanoff business card and verse written for the Cornell Centennial.
  5. The 1902 Cornellian the Book of the Junior Class. Cornell University, 1901


Cite As:

Robert D. Miller papers, #21-13-3960. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
Access Restrictions:

Oral history may be restricted in part.See transcript for restrictions.


Miller, Flora Grace Ernst.
Miller, R. D. (Robert Demorest), 1919-2011.
Perkins, James Alfred, 1911-1998.
New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Japan -- History -- Allied occupation, 1945-1952.
Willard Straight Hall takeover, 1969.
College Students -- Political activity.
Russia -- Description and travel.
Germany -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945.
Germany -- Description and travel.
Soil science.
Military meteorologists -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
Airmen -- United States.

Series I. Cornell University Material and Correspondence
Material and Correspondence on Cornell '69
Box 1 Folder 1
Events of 1969 at Cornell
Scope and Contents
Contains disks, photos, journals, and notes
Box 1 Folder 2
Cornell Post '69 Materials 1
Scope and Contents
Cornell '69 Liberalism and the Crisis of the American University by Donald A. Downs, with comments by R.D. Miller
Box 1 Folder 3
Cornell Post '69 Materials 2
Scope and Contents
Newspaper Clippings about '69 and Letter Correspondence with Cornell Faculties
Box 1 Folder 4
Cornell Post '69 Materials 3
Scope and Contents
The Chimes of Freedom Flashing by Caleb S. Rossiter. Removed and catalogued separately.
Box 1 Folder 5
Cornell Post '69 Materials 4
Scope and Contents
Transcript of Statement, Correspondence James Perkins (1995), and others
Box 1 Folder 6
Cornell Post '69 Materials 5
Scope and Contents
Includes"A Failure to Communicate: James Perkins, COSEP, and Black Power at Cornell" Honors Thesis by Eric Rauchway and An Article by Keith R. Johnson
Box 1 Folder 7
Cornell Post '69 Materials 6
Scope and Contents
Miscellany, contains calender (1967-1968),a thesis draft by unknown author, Cornell University Student Faculty Board on Student Conduct Notice of Hearing(1968), a photo, notes, and a letter from Davis (2003)
Box 1 Folder 8
Cornell '69 Post-event
Box 1 Folder 9
Cornell '69 More Post-event Materials: Downs, Rossiter, others
Box 1 Folder 10
Collection of Newspaper on the 20th Anniversary of the Willard Straight Hall Takeover and Speech Draft
Box 1 Folder 11
WSH 1989, 1, WSH Aftermath
Box 1 Folder 12
WSH 1989, 2
Box 1 Folder 13
WSH 1989, 3
Scope and Contents
Newspaper and Journal Collection
Box 1 Folder 14
General Legislation of the University Faculty and Extracts from Its Records
Box 6 Folder 7
Materials Relating to Cornell in 1969
Scope and Contents
Includes a private letter to his brothers and sisters describing his perspective on the situation, correspondence, clippings, Newsweek magazine, speeches, Henderson Commission information
Box 6 Folder 8
Oral history
Scope and Contents
Transcript of an oral history interview conducted by Gould P. Colman as part of the Challenge to Governance Project. With index and correspondence regarding the oral history and its restrictions. See also archives 13-6-1285 for the audio tapes.
Box 6 Folder 9
Cornell 1969 legacy materials
Scope and Contents
Includes information and correspondence regarding the death of Perkins, Perkins prize, Ari Van Tienhoven Tom Jones, DVD-1764 of "Cornell 1969: Key Issues Then and Now. A University Faculty Forum, 3 May 1999, Kennedy Hall;" "The 30th Anniversary of WSH Takeover" panel discussion, Memorial Room, Willard Straight Hall, 19 April 1999, the DVD also includes relevant news clippings. Also a copy of a 1978 letter sent to Perkins from the President of Oberlin College Robert Fuller about increasing enrollment of black students that Perkins forwarded to Miller in 1995.
James Perkins
Box 1 Folder 15
Copy of Correspondence of James A. Perkins and Robert D. Miller
Box 1 Folder 16
Correspondence with James A. Perkins
Box 1 Folder 17
Correspondence between James A. Perkins and John R. Silber (President of Boston University), and Newspaper Clippings about Them
Box 1 Folder 18
Invitations, Photos, and Pamphlets for James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Understanding and Harmony
Series II. Correspondence (Academic, Scientific, and Personal)
Box 1 Folder 19
Correspondence with Cornell University and Some Other Institutions
Box 1 Folder 20
Scientific Correspondence with Dean of Faculty
1967-Spring 1971
Box 1 Folder 21
Fall 1971
Box 1 Folder 22
Spring 1972
Box 1 Folder 23
Spring 1973
Box 1 Folder 24
Fall 1973
Box 1 Folder 25
Spring 1974
Box 1 Folder 26
Fall 1974
Box 2 Folder 1
Spring 1975
Box 2 Folder 2
Fall 1975
Box 2 Folder 3
Spring 1976
Box 2 Folder 4
Fall 1976
Box 2 Folder 5
Spring 1977
Box 2 Folder 6
Fall 1977
Box 2 Folder 7
Spring 1978
Scope and Contents
Contains Correspondence with Frank H.T. Rhodes and Alfred E. Kahn
Box 2 Folder 8
Fall 1978
Scope and Contents
Contains Correspondence with Alfred E. Kahn
Box 2 Folder 9
Spring 1979
Box 2 Folder 10
Fall 1979
Box 2 Folder 11
Spring 1980
Box 2 Folder 12
Fall 1980
Box 2 Folder 13
Box 2 Folder 14
Dean of the Faculty Correspondence (Not Related to Cornell '69) 1
Scope and Contents
Contains a sub-series of National Science Foundation
Box 2 Folder 15
Dean of the Faculty Correspondence (Not Related to Cornell '69) 2
Box 2 Folder 16
Scientific Correspondence
Box 2 Folder 17
Scientific Correspondence
Box 2 Folder 18
John A. Crowl
Box 2 Folder 19
Thomas W. Jones
Box 2 Folder 20
Frank H. T. Rhodes
Box 2 Folder 21
Personal Correspondence and Photos
Box 2
Business Correspondence
Box 6 Folder 4
Morris Bishop Correspondence
1962, 1972
Scope and Contents
Includes correspondence from daughter Anne Miller, Herbert Cahoon of the Pierpont Morgan library and Morris Bishop regarding Anne's interest in witchcraft and desire to become a witch. Also correspondence regarding an amusing anecdote at Alice Cook's retirement involving David Burak and a joke about the Cornell mace.
Box 6 Folder 5
50th Anniversary Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Correspondence regarding Robert and Beulah's anniversary. Correspondence include Keith Kennedy, Dale Corson, and war buddy Captain Walter Huckbee.
Box 6 Folder 6
Dean of Faculty
1967, 1969, 1987
Scope and Contents
Correspondence and clipping regarding his election to the position of Dean of Faculty from Royse Murphy and Rolph Fairchild. Also a thank you note to a Mrs. Burton (a figure from his childhood) from Miller describing his work. Also a note of congratulations on retirement from Marlin Cline.
Box 6 Folder 10
Presidential Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Includes letters and photographs from Perkins, Corson, Rhodes. Also a program from the Cornell Centennial Dinner. A photograph of Perkins shaking hands with Tom Jones inscribed "Without Bob Miller's cool head there would be no handshake."
Box 6 Folder 11
Family Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Letters from Miller's father Dean Merritt Miller and one to his wife.
Box 6 Folder 12
Correspondence to wife Beulah "Buty" from Russia
Scope and Contents
Letters and ephemera sent to his wife while he was in Russia
Box 6 Folder 13
Scientific Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Letters from colleagues and grad students. Includes letter to Dale Corson on soil physics. Also a floppy disk (FD-340) of soil correspondence
Box 6 Folder 14
Edward Ershov Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Correspondence Miller's trip to Moscow State University and Ershov's visit to Cornell. Includes photographs of Ershov and of Russian trip.
Box 6 Folder 16
Edward Miller Correspondence
Scope and Contents
Scientific correspondence with Miller's brother Professor Edward E Miller of the University of Wisconsin.
Series III. Reprints
Box 2 Folder 22
Robert D. Miller, Articles on > 0°
Box 3 Folder 1
Robert D. Miller, Articles and Papers on 0°, 1
Box 3 Folder 2
Robert D. Miller, Articles and Papers on 0°, 2
Scope and Contents
Includes some slides
Box 3 Folder 3
Robert D. Miller, Articles and Papers on 0°, 3
Box 3 Folder 4
Robert D. Miller, Repints: Extra Copies
Box 3 Folder 5
Review Copy of Capillary Thermodynamics in Serially Porous Media, with Implications for Randomly Porous Media
Series IV. Courses
Agronomy Course 607 R.D. Miller-Overheads-Soil Physics Part 1 Statics
Box 3 Folder 6
Soil Particles, Mechanical Analysis, Representative Samples, Textual Triangle, Closely Packed Spheres
Box 3 Folder 7
Soil Composition, Definitions, Idiosyncrasies
Box 3 Folder 8
Water Contend, Bulk Density, Neutron Probe
Box 3 Folder 9
Forces, Ideal Gas Law, Properties of Water, Static Equilibrium in Force Field
Box 3 Folder 10
Surface Tension, Capillary Rice, Bubbles, Phase Barriers
Box 3 Folder 11
Wetting and Drying, Hysteresis, Air Entry, Independent Domains
Box 3 Folder 12
Haines and Fisher Analyses, Terzaghi Equation, Aitchison's Concept, Synder's Work
Box 3 Folder 13
Clay Minerals, Electrophoresis and Electroosmosis, Helmholz-Schmolvchowski Equation, Ideal Diffuse Electrical Double Layer, Dispersion
Agronomy Course 607 R.D. Miller-Overheads-Soil Physics Part 2 Dynamics
Box 3 Folder 14
Recapitulation, Component Potentials, Adsorption Versus Capillary Space
Box 3 Folder 15
Flow in Saturated Soils, Darcy's Law, Kozeny Equations, Geometric Mean Diameter
Box 3 Folder 16
Miscible Displacement, Dispersion and Diffusion
Box 3 Folder 17
Method of Images, Electrostatic Analogue, Flow Nets, Dupuit Equation
Box 3 Folder 18
Flow in Unsaturated Soils, Equation of Continuity, Diffusivity, Available Water Range
Box 3 Folder 19
Scale Modelling, Grain, Substance and Forle Analogues, Scaling Statics, Scaling Dynamics
Box 3 Folder 20
Coupling of Transport Processes, Frost Heave, Freezing and Thawing Versus Wetting and Drying, Schofield's Work
Agronomy Course 607 R.D. Miller, Course Materials
Box 3 Folder 21
Course Materials 1
Box 3 Folder 22
Course Materials 2
Series V. Manuscripts and Lectures
Box 3 Folder 23
Papers at '93 SSA Meeting
Box 3 Folder 24
Capillary Conductivity of A Plate Perforated with Cylindrical Holes
Box 3 Folder 25
Draft of A Revision to Hillel
Scope and Contents
Prepared as an addendum to a revised version of Hillel's Soil and Water, Physical Principles and Processes
Box 3 Folder 26
Calculations on Various Topics
Box 6 Folder 17
Scientific work and lectures from Russia trip
Box 6 Folder 18
Manuscript and reprint
Box 6 Folder 19
Illustrations and drawings for papers
Box 6 Folder 20
Scope and Contents
Reports on thruway, pipeline and cold region soil heaving projects
Box 6 Folder 21
Calculation notebooks
Box 6 Folder 23
Skits and Speeches
Scope and Contents
Skits and speeches written, namely for retirements of staff in the Agronomy Department. Includes items regarding Mark Barlow, Marlin Cline, Mike Peech, Ed Lemon, Bob Musgrave, Earl Stone, Paul Zwerman, Wright, Brady, Aldrich, others. Also audio tapes (tr-10890 Zwerman, Drosdoff; tr-10891 Lemon; tr-10892 Inceptisol, Peech, Zwerman, Drosdoff) and slides of these speeches.
Series VI. Slides and Photos
Yakutsk, Ice Sandw, Students
Box 3 Folder 27
Secondary Heaving HRB, Loch, Torrance, Cass, Hoekstra, Koopmans
Box 3 Folder 28
Swelling Soil, Colbeck, Calgary 79, Dirksen
Doctoral Students' Slides, Work, Scaling, RDM's Slides
Box 3 Folder 29
Field Photos, Caldwell F, Taber, Beskow, Miller Baker Kiolian, Römkens
Box 3 Folder 30
Phase Barrier, Massive Ice, O'NGM; Sunder, Scaling
Box 3 Folder 31
P.Black, Horiguichi, Perfect, Massive Ice, Seminar 1981
Other Slides
Box 3 Folder 32
Slides of RMD Experimental Apparatus
Box 3 Folder 33
Chahal, Gypsum
Box 6 Folder 22
Experiment photographs and presentation diagrams
Series VII. Trips
Box 3 Folder 34
Permafrost III. Edmanton, Canada, Pictures of Experimental Apparatus, Pictures of Freezing-related Phenomena
Scope and Contents
Box 3 Folder 35
Pipeline Consulting Trips
Scope and Contents
Box 4 Folder 1
Correspondence with Northwest Alaskan Pipeline
Scope and Contents
Box 4 Folder 2
Slides from Yakutsk Siberia Trip
Box 4 Folder 3
Negatives of Many Presentation Slides and Yakutsk Trip Pictures, 1
Box 4 Folder 4
Negatives of Many Presentation Slides and Yakutsk Trip Pictures, 2
Box 4
Photos of Trip to Siberia and Permafrost Conference, Album 1
July, 1973
Scope and Contents
Also contains pictures of Moscow
Box 4
Photos of Trip to Siberia and Permafrost Conference, Album 2
July, 1973
Scope and Contents
Also contains pictures of Moscow
Box 4 Folder 5
Materials Related to Trip to Siberia and Permafrost Conference, 1
July, 1973
Scope and Contents
Photos, Correspondence, Meeting Notes
Box 4 Folder 6
Materials Related to Trip to Siberia and Permafrost Conference, 2
July, 1973
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, Memorandum, Schedule, and Guidebooks
Box 4 Folder 7
Moscow, 1
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, Travel Materials
Box 4 Folder 8
Moscow, 2
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, Slides
Box 4 Folder 9
Photos of Trip to Moscow
Box 4 Folder 10
Moscow Lectures Materials
Box 5 F-365
Film of Trip
Box 5
Box 4 Folder 11
Unidentified Travel Photos
Box 6 Folder 15
Forms from the U.S.S.R. Embassy regarding trip to Russia
Box 7
Photo Album of Travels
Scope and Contents
Includes photographs from trips to Europe, including Germany, Munich, Heidelberg, Oberwesel, Burg Schonburg, Dresden, Nordlingen, Frankfurt, Dinklesbuhl, Austria, Innsbruch, France, Verdun, England, Stonehenge, Scotland, Edinburgh, golfing, Ireland, Lyons Kansas salt mine, geoogy field trip, Boulder Colorado, Bill Cargill, Dr. Bronson, Wyoming, William C. Warnerson, possibly University of Missouri, family photos, tap day,
Box 7
Photo Album of Negatives from European trip
Series VIII. Awards
Box 5
Certificate of Appreciation - The Federal Inspector
June 28, 1983
Box 5
Faculty-Alumni Award - Alumni Association of the University of Missouri-Columbia
September 21, 1973
Box 5
Faculty-Alumni Award - University of Missouri-Columbia
Box 5
Recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Agronomy - American Society of Agronomy Northeastern Branch
June 28, 1983
Box 6 Folder 2
Certificats from American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America
Series IX. Personal and Family Materials
Scope and Contents
The papers of Prof. Miller's father Merritt Finley Miller are in the University of Missouri archives and the Missouri State Historical Society archives
Box 4 Folder 12
High School Columbia
Scope and Contents
This is Prof. Miller's high school. The folder includes his correspondence with the school, speech to 1961 class, and a German song book.
Box 4 Folder 13
Prof. Miller's writings
Scope and Contents
Humorous (re: neighbor's dog), letter re '82 trip to Moscow, notes and account of '73 trip to Siberia, Retirement of Nile Brady-Sketch
Box 5
Family Photo
Box 5
Box 4 Folder 14
Article on Robert D. Miller and Edward E. Miller: "The Agronomy Brothers"
Box 4 Folder 15
Family History, Newspaper copy of a report on Edward Mix, First Cousin of Merritt F. Miller
Box 4
East-Central Illinois Landforms and Ecosystems in the Making 20,000 Years by Elisabeth M. Hanson
Scope and Contents
Elisabeth Hanson is Prof. Miller's sister.
Box 4 Folder 16
Europe Autolog, 1
Scope and Contents
Records family's 1933-34 sabbatical trip to Germany throughout Europe, kept by Prof. Miller's mother Flora Grace Ernst Miller. Front page picture drawn by youthful Prof. Miller
Box 4 Folder 17
Europe Autolog, 2
Scope and Contents
Records family's 1933-34 sabbatical trip to Germany throughout Europe.
Box 4 Folder 18
Europe Autolog, 3
Scope and Contents
Records family's 1933-34 sabbatical trip to Germany throughout Europe.
Box 4 Folder 19
Letter from Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart
Box 4 Folder 20
A Photograph of Obama, with the Signature of Joe Biden Printed
Box 4 Folder 21
Statement of Elisabeth Hanson (Prof. Muller's sister) regarding Being on the Andrea Doria
Box 4 Folder 22
Autobiography of Carl Julius Ernest (Prof. Miller's Maternal Grandfather)
Scope and Contents
Carl Julius Ernst's Papers are in the Nebraska Historical Society
Box 4 Folder 23
Correspondence with Paul R. Day
Box 4 Folder 24
Copy of Note Scrap and Remark Book of Edward Eddy Miller (Prof. Miller's Grandfather), with Prof. Miller's Introduction
Scope and Contents
E.E.Miler served in Ohio regiment. The original is in Ohio Historical Society collection.
Box 5
Prof. Miller's Address and Appointment Books 1-3
Box 5
Prof. Miller's Name Card
Box 5
A Small Electrical Piece of Lab Equipment with A Brass Part Machined by Prof. Miller
Box 6 Folder 1
Scope and Contents
Includes photos as a baby, wedding photo, family photos, photos from Cornell, image of Miller being interviewed by Bob Simon during Cornell 69.
Box 6 Folder 2
Personal files
Scope and Contents
Includes 1966 family letter, files regarding employment, passports, letter to the editor about Jack Musick, pamphlet "The Story of an Emigrant Boy", awards, invite to a cocktail party from Adlai Stevenson, University of Missouri 1940 diploma, account book kept by Miller 1935-1936, Grandparent book describing the life or Miller's sister Elisabeth Marie Miller describing her life which is informative about Robert's early life as well, birth certificate, resumes, Ithaca Journal article about potholes, envelope containing keys that may have belonged to his office in Caldwell Hall.
Box 6
The University in Transition by James A. Perkins
Scope and Contents
Inscribed to Miller by Perkins.
Box 6
The Crescent Yearbook
Scope and Contents
David h. Hickman High School yearbook, annotated by Miller and classmates.
Box 5
Prof. Miller's Address and Appointment Books
Box 7
Scrapbook from Junior and High School, and College
Scope and Contents
Items from Jefferson Junior High School Columbia Missouri, Hickman High School, programs, report cards, photographs, Boy Scouts of America cards, University of Missouri items, Barnwarmin' programs, Alpha Zeta material, correspondence.
Series X. World War II Materials
Box 3 Folder 36
Materials Prepared for the Book Descent from Niitaka
Box 3 Folder 37
Appendix, First Draft
Box 3 Folder 38
Appendix, Set-Asides
Box 3 Folder 39
Memorandum and Agreement of Descant from Niitaka, Responses Received after the Publication
Box 3 Folder 40
Correspondence in Search of Information and Responses
Box 4 Folder 25
Material Prepared for History Classes at Ithaca High School
Box 4 Folder 26
Correspondence with D-Day Museum
Box 5
Framed Photo
Scope and Contents
Explosion of American B 24 bomber, taken by Prof. Miller beside foxhole
Box 5
Box 5
Slides and Negatives from Pacific
Box 6 Folder 3
World War II and Military Materials
Scope and Contents
Includes orders, correspondence about his memorabilia with museums, photographs, sketches, correspondence with the Veterans Administration and regarding his lectures to high schools. Also a letter written to the Committee on the Armed Services from April 3, 1993 on Miller's thoughts on gays in the military.
Box 5 CD-1423-1425
CDs of photographs related to WWII
Scope and Contents
Niitaka photos (raising flag, Nagasaki), Interview Circus, Museum Presentation (D-Day)