Kristie E. Miller, class of 1966


Kristie E. Miller, an award-winning biographer, begins her interview discussing the controversy surrounding her decision to attend college. Her mother, a supporter of Joseph McCarthy, always discouraged her academic interest and wanted her to go to a politically conservative school, while her father wanted her to go to a prestigious university. In Part 1, Miller reflects on the rules and regulations at Pembroke, as well as the relationship between Brown students and Pembroke students. She also discusses the effects of the turbulent political climate on campus, speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination, and the Vietnam War. She moves on to reflect on gender divisions in the classroom, and mentions being sexually harassed by one of her professors. She reflects on the fact that she never had a woman professor at Pembroke, regretting that there were no models for what she might have wanted to do with her scholarship.

In Part 2, Miller remarks that women of her generation should help their daughters be assertive. She says that her generation was still conformist, and although they complained it never occurred to them to challenge authority. She then speaks about her work as a historian and author, and her pathway to that career. She moves on to explain a birth control controversy on campus and her reaction when the Brown Daily Herald broke a story that Pembroke Health Center was giving out birth control to unmarried students. Miller ends her interview by reflecting on how her Pembroke and Brown experiences benefitted her in her life.

See also: 50th Reunion, class of 1966

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on May 29, 2006
Interviewed by Jesse Marmon

Suggested Chicago style citation: Miller, Kristie. Interview. By Jesse Marmon. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 29, 2006.


Kristie E. Miller grew up in a conservative household in LaSalle, Illinois. She decided to attend Pembroke College because she wanted to go to a co-educational school that was very intellectually stimulating. She majored in Spanish while also extensively studying English, creative writing, and journalism. During her time at Pembroke, she was the editor of the Brown Literary Review, as well as the first female managing editor of the Brown Daily Herald. In 1977, Miller earned a master’s degree from Georgetown University in linguistics. She taught English on four continents from 1969 to 1984 while serving with her husband, who was in the foreign service.

In 1984, when her two children were school-aged and she was divorced, she became a historian. Her father asked her to write a column for his newspaper in her hometown of La Salle, which she contributed to weekly from 1984 to 2009 while serving as a director of the Chicago Tribune Company from 1981 to 2001. In 1992 Miller published her first book. Ruth Hanna McCormick told the story of her grandmother, who had been a pioneer in women’s politics, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography while winning the Chicago Friends of Literature Vicki Penziner Matson award.

Miller has published more than three dozen biographical articles for encyclopedias in addition to three more award-winning books: Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman (2004), A Volume on Friendship: The Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Isabella Greenway, 1904-1953 (2009), and Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies (2010). Miller now edits the American Women’s Biography Series for the University of New Mexico Press, and lives in Virginia with her husband.