Jean Ellen Miller tells the story of her life in this interview, which was recorded on three occasions in 2014 and 2015.
In Part 1, Miller describes being a young child raised during the Depression in the home of her Scottish grandparents, following the death of her mother. She discusses how she received a scholarship to Pembroke College before she had even applied, and she relates several elements of her life as a student, including the summers that she spent working in New Hampshire. She then recollects aspects of her long career as a teacher and administrator working in schools across the country, sharing stories about specific students and events.
Parts 2 and 3 of the interview concentrate largely on Miller’s life as a volunteer and an advocate for different cultural initiatives. She describes the Dorset Theatre, the Maple Street School, the Vermont Women’s Fund, and several other organizations that she has supported as a fundraiser and board member.
In Part 4, Miller discusses attending Pembroke College after World War II. She then describes her family and several events from her childhood in more detail, and comments on her experiences in positions of leadership. The conversation then turns to travel and the many places she has visited, which include the Soviet Union and Antarctica. Miller ends the interview with a story about meeting Robert Frost.
Recorded on February 1, 2014 in Pembroke Hall, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Wendy Korwin
Suggested Chicago style citation: Miller, Jean Ellen. Interview. By Wendy Korwin. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. February 1, 2014.
Jean Ellen Miller was born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1928. After her mother’s death when she was a young child, Miller and her family moved in with her Scottish grandparents. She attended secondary school in Whitman and Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and entered Pembroke College in 1945 as a recipient of a local scholarship. Although she began college with a focus on science, she graduated with her A.B. in English. As a student, Miller was part of several sports teams and was a staff member on the Brun Mael yearbook in addition to working in Andrews Dining Hall.
After graduating from Pembroke, Miller pursued a long career as a teacher, and later also an administrator, in private schools across the country. She was Head of St. Timothy’s School in Maryland from 1964-1977 and spent time at other schools in Vermont, New York, California, and Florida. As a retiree, she lived in Vermont and been very active on the boards of the Maple Street School, the Dorset Theatre Festival, and the Vermont Humanities Council, among others. At the time of this interview, Miller was a member of the Pembroke Center Associates Council and a recipient of a Brown Bear Award.