Biography and History

Samuel Miller was born in Dover, Delaware on October 31, 1769. His father was the Rev. John Miller (1722-1791). Miller attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1789. He earned his license to preach in 1791, and the University of Pennsylvania awarded him a Doctorate of Divinity degree (D.D.) in 1804. From 1813 to 1849, he served as Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at Princeton Theological Seminary, and was also integral in founding the institution.

Throughout his life, Miller was a vigorous participant in many of the controversies that took place within the Presbyterian Church, including that which resulted in the division of the Church into new and old schools. He was also considered an authority on many of the issues that faced Christians, especially Presbyterians, of his time.

Miller is, perhaps, best known for the theological, polemical, and biographical writings he published throughout his life, including A Brief Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century (1803, 1805), Memoir of the Reverend John Rogers (1813), Letters on Unitarianism (1821), An Essay on the Office of the Ruling Elder (1831), Letters from a Father to a Son in College (1843), and Thoughts on Public Prayer (1849). He was also responsible for the publication, in 1814, of the memoir and the writings of his elder brother, Edward Miller, a prominent physician and teacher in New York, who died in 1812.

Miller passed away in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 7, 1850, leaving behind his wife, Sarah Miller, and his children. One son, Samuel Miller, Jr., undertook to write the life of his father, and the two-volume work ( Life of Samuel Miller D.D.) was published in 1869.

Due to the number of letters addressed to, or dealing with, Samuel Miller, Jr., in the collection, the following brief biographical information about him is provided. Samuel Miller (the son), sometimes addressed as Jr., was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 23, 1816. He graduated from Princeton University in 1833 and went on to pass the bar in Philadelphia. However, he abandoned the law profession for the ministry and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1844. Samuel Miller, Jr., then became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, and was in charge of the church in Oceanic, New Jersey, from 1857 until 1873. In 1861, he was given his Doctorate of Divinity degree from Princeton. He passed away in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, on October 12, 1883.

Source: From the finding aid for C0277