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Joseph Miller Collection

Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Extent:
3 Cubic feet (8 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Family papers
Photographs
Ledgers (account books)
Business records
Correspondence
Trade catalogs
Certificates
Date:
1895-1992
Summary:
Letters, envelopes and other business records relating to the cutlery business of J & D Miller, Bronx, New York.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into three series. The first series consists of personal documents relating to Joseph Miller's life and his family history. The second series consists of business records from the cutlery shop; this series contains four subseries, including purchase orders from the United States, purchase orders from foreign countries, photographs, and miscellaneous business records. The third series contains materials relating to the collection itself and how it came to the Smithsonian Institution.
Arrangement:
Collection is divided into 4 series.

Series 1: Personal, circa 1885-1971

Series 2: Business, circa 1950-1992
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph Miller (1885-1971) was born in Russia, a second son in a Jewish family of seven children. All nine Millers emigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century, bringing with them the family cutlery business. Joseph became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1912, and in 1917, he joined his brother David in business, forming J & D Miller. The shop specialized in fashioning circumcision knives and kosher knives, like the schochet, for rabbis and mohels. In addition, the company also made knives for surgeons, circus performers, and industrial uses, sold sharpening stones, and accepted dull or broken knives for repair. The company of J & D Miller, communicating in English and Yiddish, shipped its merchandise all over the United States and to foreign countries as remote as Afghanistan, Argentina, and Algeria.

Joseph had two children, Irving and Irene, by his first wife, Essie. In 1961, Joseph lost an adult son, possibly a child from his second marriage, to Gertie. Although Joseph retired from J & D Miller in 1955 at the age of 70, he continued fashioning knives in a basement workshop of his Laurelton home. At his death at 86, Joseph was still receiving international requests for his knives. Joseph was committed to keeping the Miller clan together in America; his poems and family correspondence reveal a man devoted to his family.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Work and Industry holds a knifemakers shop sign in Yiddish. See accession 1992.0391.

This 1920s free-standing, wood–framed oilcloth window sign from the knife shop of Russian–immigrants Joseph and David Miller in the Lower East Side of New York City uses four implements and a legend in Yiddish to advertise their commercial offerings.

The sign reads:Do iz Millers a brentsh [Here are Miller's forgings]Di Miller halafim un mohel messer [The Miller ritual slaughter blades and circumcision knives]zaynen di beste un sheynste [are the best and most beautiful]in der gantser velt [in the whole world]garantirt keyn mol nit tsu rosten [Guaranteed never to rust]

The Miller shop, at 25 Canal Street, made ritual Jewish cutlery for the shochet (butcher) and for the mohel (circumcisionist), using extreme care in the hand fabrication of each instrument. The large rectangular knife (gasos halef) on the sign was used to slaughter cattle, the small rectangular knife (ofos halef) was for poultry; the curved implement is a circumcision clamp (mohel mashinke); and the double sided knife is a circumcision knife (mohel messer). In compliance with Jewish tradition, great emphasis is placed upon cleanliness, speed, efficiency, and the minimization of pain in the use of these instruments.
Provenance:
Donated by Irene Galdston in 1992.
Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Family-owned business enterprises  Search this
Cutlery trade  Search this
Circumcision  Search this
Judaism -- Customs and practices  Search this
Genre/Form:
Family papers
Photographs -- 20th century
Ledgers (account books)
Business records
Correspondence -- 20th century
Trade catalogs
Certificates
Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0514
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0514
Online Media:

Personal

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1905-1965
Scope and Contents:
This series includes family photographs from Russia and the United States, some circa 1960 correspondence between Joseph and his daughter and granddaughters, mementos from a 1953 family party, some of Joseph's poetry from the 1960s, photographs of Joseph's 1912 naturalization certificate and his 1971 death certificate, and a copy of the memorial address at his funeral. Not all time periods are covered in the same depth; most material in the file is from the 1950s and 1960s.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref614

Photographs of Joseph Miller

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1970
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref615

Photograph of Joseph Miller

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1885-1970
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref616

Photographs of Miller family

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref617

Photographs of Miller residence

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1912
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref618

Naturalization certificate

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1960
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref619

Family correspondence to Miller

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1960
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref620

Family correspondence from Miller

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1953-11
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref621

Partly 29

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1961-1962
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref622

Poetry

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1961-1971
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref623

Funeral papers

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref624

Miscellaneous

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1950-1992
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Personal
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref625

Business

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1950-1960
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref626

Orders – United States

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents:
This subseries consists primarily of envelopes and letters written to J & D Miller from American customers, requesting merchandise. A business ledger from the 1950s is included at the beginning of this subseries; the ledger records transactions by customer name, as well as providing extensive handwritten notes on customer addresses, business contacts, a list of Joseph's grandchildren, and documentation of his savings bond purchases. Also included in this subseries are relevant post office receipts, J & D Miller receipts and purchase orders, postcards, and scrap notes; Joseph noted the status of orders directly on the corresponding request letter or envelope. Most material is in Yiddish and dates from the late 1950s through the 1960s.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0514, Subseries 2.1
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref627

Ledger

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business / 2.1: Orders – United States
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref628

Alabama

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 11
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business / 2.1: Orders – United States
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref629

Arkansas

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 12
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business / 2.1: Orders – United States
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref630

California Los Angeles

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 13
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business / 2.1: Orders – United States
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref631

California miscellaneous

Collection Creator:
Miller, J. & D. (Bronx, New York)  Search this
Miller, Joseph (cutlery dealer)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Galdston, Irene  Search this
Collection Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Cultural History  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 14
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is ope for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Miller Collection, 1895-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Joseph Miller Collection
Joseph Miller Collection / Business / 2.1: Orders – United States
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0514-ref632

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