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DAVID HUMPHREYS MILLER

 

ARTIST AND HISTORIAN

 

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      David Humphreys Miller was more than an artist, he was a foremost authority on American Indian and Western history. Famous for his portraits, from life, of 72 Indians who survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer's Last Stand, June 25, 1876). In order to get the true story, he interviewed them in their own language and became their close and personal friend.

      He started this work when he was barley sixteen years old, but as a third generation artist he already was an accomplished painter. With his family's blessing he started his work in 1935 and spent every summer finding these old warriors and painted them until 1942, when he went into the service for World War ll. When he came back from his service in the air corps, in China, there were only about 20 of these old-timers left.

      His collection of Custer Survivors has been exhibited throughout the United States in many prestigious museums. In 1972, Miller won the coveted Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. The following year the collection was exhibited there.

      These portraits have also been shown at The Whitney Western Museum, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Museum of Man in San Diego, California, Midland, Texas, Toledo, Ohio. The High Plains Heritage Center in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, to name a few of his honors.

      His mural commissions include those at Mount Rushmore (now in the Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota) and The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, the latter under the personal auspices of General Mark W. Clark. Miller designed the Northern Plains Indian Museum and the Fur Trade and Wildlife Museum at Medora, North Dakota.

      Miller also was Indian technical advisor on many pictures such as "Cheyenne Autumn" and "How The West Was Won". He appeared on television as host to "Cavalcade of Books", in Los Angeles, California. He wrote several books, including "Ghost Dance" and "Custer's Fall", which was a Book of the Month Club selection and was the first time the story that the Custer Battle had been told from the Indians' point of view.

      In his later years Miller and his wife, Jan, lived in Rancho Santa Fe, California, where he continued to write and paint until his death August 21, 1992.

      He was a good friend of our First Americans and many of them came to visit him in his home. He also was a close friend of Korezak Ziolkowski, who had the dream to carve "Crazy Horse" (the one who defeated Custer) on a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

      Miller arranged the last reunion of the Custer Survivors (only eight were alive) at the dedication of the "Crazy Horse Memorial", June 3, 1948.

      His widow is still living in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

We do not have a website for David Humphreys Miller.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF HIS WORK:

BEN BLACK ELK ACROSS the MOUNTAIN BRULE

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