Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Louise Klein Miller

 

Miss Louise Klein Miller was born in Montgomery County, Ohio. When she was two years old, the family moved to Miamisburg, Ohio, where she attended the village school. Inefficient and uninteresting teachers gave direction and color to her whole life. At times they were so deadly dull she "took to the woods" and there from the Great Teacher she learned the songs and nesting habits of the birds, the color of the butterflies' wings, when and where the first spring flowers bloomed and was unconsciously absorbing the great truths Nature has in store for those who love her. The training at Central High School, Dayton, Ohio, organized the knowledge she had been accumulating from original sources. After graduation, she attended the Normal School and taught in the city schools.

In 1893 she went to the Cook County Normal School, where she came under the influence of Colonel Parker and Mr. Jackman, who were the exponents of rational nature study. After a post-graduate course, she went to East Saginaw, Michigan, as supervisor of nature study in the schools and assistant in the training school. This position was occupied for two years, when she was called to fill a similar position in Detroit, Michigan, and remained there four years.

During the summer months she taught at the Bay View, Michigan Summer School, and with Doctor John M. Coulter, of Chicago University, studied the evolution of plants under the most favorable conditions. At Cornell University, Professor L. H. Bailey gave a more practical direction to her work in agriculture and horticulture. Here she studied forestry, geology, entomology, chemistry, and other subjects which are fundamental in the work she was later to pursue.

From Cornell University she was called to Briarcliff Manor, New York, where some of the millionaires of New York City had established a School of Practical Agriculture and Horticulture. Later she was called to Lowthorpe, a school of horticulture and landscape gardening for women, Groton, Massachusetts. This afforded an opportunity for study at the Arnold Arboretum.

The work of the children of the Village Improvement Association, of Groton, was placed under her direction and she began school gardens. After two years at Groton, she went to Cleveland, Ohio, where she occupies her present position. She established school gardens and the Board of Education created the position of curator of school gardens and appointed her to fill the position which is unique, being the only one of its kind in the country. The duties are to supervise the school gardens, give illustrated lectures on gardening in the public schools, extend the home garden work, arrange for autumn flower shows and superintend the improvement of school grounds. Under her leadership, this school garden work is recognized as being among the best in the country. The influence of her work in the city is marked. Each school yard and garden has become a radiating center for civic improvement. Disease breeding and fly breeding places have been cleaned up and the city made more sanitary and more beautiful. Children are being taught the yielding capacity of a small plot of ground, succession of crops and harmonious color effects; they are becoming interested in gardening and many are seeking the suburb and country life. She has always emphasized the physical, mental and moral influence of this work in the fresh air and sunshine.

Miss Miller is a lecturer of wide experience, appearing at Chautauqua, before Civic Associations, Women's Clubs, Teachers' Associations in many parts of the United States and Canada. She is the author of "Children's Gardens," a "Course in Nature Study for the Pennsylvania Schools," and is also contributor to many magazines.

She is interested in all movements for the constructive upbuilding of humanity; is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; member of the Executive Board of the American Civic Association; vice-president of the National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild; vice-president of School Gardening Association of America; and honorary member of the Iowa State Audubon Society.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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