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Guide to the Elinor Miller Papers
 MSS 178 MSS.178

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Processed by Lindsay Kaplan, 2006, and Nicole Kenley, 2007.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 12, 2017
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

From the moment Elinor Miller and Michel Butor met in 1977 at the University of Louisville, they had a natural interest in each other's work: Butor's artistic, literary, and critical production was prolific, and Miller was a well-known scholar of his work. As a translator, she was responsible for the dissemination of much of his writing to the English-speaking world, and her essays appeared in numerous journals. Their initially professional relationship quickly turned into a friendship that would last nearly thirty years, until her death in 2004.

The most important aspect of the collection is the correspondence of Butor to Miller spanning the duration of their friendship, as well as several manuscripts, photocopies, and carbon copies of Miller's letters to Butor. Also included are various mixed media that focus on the works of artists with whom Butor collaborated, and those whom Miller studied in relation to Butor. Finally, the collection includes an array of publications by or about Michel Butor. Miller's own essays figure prominently, but there are also numerous primary and secondary publications, collaborations, volumes of literary journals consecrated to the author, and catalogues. The collection also includes some extremely rare limited edition publications either purchased by Miller or presented to her as gifts by Butor.

SERIES I: Correspondence - Butor to Miller

This series contains the meat of the collection: the collection of Michel Butor's letters to Elinor Miller from 1977 to 2004. The letters are all collages with moving pieces, images, and text. Some include family photos, invitations to exhibition openings, conference programs, collaborative postcards, and more.

SERIES II: Correspondence - Miller to Butor

This series is far less comprehensive, as Butor donated his letters from Miller to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and Miller did not keep copies of all of her letters to Butor. The ones that she did keep offer an insight into the nature of her relationship with Butor, as well as into her character. It is unclear why she kept these letters in particular. This series also includes clippings and photos that Miller had intended to send along to Butor, and correspondence between Miller and various other people who have some connection to Butor.

SERIES III: Mixed Media/ Collaborations

This series is comprised of mixed media depicting the work of several artists with whom Butor collaborated. Miller wrote on these artists and their collaborations with Butor, and taught them as well. There are slides, photos, photo CDs, and audiocassettes. There is also a VHS of a Butor interview.

SERIES IV: Printed Material

This series contains both scholarly publications on Butor (subseries A) and catalogs of various museum exhibitions featuring his artwork (subseries B).

Subseries A: Secondary Publications

Subseries B: Museum Catalogs


Series I and II are arranged chronologically. Slides and photos in Series III have been kept in their original groupings, and Series IV is arranged alphabetically within each subseries.

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence, Butor to Miller
  2. Series II: Correspondence, Miller to Butor and Others
  3. Series III: Mixed Media/Collaborations
  4. Series IV: Printed Material
  5. OVERSIZE Series IV: Printed Material