Almost 13 years after his death, playwright Arthur Miller’s archive finally has a home — at the University of Texas at Austin.
The school’s Harry Ransom Center, a research library and museum, has acquired the archive of the theater legend, known for plays like “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible” and “All My Sons.”
Miller’s archive includes drafts of several of his plays, as well as short stories, screenplays, letters and journals, the university said in a news release. Some of the correspondence in the archive focuses on the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated Miller after the debut of “The Crucible,” a play about the Salem witch trials that he wrote as a critique of McCarthyism.
Miller’s son, film producer Robert A. Miller, said that he was happy that the Ransom Center had acquired his father’s archive.
“We are pleased to have found a fitting home for Dad’s voluminous notes and papers at the Harry Ransom Center, where they will be added to the rest of his earlier works already in place there,” the younger Miller said. “The center is well known for its collection of many of the finest writers in America and beyond, and we look forward to partnering with them as we explore how best to present his works and life in ways that can reflect his seemingly boundless curiosity and insight coupled with his unique observations and reflections on the 20th century world as he saw it, both intimate and global.”
But the Ransom Center wasn’t a shoo-in for the archive, even though Miller had indicated his desire that his papers and photographs go to the museum. The New York Times said that the Ransom Center engaged in “a discreet tug-of-war with the Miller estate” for the archive; the estate had preferred it go to Yale University.
Miller had sent 175 boxes of material to the Ransom Center during his lifetime, and had written in a letter to his archival consultant, “I am in full agreement with your suggestion that I give [the Ransom Center] absolute first refusal in whatever decision I make for the disposition of the archive.”
The Miller archive will be cataloged “within two years,” the Ransom Center said, after which it will be made available to the public.