Record Unit 7173, Miller, Gerrit S, (Gerrit Smith), 1869-1956, Gerrit Smith Miller, Jr, Papers, 1908-1940
Gerrit Smith Miller, Jr., (1869-1956) was born in Peterboro, New York, and grew up on a large estate in central New York. In this relatively isolated setting and through the influence of his great uncle, an ornithologist, Miller developed an early interest in natural history. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1894, Miller joined the Biological Survey in the Department of Agriculture and worked under Clinton Hart Merriam. In 1898 he joined the United States National Museum as Assistant Curator of Mammals and in 1909 became Curator of that Division. He continued in that position until 1940 when he retired and remained as an Associate in biology at the Smithsonian Institution until his death.
Miller's major contributions to mammalogy were his series of checklists of North American mammals, 1901, 1912, and 1924; The Families and Genera of Bats, 1907; and the Catalogue of the Mammals of Western Europe in the Collection of the British Museum, 1912. He also was an early critic of the claimed discovery of the Piltdown Man in England. He published several papers on the controversy and corresponded with many of the principal investigators. Another of his fields of interest was primate behavioral patterns and their possible influence on the beginnings of human social development.