Overview

Title: Maya Miller Papers
Creator(s): Miller, Maya
Collection Number: 95-107
Dates (inclusive): 1954-2003
Physical Extent: 8.0 cubic feet (10 boxes)
Preferred Citation: Maya Miller Papers, 95-107. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.
Repository: University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department
Permanent Link: http://dewey.library.unr.edu/xtf/view?docId=ead/95-107-ead.xml

Biographical Note

Maya Miller (née Paine) was born on June 29, 1915 at her parents’ home in downtown Los Angeles. Her father, Paul Paine, of Baltimore, worked as a petroleum engineer, one of only two independent oil appraisers in the United States. Before becoming a consultant, Paine maintained a position as the vice president of the Shell Oil Company in California. Her mother, Olivia Newman of Riverside, California, came from a successful family of California pioneers who made their money in the hotel business. It was, however, money passed down from Maya’s father’s investments in the oil business that would eventually allow her to finance and support philanthropic causes in the public interest without fear of economic pressure, and without owing favors in return for funding.

During Maya’s childhood, her family moved from MacArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills where she received her primary education at Berkeley Hall. In the 1930s, Maya attended Principia High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and the newly relocated Principia College in Elsah, Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree and met her soon-to-be husband, Richard Gordon Miller. Following the completion of her undergraduate education, Maya went on to earn a Master’s degree in American Literature from Cornell and afterward completed all but her dissertation for a PhD in English at Stanford.

In 1939, Maya married Richard Miller, now an ichthyologist (fish scientist). During World War II, Richard joined the navy and served in the Pacific while Maya worked for the war effort in San Francisco. Following the war in the early 1950s, the couple moved to Nevada to reside on a small farm located in Washoe Valley just outside of Carson City. For two years Richard held the position of Director at the Nevada State Museum, later joining the faculty of the University of Nevada as a professor of biology and conservation. Maya too worked briefly for the University teaching English before leaving to take care of their two children, Eric (1953), and Kit (1955).

In 1961, the couple purchased Washoe Pines Ranch, a notable former divorce ranch from the 1930s. This property became the headquarters for the Foresta Institute, a non-profit center for the study of ecological and social problems. Beginning in the summer of 1962, it also became the location of an outdoors ecology camp for children, which specialized in natural and Western history. Every summer, children from inner city communities, rural Nevada, and wealthy eastern suburbs learned how to live together while studying Nevada’s unique ecosystems. Washoe Pines Ranch (and Orchard House located next door on the property) served as a meeting place and incubator for many progressive and environmental projects, and Orchard House would remain Maya’s home for the rest of her life.

Interested in social betterment, environmental issues, and progressive politics, Maya joined the Nevada League of Women voters. Soon after joining she became president of the local Reno/Carson chapter beginning in 1964 and began studying Nevada lands, water and other resources, and their distribution. Working with the public and Nevada Legislature to purchase nearly 40,000 acres of public land, Maya helped establish Lake Tahoe State Park. In studying Nevada water, Maya learned of the fragile state of Pyramid Lake and the Paiute tribe’s fight to restore the lake. With seed money she aided the legal case that was eventually brought in front of the Supreme Court with a favorable outcome.

Later on in 1968 Maya became the director of poverty and race issues for the National League of Women Voters. She immersed herself in the study of race and poverty in Nevada and was involved with the Race Relations Center and Job Corps. As the key poverty analyst for the National League, Maya pushed the traditionally staid organization to a radical position on welfare. Miller proposed that the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) federal assistance program be expanded to give compensation for what she saw as the economically valuable work of mothering. In 1971, Maya resigned from her position with the League of Women Voters when the organization voted down a resolution proposing to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Consequently during this time, Maya and Richard earned themselves spots on Richard Nixon’s Enemies List—making them two of the three Nevadans on the list.

In the early 1970s, Maya became involved in the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO)—a movement directly correlated with the long civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. Not long afterward, she became engaged in the plight of a group of poor disenfranchised black mothers in Southern Nevada. The welfare rights movement in Nevada began as “Operation Nevada,” a grassroots movement led by Ruby Duncan and fomented by other poor black mothers living in West Las Vegas, many of whom had been employed by the casino industry at one time or another. In 1971, Operation Nevada was responsible for staging a non-violent, direct action sit-in on the Las Vegas Strip to protest the lack of assistance offered to the poorest segment of the population in Las Vegas. Welfare grants did not pay enough to live on in Nevada. In fact, the state’s attitude toward welfare was evident in unwillingness to accept federal welfare funds in any capacity for twenty years following the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. To many Nevada residents and politicians, the welfare system seemed contrary to the image of rugged self-determination that so many westerners cherished. Even after accepting federal welfare funding, the state maintained strict stipulations for recipients.

Throughout the early 1970s, many poor recipients, primarily single black mothers, had their benefits cut, reinstated, and then reduced. Nevada State Welfare Department Director and opponent of Maya Miller, George Miller, was suspicious that welfare recipients were defrauding the state. He did everything he could to cut off needy families for a variety of poorly justified infractions. Throughout all this, the black welfare mother became a sort of “bogeywoman,” a scapegoat for the ills of the welfare system in the United States. As Operation Nevada gained momentum due in part to important allies like Legal Service Lawyers, radical priests, and activists/benefactors such as Maya Miller, it evolved into “Operation Life Community Development Corporation” (CDC).

Operation Life functioned as an antipoverty corporation operating out of the abandoned “Cove” casino in West Las Vegas. Maya served as the Chairperson for Operation Life’s Board of Trustees for 18 years beginning in 1972. By offering job training, a low-income health center, childcare, and a library, members of Operation Life worked to better the condition of Las Vegas’s poor Westside population, and eventually effect change on a national level. Among Operation Life’s local achievements were petitioning to have the state of Nevada accept food stamps, the creation of a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program in Las Vegas, and Early Periodic Screening for Children.

At the insistence of Sue Wagner, Frankie Sue del Papa, and other Nevada women leaders, Maya ran for the U.S. Senate in 1974 at a time when there were no women in the Senate. She lost the primary Democratic election to then Lieutenant Governor Harry Reid. Reid then lost in the general election to Republican Paul Laxalt. Maya later commented that she ran for the Senate seat primarily to break through the male stronghold in Congress. Maya was never a consummate politician, more of a self-described “outside agitator” fighting the powers that be for the disenfranchised, under-represented, and subaltern.

After the campaign Maya helped found the Women’s Campaign Fund, which raised money to elect women to office. In the spring of 1976, following her divorce from Richard, she moved to Washington, D.C. part-time to help create the Women’s Lobby Inc., the first organization in the nation’s capital devoted full-time to lobbying for women’s issues. Some of these issues included securing adequate welfare benefits for the poor and needy, job training, employment rights for women, reproductive rights, and greater support for victims of domestic violence.

During the 1980s, Maya concerned herself with human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She travelled to Latin America to oppose the U.S. support of dictatorships and to promote peace efforts. She went to post-Apartheid South Africa and Cuba to understand race and restitution, and in 1991, in violate of a U.S. embargo, she and other women drove trucks full of children’s hospital supplies into Iraq.

Other Nevada efforts that Maya was involved in included startup groups such as the Committee to Aid Abused Women, Citizens Alert (the state’s first anti-nuclear political group resulting from Maya’s Senate campaign), Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and the Nevada Women’s fund. She also was an opponent of Reagan’s proposed MX missile system, and the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Her alliances with these groups and many younger people helped to inspire her until her death.

Maya Miller passed away on May 31, 2006 at her ranch in Washoe Valley, she was 90 years old. It can be said without hyperbole that Maya Miller served as an inspiration and mentor for an entire generation of political activists, progressive thinkers, and justice seekers. Her legacy lives on in her accomplishments in Nevada and abroad. She is remembered fondly by those she worked with, befriended, and encouraged.

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Scope and Content

The Maya Miller Papers cover the years 1954-2003 and are contained in 8.25 cubic feet. This collection represents information and materials accumulated and saved by Maya Miller throughout her years as a political activist, humanitarian, and philanthropist. Much of this material is related to Miller’s involvement with the Operation Life Board of Directors and her efforts to reform welfare laws. However, there is also information and material that pertain to Miller’s global humanitarian efforts and to a smaller degree, her personal life. These papers offer valuable insight into her life and work. This collection includes correspondence, news clips, reports, newsletters, brochures, agendas, bulletins, and interviews. Preparation of the collection was made through the generous support from the Orchard House Foundation.

The papers are arranged into seven individual series: Series 1: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Discrimination; Series 2: Native American Issues; Series 3: Democratic Party; Series 4: 1974 U. S. Senate Campaign; Series 5: Central America Issues; Series 6: Miscellaneous Activism and Issues; and Series 7: Interviews. Any audio/visual resources have been placed into their corresponding series, as have any awards or certificates of recognition. It should be noted that some of the League of Women Voters materials appears in several different series, but the subject matter corresponds to that series.

Series 1: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Discrimination, contains materials and information from Maya Miller’s involvement with the League of Women Voters, Operation Life, and Women’s Lobby, Inc. The purpose of these organizations during the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s was generally the same—to promote fairness and equality beyond race and gender, to encourage women to become politically active, and to offer assistance in the form of federal welfare benefits to those in need, particularly women and children. This series encompasses materials regarding local welfare initiatives in Nevada as well as on the national level. The bulk of materials are administrative files from the board of directors of Operation Life. These include agendas, correspondence between board members and staff, some news clips, and administrative planning reports. This series also includes correspondence, lobbying information, brochures, promotional materials, news clips, and agendas from the both the Nevada and national branches of the League of Women Voters and Women’s Lobby.

Series 2: Native American Issues, is comprised of materials and information relating to Native American activism and activism undertaken on behalf of Native Americans. The majority of the material relates to water controversies surrounding water allocations from the Truckee River to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. This was a result of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, which was ratified in 1969, and the preceding resistance to the compact by the Sierra Club and Nevada League of Women Voters. These institutions believed that the compact was discriminatory to Indian interests, and with respect to Pyramid Lake, environmentally unsound. Lobbying efforts against the compact, represented in this series, intensified between 1968-1969. Also included are news clips regarding the Indians of Alcatraz demonstration in 1970, and the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota by 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement. These materials largely tie in with Miller’s concern for issues of social justice and environmentalism and includes legal documents, news clips, some correspondence, and literature on Indian rights and culture.

Series 3: Democratic Party, contains materials and information about the Democratic Party and politics, but nearly all the materials relate to the role of women in the Democratic Party in the 1970s. This includes items from the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), an organization founded in 1971 with the purpose of standing against sexism, racism, institutionalized violence, and poverty. The NWPC also sought to train feminist women candidates for public office, reform party structure to ensure women equal decision-making power, register more women voters, and work for equality in the delegate selection process. This series includes materials from the Women’s Education for Delegate Selection workshop, which assisted women in becoming delegates for the 1972 national party conventions. There is also a fair amount of information and material regarding the Democratic mini-Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri in December 1974 where NWPC Democrats argued for affirmative action and other women’s interests. The 1974 mini-convention was a precursor to the 1976 Democratic Convention held in New York City, which was the first convention in many decades where women’s issues played an important role. Delegation selection was important for the convention because feminists were finally being taken seriously as political players. All of these events were occurring before and after Miller’s 1974 campaign for the U. S. Senate; however, these events represent the growing influence of women in national politics. This series includes correspondence, delegate selection materials, agendas, news clips, and information regarding Miller’s position as the Chairperson for the Nevada Delegation and delegate for the Democratic National Convention.

Series 4: 1974 U. S. Senate Campaign, includes materials from Miller’s 1974 U. S. Senate campaign where she ran against Nevada's Lieutenant Governor Harry Reid (D-NV). Although Miller lost to Reid in the Democratic primary, she did receive 33% of the votes, and her campaign revealed that there was a base of women’s electoral groups that were willing to support her. In later years her daughter, Kit Miller, said that Reid would contact her mother to discuss issues and seek her support. Miller ran on a platform of sound management and planning that would put the American wage earner and taxpayers ahead of special interest groups. Not being a career politician, she also emphasized “ordinary citizens” taking back their government and having it work for them rather than against them. This series includes a great deal of news clips (some removed from scrapbooks), financial statements, a campaign press packet, oversized campaign posters, statements, campaign buttons, radio spots, and some correspondence.

Series 5: Central America Issues, is a representation of Miller’s interests and work outside of Nevada and the United States. Miller was long interested in the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, and believed that U. S. intervention in Central America was unnecessary and injurious. She was particularly concerned about the indigenous Miskito of the Atlantic Coast Region, the poorest group of Nicaraguans. Throughout the 1980s, Miller made several trips to Nicaragua with MADRE, the worldwide women’s rights organization, and another educational tour through Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua in 1986 with Funding Exchange to learn about the humanitarian and developmental needs of the region. In Nicaragua, Miller was in contact with people that were close to the politically complex struggles including Sandinista leaders and the Miskito people. Miller respected both sides of the Miskito-Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and overall hoped to support peace. One particular focus of Miller’s trips to Nicaragua was the construction of a “Peace House” in Puerto Cabezas. The house was headquarters for international peace keepers during the 1980s, when many feared the U. S. might invade Nicaragua. Miller was also interested in the “Peace Ship” project, a project supported by the Norwegian government and Nobel Laureates Adolfo Perez Esquival and George Wald, to deliver much-needed food, medicine, and other products to the Nicaraguan people. The ship was to be accompanied by a mine sweeper to check for mines in Nicaraguan ports laid under the direction of the CIA. This series includes correspondence between Miller and MADRE as well as correspondence with Funding Exchange regarding trips to Central American. Also included is itinerary, news clips (in Spanish and English), memoranda, and some handwritten notes.

Series 6: Miscellaneous Activism and Issues, contains materials that did not fit within the other series. They include some very early literature from women’s voting groups dating to the 1950s, general administrative bulletins, correspondence, and issue briefs from the Women League of Voters covering the years 1963-1971. Also included in this series are odds and ends consisting of handwritten notes on the formative years of the feminist movement, some brief biographies on Miller, general news clips covering her life, certificates and awards, speeches, and promotional materials from the Foresta Institute and Washoe Pines summer camp.

Series 7: Oral Interviews, consists of both transcribed copies of interviews and digital recordings. Many of these interviews were conducted throughout the 1990s, and one in the early 2000s, mainly by her daughter, Kit Miller. The interviews cover a variety of subjects including Miller’s childhood, her involvement with Operation Life, her aversion to the Vietnam War, Washoe Pines Ranch, her campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1974, and even her brief involvement with the Black Panthers. Aside from typed copies of the interviews and audio, there are also several video interviews included in this series. There are clips of Ruby Duncan, a fellow fighter for women's rights, as well as a 1992 interview with Maya Miller and Marty Makower filmed at Miller’s home in Washoe Valley.

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was received in two separate donations with the initial donation from Maya Miller in 1995, and supplemental materials arriving in 2014 from her daughter Kit Miller.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been removed from this collection and placed in the Special Collections Photo Archive under collection number UNRS-P2015-06.

Related Materials

93-48: Ruby Duncan Papers

93-24, Nancy Gomes papers

Other related printed materials on these subject, particularly Operation Life and the welfare reform movement can be found in Storming Caesars Palace : how Black mothers fought their own war on poverty , written by Annelise Orleck (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005). Record number b2337639. More information on this book is located here: http://innopac.library.unr.edu/record=b2337639~S2.

82-15, League of Women Voters of Nevada records (1951-1970s)

93-34, League of Women Voters of Nevada records (1960s-1993)

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Arrangement

  • The papers of Maya Miller are arranged into the following seven series:
  • Series 1: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Discrimination
  • Series 2: Native American Issues
  • Series 3: Democratic Party
  • Series 4: 1974 U.S. Senate Campaign
  • Series 5: Central America Issues
  • Series 6: Miscellaneous Causes and Issues
  • Series 7: Oral Interviews

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of the University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno. Researchers wishing to find related materials are encouraged to use the following index terms:

Organizations:

People:

Subjects:

Geographic Locations:

Genres:

Interviews

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Administrative Information

Collection processed by Edan Strekal, 2015. Finding aid prepared by Edan Strekal, 2015. This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 15, 2016.

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Detailed Description of the Records

Series 1: Welfare, Poverty, and Racial Discrimination Issues, 1965-1990 5.0 cubic feet

Series 1: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Discrimination contains materials and information from Maya Miller’s involvement with the League of Women Voters, Operation Life, Women’s Lobby, and as an individual activist. These materials have been arranged chronologically according to month and year with the earliest dated materials appearing first. Awards and certificates appear at the end of the series with any oversized materials placed in the large flat folders located in the MSS map cases. Plaques have been grouped together and placed at the end of the series in Box 10.

The purpose of these organizations during the late 1960s, 70s, and early 80s was generally the same—to promote fairness and equality beyond race and gender, to encourage women to become politically active, and to offer assistance in the form of federal welfare benefits those in need, particularly women and children. This series encompasses materials regarding local welfare initiatives in Nevada as well national initiatives. Of particular note is Food For All, a group created in 1970 to monitor the allocations made by federal food programs. Food For All concluded that federal food programs under-used resources, which resulted in more than 25 million Americans not receiving adequate nutrition. Other notable events and demonstrations include the National Welfare Rights Organization’s Welfare not Warfare convention in 1971 and the Children’s March for Survival held in Washington, D.C. in 1972. The bulk of materials are administrative files from Operation Life’s Board of Directors.

Also of importance are materials regarding Miller’s arrest following protests at the Reno Census Bureau office in 1970. Miller attended the protests on behalf of the League of Women Voters. She joined a small group of older black people, and some younger black students from the University of Nevada, Reno. The picketers were protesting the biased hiring practices of the Census Bureau, and hoped to peacefully discuss the issue when police with billy clubs showed up. Miller was arrested and jailed for obstructing justice and resisting arrest. She appealed the decision and later filed a countersuit. The Christian Science Monitor picked up the story, which ran on September 18, 1970. A copy of this article can be found in Box 1, folder 17 of this series. Miller’s concern for welfare reform tied in directly with her concerns regarding the de facto and de jure disenfranchisement of racial minorities.

In addition to the aforementioned materials and information, this series includes agendas, correspondence, news clips and administrative reports shared between Operation Life’s board directors and staff. There is also correspondence, lobbying information, brochures, promotional materials, news clips, and agendas from both the Nevada and National branches of the League of Women Voters.

Box
Folder
Contents
1/S1
1
Women’s Action Coalition—West stationary and letterheads, undated
1/S1
2
Survey: League of Women Voters of Nevada: Human Resources: Projects and Prospects for Education and Employment, 1965 October
1/S1
3
Race Relations Center of Northern Nevada, 1968
1/S1
4
News clips on issues of national hunger and poverty in the United States, 1968-1970
1/S1
5
News clips regarding anti-poverty protests and unrest, 1968-1971
1/S1
6
Welfare rights publications, 1968-1972
1/S1
7
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts on possible racial violence in urban areas, 1968 June-July
1/S1
8
Current Review Human Resources, 1969-1970
1/S1
9
League of Women Voters correspondence and reports regarding welfare reform motions, 1969-1972
1/S1
10
White House Conference on Hunger, 1969 November-December
1/S1
11
League of Women Voters Juvenile Services in Nevada, 1970
1/S1
12
Food for All campaign, 1970-1972
1/S1
13
State and national welfare reform initiatives, part 1, 1970-1973
1/S1
14
State and national welfare reform initiatives, part 2, 1970-1973
1/S1
15
State and national welfare reform initiatives, part 3, 1970-1973
1/S1
16
Various newsletters, pamphlets, and reports on welfare issues, 1970-1979
1/S1
17
Reno census office incident, 1970 January-July
1/S1
18
Speech: “Ecological Balance and Urban Blight Citizen Action: Ecological Crisis”, 1970 June
1/S1
19
Legal Documents and community outreach from Miller’s arrest at the Reno Census Office, 1970 September-November
Box
Folder
Contents
2/S1
20
Welfare not Warfare: National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) Convention ’71 materials and literature, part 1, 1971
2/S1
21
Welfare not Warfare National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) Convention ’71 materials and literature, part 2, 1971
2/S1
22
Materials from the Campaign for Adequate Welfare Reform Now regarding H.R. 1 Welfare Bill, part 1, 1971 March-October
2/S1
23
Materials from the Campaign for Adequate Welfare Reform Now regarding H.R. 1 Welfare Bill, part 2, 1971 March-October
2/S1
24
Children’s March for Survival in Washington D.C., 1972 March
2/S1
25
“The Hungry Children of Glitter Gulch,” by Mollie Gregory, 1972 winter
2/S1
26
Hearings on welfare budget reform before the Senate Finance and Ways and Means committees, 1973 February-March
2/S1
27
Women Associates incorporation and bylaws, 1975
2/S1
28
Women’s Lobby Incorporated welfare reform and sexual equality testimony, 1975-1978
2/S1
29
National Commission on Gambling hearing on review of national policy toward gambling in Carson City, 1975 August
2/S1
30
Paper and background information by Ed Zuckerman regarding the Nevada State Welfare Division’s cancellation of Operation Life programs, 1976-1977
2/S1
31
Lobbying statements, testimony, issue briefs, and correspondence from Women's Lobby on welfare reform, 1976-1978
2/S1
32
Medicaid in Nevada correspondence, figures, and news clips, 1976 March-July
2/S1
33
Nevada Title XIX program cutbacks (Medicaid), 1976 April-August
2/S1
34
Early Preventive Screening and Disease Treatment Program (EPSDT) Operation Life Health Center close-out, 1976 November-December
2/S1
35
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, part 1, 1977
2/S1
36
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, part 2, 1977
Box
Folder
Contents
3/S1
37
Operation Life newsletters, flyers, brochures, and news clips, 1977-1979
3/S1
38
Thesis: “Community Control and State Autonomy: A Study of Welfare Policy in Nevada,” by Ed Zuckerman, 1977 June
3/S1
39
Operation Life Community Development Corporation (CDC) Personnel Policy Manual, 1977 December
3/S1
40
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1978 January-August
3/S1
41
Miller response to Paternity Statement Form for the state of Nevada, 1978 May
3/S1
42
Las Vegas Voice Nevada’s Black Community Weekly, 1978 September
3/S1
43
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1978 September-December
3/S1
44
Accounting Manual for Operation Life Community Development Corporation (CDC), 1979
3/S1
45
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1979 January-April
3/S1
46
Operation Life and Orbit Industries, 1979 March
3/S1
47
Operation Life Overall Economic Development Plan draft, 1979 March-April
3/S1
48
Operation Life overall Economic Development plan, 1979 April
3/S1
49
Southern Nevada Economic Development Council draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, 1979 April
3/S1
50
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1979 May-July
3/S1
51
Committee of Low Income Women materials, 1979 July-September
3/S1
52
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1979 August-September
3/S1
53
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1979 October-December
Box
Folder
Contents
4/S1
54
Miller’s Operation Life 1980 Evaluation file, 1980-1981
4/S1
55
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1980 January-February
4/S1
56
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1980 March-May
4/S1
57
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1980 June-August
4/S1
58
Operation Life Refunding Proposal and Action Plan for Fiscal Year 1981, 1980 July
4/S1
59
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1980 September-December
4/S1
60
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1981 January-May
4/S1
61
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1981 June-December
4/S1
62
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1982
4/S1
63
Operation Life Professional Office Building Project, 1984
4/S1
64
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1986-1988
4/S1
65
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1989
4/S1
66
Operation Life correspondence, agendas, and reports, 1990
Box
Folder
Contents
4/G1/S1
67
Awards and certificates, undated
4/G1/S1
1
Maya Miller commitment to battered women and children recognition, 1982
4/G1/S1
2
Maya Miller Civil Libertarian of the Year, 1986
4/G1/S1
3
Champion of Human Rights, 1993
4/G1/S1
4
Maya Miller Egalitarian Award, 2003
Box
Item
Contents
10/G1/S1
68
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Golden Heritage Life Member Pin, undated
10/G1/S1
69
Plaque: Presented to Maya Miller from Ruby Duncan and Operation Life, undated
10/G1/S1
70
Plaque: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Community Service Award, 1975
10/G1/S1
71
Plaque: Northern Nevada National Organization for Women Woman of the Year, 1981
10/G1/S1
72
Plaque: Certificate of Life Membership from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1987
10/G1/S1
73
Plaque: Reno/Sparks National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lifetime Achievement Humanitarian Award, 2001

Series 2: Native American Issues, 1958-1973 0.25 cubic feet

Series 2: Native American Issues is comprised of materials and information relating to Native American activism and activism undertaken on behalf of Native Americans. Materials in this series have been placed in chronological order according to month and year with the earliest dated materials appearing first.

The majority of the material relates to water controversies surrounding water allocations from the Truckee River to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. This was a result of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, which was ratified in 1969, and the preceding resistance to the compact by the Sierra Club and Nevada League of Women Voters. These institutions believed that the compact was discriminatory to Indian interests, and with respect to Pyramid Lake, environmentally unsound. Lobbying efforts against the compact, which are represented in this series, intensified between 1968-69. Miller donated money to the Native American Rights Fund in support of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s suite against water regulations issued by the Secretary of the Interior. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe claimed that the Department of the Interior had permitted increased diversion of the Truckee River for the benefit of white farmers near Reno and thus threatened the existence of the Lake. In 1972, the Paiute won their case in the U.S. District court.

Also included in this series are news clips regarding the Indians of Alcatraz demonstration in 1970, and the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota by 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement. These materials largely tie in with Miller’s concern for issues of social justice and environmentalism. This series includes legal documents, news clips, some correspondence, and literature on Indian rights and culture.

Box
Folder
Contents
5/S2
1
Various booklets on Native American culture and issues, 1958-1969
5/S2
2
League of Women Voters interest in Pyramid Lake water controversy, 1968-1970
5/S2
3
Mollie Gregory Cox (film maker) correspondence and film proposal, 1968 July-December
5/S2
4
League of Women Voters action on behalf of Indian rights, 1969-1970
5/S2
5
Pyramid Lake interstate water compact legal documents, 1969-1971
5/S2
6
Pyramid Lake Resolution and affidavit of Robert Stitser, 1970-1971
5/S2
7
Indians of Alcatraz demonstration, 1970 February-May
5/S2
8
Pyramid Lake suit legal documents and correspondence, 1972 September-November
5/S2
9
Wounded Knee uprising and controversy, 1973

Series 3: The Democratic Party, 1972-1976 0.25 cubic feet

Series 3: Democratic Party contains materials and information about the Democratic Party and politics, but nearly all the materials relate to the role of women in the Democratic Party in the 1970s. Materials have been placed in chronological order according to month and year with the earliest dated materials appearing first.

This series includes items from the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), an organization founded in 1971, with the purpose of standing against sexism, racism, institutionalized violence and poverty. The NWPC also sought to train feminist women candidates for public office, reform party structure to ensure women equal decision-making power, register more women voters, and work for equality in the delegate selection process. This series includes materials from the Women’s Education for Delegate Selection workshop, which assisted women in becoming delegates for the 1972 national party conventions. There is also a fair amount of information and material regarding the Democratic mini-Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri in December 1974 where NWPC Democrats argued for affirmative action and other women’s interests. The 1974 mini-convention was a precursor to the 1976 Democratic Convention held in New York City, which was the first convention in many decades where women’s issues played an important role. Delegation selection was important for the convention because feminists were finally being taken seriously as political players. All of these events were occurring before and after Miller’s 1974 campaign for the U.S. Senate; however, these events represent the growing influence of women in national politics. This series includes correspondence, delegate selection materials, agendas, news clips, and information regarding Miller’s position as the Chairperson for the Nevada Delegation and delegate for the Democratic National Convention.

Box
Folder
Contents
5/S3
1
1972 Democratic Party materials, 1972 February-May
5/S3
2
Women’s Education for Delegation Selection workshop packet, 1972 May
5/S3
3
Democratic Planning Group Washington meeting, 1973-1975
5/S3
4
Democratic Women for Affirmative Action lobbying at Democratic Party Mini Convention in Kansas City, 1974
5/S3
5
National Women’s Political Caucus planning, 1974-1975
5/S3
6
Money letters from Democratic Women for Affirmative Action, 1974-1975
5/S3
7
1976 Democratic Convention delegate selection, 1974-1975
5/S3
8
Democratic Mini Convention in Kansas City, 1974 December
5/S3
9
Democratic National Convention materials, New York City, 1976
Box
Folder
Contents
6/S3
10
Jerry Brown for President campaign, 1976 May
6/S3
11
Democratic Convention Chairmanship, 1976 May-July

Series 4: 1974 U.S Senate Campaign, 1970-1974 0.5 cubic feet

Series 4: 1974 U.S. Senate Campaign includes materials from Miller’s 1974 U.S. Senate campaign where she ran against Lieutenant Governor Harry Reid (D-NV). Materials in this series have been placed into chronological order according to month and year with the earliest dated materials appearing first. Oversized items have been placed in large flat folders that are located in the MSS map cases.

Although Miller lost to Reid in the Democratic primary, she did receive 38% of the votes, and her campaign revealed that there was a base of women’s electoral groups that were willing to support her. In later years, Kit Miller said that Reid would contact her mother to discuss issues and seek her support. Miller ran on a platform of sound management and planning that would put the American wage earner and taxpayers ahead of special interest groups. Not being a career politician, she also emphasized “ordinary citizens” taking back their government and having it work for them rather than against them. This series includes a great deal of news clips (some removed from scrapbooks), financial statements, a campaign press packet, oversized campaign posters, statements, campaign buttons, radio spots, and some correspondence.

Box
Folder
Contents
6/S4
1
Pages from scrapbook containing news clips regarding Miller’s pre-campaign and announcement of candidacy for the United States Senate, 1970-1974
6/S4
2
Operation Life Community Press campaign ads, 1973-1974
6/S4
3
Citizens for Maya Miller Senate Financial Reports, part 1, 1973-1975
6/S4
4
Citizens for Maya Miller Senate Financial Reports, part 2, 1973-1975
6/S4
5
Campaign buttons, 1974
6/S4
6
Audio recordings (5 cassette tapes) of campaign related events, 1974
6/S4
7
Audio recordings (3 cassette tapes) of campaign related events, 1974
6/S4
8
Campaign posters and other oversized campaign materials (located in MSS map cases), part 1, 1974
Item
Contents
1
Maya Miller hand painted banner, 1974
Item
Contents
2
Maya Miller campaign newspaper, 1974
Item
Contents
3
Campaign silk screen stencil, 1974
Item
Contents
4
Campaign button proofs, 1974
Item
Contents
5
Campaign door hanger proof, 1974
Item
Contents
6
Maya Miller United States Senate seal proof, 1974
Item
Contents
7
National Organization for Women (NOW) poster, 1974
Item
Contents
8
Poster of Miller shaking hands with women voters, 1974
Box
Folder
Contents
6/S4
9
Campaign posters and other oversized campaign materials (located in MSS map cases), part 2, 1974
Item
Contents
1
Anne Martin 1920 Maya Miller 1974 sign, 1974
Item
Contents
2
Maya Miller U.S. Senate sign, 1974
Item
Contents
3
Maya Miller U.S. Senate sign from Citizens for Maya Miller, 1974
Box
Folder
Contents
6/S4
10
Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign statements, 1974
6/S4
11
Miller U.S. Senate Campaign financial books, 1974
6/S4
12
Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign platform and materials, 1974
6/S4
13
Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign press kit, 1974
6/S4
14
Scrapbook pages consisting of news clips regarding Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign, 1974-1975
6/S4
15
Citizens for Maya Miller financial statements, 1974-1975
6/S4
16
News clips regarding Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign, part 1, 1974 June-September
6/S4
17
News clips regarding Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign, part 2, 1974 June-September
Box
Folder
Contents
7/S4
18
Campaign radio spots on 7.5 IPS recording reels, 1974 July-August
7/S4
19
Reno Evening Gazette Nixon resignation front page, 1974 August
7/S4
20
News clips and news briefs regarding the results of 1974 Senate Race, 1974 September
7/S4
21
National Mailings binder for Miller’s U.S. Senate Campaign, 1974 September-October

Series 5: Central America Issues, 1983-1999 0.25 cubic feet

Series 5: Central America Issues is a representation of Miller’s interests and work outside of Nevada and the United States. This series has been placed in chronological order according to month and year with the earliest dated materials appearing first.

Miller was long interested in the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, and believed that U.S. intervention in Central America was unnecessary and injurious. She was particularly concerned about the indigenous Miskito of the Atlantic Coast Region, the poorest group of Nicaraguans. Throughout the 1980s, Miller made several trips to Nicaragua with MADRE, the worldwide women’s rights organization, and another educational tour through Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua in 1986 with Funding Exchange to learn about the humanitarian and developmental needs of the region. In Nicaragua, Miller was in contact with people that were close to the politically complex struggles including Sandinista leaders and the Miskito people. Miller respected both sides of the Miskito-Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and overall hoped to support peace. One particular focus of Miller’s trips to Nicaragua was the construction of a “Peace House” in Puerto Cabezas. The house was headquarters for international peace keepers during the 1980s, when many feared the U.S. might invade Nicaragua. Miller was also interested in the “Peace Ship” project. A project supported by the Norwegian government and Nobel laureates Adolfo Perez Esquival and George Wald, to deliver much needed food, medicine, and other products to the Nicaraguan people. The ship was to be accompanied by a mine sweeper to check for mines in Nicaraguan ports laid under the direction of the CIA. This series includes correspondence between Miller and MADRE as well as correspondence with Funding Exchange regarding trips to Central American. Also included is itinerary, news clips (Spanish-language and English), memoranda, and some handwritten notes.

Box
Folder
Contents
7/S5
1
Spanish language newspapers and articles about tensions between the United States and Nicaragua, 1983-1987
7/S5
2
Notes on Nicaragua Revolution including information on Dora Maria Tellez, 1985-1986
7/S5
3
Correspondence and itinerary materials from Funding Exchange trip to Central America, 1986
7/S5
4
Thanksgiving Peace Ship/ Peace House, 1986-1987
7/S5
5
Various correspondence and news clips about Nicaragua, 1986-1988
7/S5
6
Harry Reid Central America fund raising, 1986 August-September
7/S5
7
La Casa de Paz (The Peace House) and MADRE materials, 1987-1990
7/S5
8
Materials from Concerned Citizens about Central America (CCACA) and Miller’s involvement in Central American, 1987-1999

Series 6: Miscellaneous Activism and Issues, 1954-1984 1.5 cubic feet

Series 6: Miscellaneous Activism and Issues contains materials that did not quite fit with any of the aforementioned series. This series has been arranged chronologically according to month and year with the earliest materials appearing first. Certificates and awards have been placed together in a folder at the end with each item receiving an individual number. Non paper items including a medal, a pin, and a block print are located at the very end of the series in Box 10. This series consists of some very early literature from women’s voting groups dating to the 1950s, general administrative bulletins, correspondence, and issue briefs from the Nevada Women League of Voters covering the years 1963-1971. Miller served as the president of the Nevada League of Women Voters of Reno beginning in 1965, and later President of the Nevada League of Women Voters beginning in 1967. The materials and information reflects of a variety of issues that affected the state. Of particular interest to Miller was the creation of a state park at Lake Tahoe and the maintenance of other state parks in Nevada. Also included in this series are odds and ends consisting of handwritten notes on the formative years of the feminist movement, some brief biographies on Miller, general news clips covering Miller’s lifetime, certificates and awards, speeches, and promotional materials from the Foresta Institute and Washoe Pines summer camp.

Box
Folder
Contents
7/S6
1
Early political organization materials, 1954-1956
7/S6
2
News clips about Miller and her interests, 1958-2002
7/S6
3
Nevada League of Women Voters fact and issue sheets regarding Tahoe state park, 1963-1964
7/S6
4
Report: State of Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Lake Tahoe State Park Information Report, 1964 May
7/S6
5
League of Women Voters bulletins, fact sheets, and newsletters, 1965
7/S6
6
Washoe Pines Ranch and Foresta Institute brochures and literature, 1965-1972
Box
Folder
Contents
8/S6
7
Nevada League of Women Voters bulletins, fact sheets, and newsletters, 1966
8/S6
8
Nevada League of Women Voters bulletins, fact sheets, and newsletters, 1967-1968
8/S6
9
News clips regarding domestic and international events from summer of 1968, 1968 August-October
8/S6
10
General correspondence from the National League of Women Voters, 1969-1971
8/S6
11
Various correspondence and notes on feminist formative years, 1970-1981
8/S6
12
Maya Miller biographies, 1973-1975
8/S6
13
Miller’s 1974 calendar, 1974
8/S6
14
The New Yorker articles on multi-national corporations, 1974
8/S6
15
Miller’s speeches, 1975
8/S6
16
Hannah Humanitarian Award program, 1984 June
8/S6
17
Awards and certificates, undated
8/S6
1
Distinguished Nevadan citation, 1981
8/S6
2
Certificate of appreciation from Planned Parenthood, 1991
8/S6
3
Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama certificate of appreciation, 1994
8/S6
4
Striving for Latino Advancement award, 1999
8/S6
5
Certificate of Commendation 1998 Latinos for Political Education, 1999
Item
Contents
8/S66
Picture mat signed by Paul Laxalt, undated
Box
Item
Contents
10/S6
18
Washoe Pines Ranch pin, undated
10/S6
19
Wood block print of Pyramid Lake, undated
10/S6
20
Distinguished Nevadan medal, undated

Series 7: Oral Interviews, 1974-2003 0.5 cubic feet

Series 7: Oral Histories consists of both transcribed copies of interviews and digital recordings. These interviews have been arranged chronologically according to year with the earliest appearing first. Transcribed interviews are contained in folders and located in Box 8, and compact discs are located in cases within Box 9.

Many of these interviews were conducted throughout the 1990s, and one in the early 2000s. They cover a variety of subjects including Miller’s childhood, her involvement with Operation Life, her aversion to the Vietnam War, Washoe Pines Ranch, her campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1974, and even her brief involvement with the Black Panthers. Aside from typed copies of the interviews and audio, there are also several video interviews included in this series. There are clips of Ruby Duncan, as well as a 1992 interview with Maya Miller and Marty Makower filmed at Miller’s home in Washoe Valley by Dartmouth historian Annelise Orleck, author of Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty.

Box
Folder
Contents
8/S7
1
Transcribed Maya Miller interview about the fight to get a (state) park at Lake Tahoe, 1993 February 10
8/S7
2
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on early League of Women Voters, 1993 February 24
8/S7
3
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Indian Organizing in Nevada, 1993 March 3
8/S7
4
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on League of Women Voters food and youth, 1993 March 17
8/S7
5
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on the Census Bureau in 1969-1970, 1993 March 31
8/S7
6
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on National Welfare Right Organization and March on the Las Vegas Strip, 1993 April 6
8/S7
7
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Vietnam, March 5, 1994., 1994 March 5
8/S7
8
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on the Black Panthers, 1994 March 5
8/S7
9
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Washoe Pines Camp, 1994 March 25
Box
Folder
Contents
8/S1
10
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on U.S. Senate Race in Nevada 1974, 1994 April 13
Box
Folder
Contents
8/S7
11
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Women’s Lobby in Washington D.C. 1976-1978, 1994 May 11
8/S7
12
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Operation Life Community Development Corporation, 1994 May 19
8/S7
13
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Sheri Rice radio show KOH, 2003 July 27
8/S7
14
Transcribed Maya Miller interview on Los Angeles and parents, 2003 August 4
Box
Contents
9/S7
Clips of Ruby Duncan, 1973
9/S7
Maya Miller and Marty Makower interview, part 1, 1992 September 2-3
9/S7
Maya Miller and Marty Makower interview, part 2, 1992 September 2-3
9/S7
Maya Miller and Mary Makower interview, side 1, 1992 September 2
9/S7
Maya Miller and Mary Makower interview, side 2, 1992 September 2
9/S7
Maya Miller and Marty Makower interview, side 1, 1992 September 3
9/S7
Maya Miller and Marty Makower interview, side 2, 1992 September 3
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on early local League of Women Voters, 1993 February 24
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Indian Organizing in Nevada, sides A and B, 1993 March 3
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on National League of Women Voters food and youth, sides A and B, 1993 March 17
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Census Bureau, sides A and B, 1993 March 31
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on National Welfare Rights March on Las Vegas strip, sides A and B, 1993 April 6
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on the Black Panthers, 1994 March 5
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Vietnam, 1994 March 5
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Washoe Pines Camp, sides A and B, 1994 March 18
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Washoe Pines Camp, sides A and B, 1994 March 25
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on 1974 Senate Campaign, sides A and B, 1994 April 13
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on U.S. Senate, 1994 April 22
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on DC lobbying, sides A and B, 1994 May 11
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Operation Life in Las Vegas, sides A and B, 1994 May 19
9/S7
Ruby Duncan and Maya Miller interview, 1999 September 15
9/S7
Discussion with Georgia, Sharon, and Ana on welfare reform issues, 1999 September 15-18
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on meeting Ruby Duncan and Operation Life, side 1, 1999 September 18
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on meeting Ruby Duncan and Operation Life, side 2, 1999 September 18
9/S7
Maya Miller interview on Los Angeles Childhood, sides A and B, 2003 August