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Hall of Fame Honorees

Caroline Miller

With a native's love for the characters she created, Waycross-born writer Caroline Miller captured the imagination of readers at home and abroad when she recreated with striking lyricism an historical south Georgia and its peoples. With affectionate and painstaking detail, Miller's Lamb in His Bosom brought to life the hard yet spiritually full lives of a yeoman class of farming pioneers too often overshadowed in fiction by the dramatic extremes represented by, for example, the poor sharecroppers of Tobacco Road or the landed gentry of Civil War plantation sagas. In bringing to light a community previously neglected in regional novels of the South, "Carrie" Miller's 1933 bestseller became the first novel by a Georgian to win a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for a novel, and was honored as well with the prestigious French Prix Femina.

Born Caroline Pafford in Waycross, Georgia in 1903, she was the youngest of seven children of schoolteacher Elias Pafford and his wife Levy Zan Hall Pafford. Soon after graduating Waycross High School, she married William D. Miller, her former high school English teacher, and they moved to Baxley. A housewife rearing three young boys, Miller had published a single short story and shared local honors for a prizewinning play. She recalled later that she felt herself nearly overwhelmed by the pressures of motherhood, yet she drew inspiration from the examples of the pioneer women in her own family history and determined to write an historical novel. She found herself driving countless miles between Baxley and Darien, her three young sons in tow, and as they drove the pine barrens' back roads Miller sought out older residents whom she discovered to be living treasuries of the south Georgia "piney woods." Making notes of their diction and manners, Miller then invested the world of her fictional heroine, Cean Carver, and her family with a stunning historical realism. According to the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Miller was able to "recapture the often monotonous rhythms of household activities; the stoic almost fatalistic endurance of her pioneer ancestors; and the poetic beauty of backcountry Georgia." The New York Times' critic Louis Kroenenberger said Lamb

has a wonderful freshness about it; not simply the freshness of a new writer, but the freshness of a new world. It all seems to have happened far away and long ago, yet Mrs. Miller has caught it roundly here and made it in its small way imperishable.

Lamb would go through more than thirty printings in its first edition, and there would be translations into several languages. Ironically, the eclipse of Miller's celebrity was hastened by Lamb in his Bosom'scommercial success, which prompted a Macmillan editor to go talent scouting for novelists in Georgia, where he would meet young woman named Margaret Mitchell, who had a manuscript of her own. And the pressure of the fame that attended the Pulitzer Prize drove a wedge into Miller's marriage, as well. Divorced in 1937 from William Miller, she would marry Clyde Ray Jr., with whom she had a son and a daughter, and settled in Waynesville, North Carolina . Caroline Miller continued to write but published only a handful of stories and one more novel, Lebanon (1944), a romantic story of a young woman again set in the antebellum south Georgia lowlands, which was edited beyond her liking and compared unfavorably with her first novel by critics. Meanwhile Lamb in His Bosom's popularity receded and recognition of Miller's achievement waned until the 1990s. Baxley honored her with Caroline Miller Day in 1991, and in 1993, the year after Miller's death, Lambwas republished by Peachtree Press. Miller was also one of nine Georgia authors featured by the Fulton County library as part of a cultural exhibit during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Bibliography

The following titles may be found in the Hall of Fame Library:

Lamb in His Bosom. London: Frederick Muller, 1936. 2 nd ed.

Lamb in His Bosom. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1933.

Lamb in His Bosom. Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1934.

Lamb in His Bosom. Hamburg: The Albatross, 1935.

Lamb in His Bosom. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1933.

Lamb in His Bosom. New York: Windsor Edition, 1933.

Lamb in His Bosom. Dunwoody: Norman S. Berg, 1968.

Lamb in His Bosom. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1993.

Lamb in His Bosom. Franklin Center: Franklin Library, 1972.

Lamb in His Bosom. Den Haag: Zuid-Hollandiscle Uitgevers-Mantschappij, 19--.

Lamb in His Bosom. Barcelona: Ediciones del Zodiaco, 1945. Translator Juan G. de Luaces.

Lebanon. Garden City: Doubleday Dorian and Company, Inc. 1944.

Lebanon. Philadelpha: The Blakiston Co. 1944.

Additional Links

Caroline Miller
INDUCTEE: 2007

Born: August 26, 1903
Waycross, Georgia

Died: July, 12 1992
Waynesville, North Carolina

University of Georgia Libraries | Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library