Henry Russell Miller
Attorney, author, publisher
Henry Russell Miller was born in Sydney, Ohio in 1880. Miller’s father was a Presbyterian clergyman who also served as editor of the publications of the United Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. Miller’s family relocated to Allegheny City when he was quite young and his early education was taken in the grammar schools of the city. Miller went on to obtain a degree in law at the University of Pittsburgh and was admitted to the Allegheny County Bar in 1902. Miller set up shop immediately and started a successful career in general civil law.
Concurrent with his career as a lawyer, Miller was also a writer and published his first novel, The Man Higher Up, in 1910. A moral tale of a young man’s test of character in the seedy world of Pittsburgh politics, The Man Higher Up was a success. Not only did the book itself sell but the novel was syndicated in newspapers as big as the Observer of Spokane, Washington to smaller markets such as the Cayuga Chief of Weedsport, New York. Miller followed with His Rise to Power in 1911, a similar morality play told at the state level of government. This second novel was similarly syndicated and also very well received. Miller’s third novel, The ambition of Mark Truitt, came out in 1913 and was made into two movies; the much more compellingly titled, Fruits of Desire in 1916 and Fruits of Passion, in 1919. A fourth novel, The House of Toys, was published in 1914. A 1920 movie based on the book starred Seena Owen, who had played Attarea, Princess Beloved in D.W. Griffith’s 1916 cinematic epic, Intolerance.
Miller served in the field service division of the YMCA and was deployed in France for two years during World War I. After writing a short history of the First Division, Miller set aside his pen to manage the Crescent Press of Pittsburgh, eventually becoming the owner. Contemporary descriptions of the Crescent Press depict it as specializing in direct mailers and catalogs. The press did, however, reprint George T. Fleming’s Views of Old Pittsburgh in 1933 and has published several WWI related texts including Miller’s history of the First Division and a war diary kept by Thomas Mellon Jr. Miller also served as the director of Sykes Advertising Inc. and was active in the both the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club. He died in 1955 at age 75, survived by two brothers and his daughter, Helen Jean Miller.