Alice Parsons Millard was born in Jefferson City, Missouri on May 4, 1873. When she was a young girl, her family moved to Chicago. In 1896, she and her sister, Emily, were sent to Europe to be educated; Alice was sent to London to study art. She and bookseller George Millard met in a bookshop in Chicago shortly after Alice returned to the United States. A friendship and partnership began, and in 1901, she accompanied George on his book buying trip to Europe. While in Europe, the two were married. The couple had one child, Roxana, who had disabilities and lived her entire life in an institution. The Millards moved to California in 1914 and opened up a bookstore called "George M. Millard Rare & Fine Imported Books." Their friend Frank Lloyd Wright built them a home in Pasadena known as "La Miniatura;" it was finished in 1923. George died in 1918 and Alice ran the rare book business by herself. She also started buying and selling antiques. In 1926, Frank Lloyd Wright's son, Lloyd, built an addition to their house that became Alice's "Little Museum of the Book" where she would often have exhibits of her books and antiques. Alice, a Christian Scientist, was active in the book trade up to her death of cancer in July 1938. Much of the Millards' collection of books was given to the Huntington Library.
Scope and Content
The collection contains 208 semi-cataloged items housed in two boxes (with one oversize volume). The majority of the collection deals with Alice Parsons Millard's estate and assets at the time of her death. There are documents and five volumes of inventories of the house and "museum" as well as 52 inventory note cards. These inventories list items (including furniture, books, etc.) owned by the Millards and often include the price they paid for it and/or the price for which they sold it. There is also a twelve-page, typed memoir of Alice Parsons Millard by Lucille V. Miller (1984). The correspondence includes 31 pieces, sixteen of which were written by Alice Parsons Millard. Many of the letters and postcards were written while Alice was abroad. One of her letters is to her client, collector Estelle Doheny. A number of her letters were to the Vanderhoef family, particularly Francis Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr. and his mother, Cornelia Young Vanderhoef. Ten letters by Alice Parsons Millard's secretary, Gertrude E. Treat, revolve around Alice's failing health, death, and the distribution of her estate. The photographs consist of 57 black and white photographs (and two negatives) of the following: the Millard's Highland Park house, the exterior and interior of "La Miniatura" the house's exhibits, the South Pasadena House, and three gates Alice contemplated purchasing while in London. There are also several personal photographs of Alice Parsons Millard, George Millard and various family members. There are five pieces of ephemera including Alice Parsons Millard's passport (1926) and copies of three of her obituaries (1938). The oversize guest book begins in 1924 and has 31 pages of visitors' inscriptions. Several notable people are in this volume including: Albert and Elsa Einstein (they visited in 1932 and 1933), Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Addenda is several folders of material (43 items) with similar material and topics as the main collection. The addenda begins at Box 2, folder 8. The second addenda (39 items) is primarily correspondence and begins at Box 2, folder 18.