Dayton C. Miller, His Life, Work and Contributions as a Scientist and Organologist
Abstract of Master's Report
Maynard, William J. "Dayton C. Miller: his life, work, and contributions as a scientist and organologist." Master's Report, Palmer Graduate Library School, Long Island University, Brookville, New York, 1971, 101 pp.
The contributions Dr. Miller made to organology are without parallel; his collection is the finest of its type ever assembled.
Background of Study
There is hardly a book or paper relating to organology written in the last twenty years which does not give credit to Dr. Miller; either citing one of his scientific findings in acoustics or using a photograph of an instrument from the Miller collection to give a visual example. Robert Donington in his book The Instruments of Music, 8 defines musical sounds as those...
Dayton C. Miller: Early Years
Strongsville, Ohio, in the late 1800's, was a modest agricultural town, located about nine miles south of Cleveland. Young Dayton C. Miller lived with his parents in the large colonial brick house that belonged to his maternal grandfather, Alanson Pomeroy. Miller's grandmother Pomeroy's maiden name was Pope, and she was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The house was the most pretentious dwelling in the...
Early Experiments in Science and the Beginnings of A Flute Collection
In 1895, Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, the German physicist, discovered the X-ray. While experimenting with the Crookes tubes (see earlier section), Roentgen found that when he covered the tubes with a black paper and turned on the electrical current, a fluorescent substance nearby glowed. He noted that these unknown, invisible rays could pass through some substances such as flesh, but were stopped by other, such...
Dr. Miller published his first book, Laboratory Physics, in 1903. This was a manual designed to be a student handbook for the performance of experimental problems in physics. It was used by Miller at Case for his and other sophmore physics classes.
The Nature and Measurement of Sounds
Dr. Miller's interest in sound, and the influence that various materials had on the tone quality of a flute, necessitated his developing an instrument which could measure and record sound waves. The analysis of such records would then enable a study in a scientific manner of sound phenomena.
The Art of Collecting
When one approaches the amount of materials in the Miller collection, he cannot help but be amazed at the magnitude of it's holdings. The Library of Congress Checklist informs the reader that there are 1,426 instruments, all but a few are flutes or a relative of the flute, and 93 additional instruments which were either not numbered by Miller or were added after the...
A Final Home for the Collection
In chapter seven, it was noted in footnote number 71 that Miller had some concern about just where the collection would be permanently preserved. He had thought at the time (1927) that it would be placed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, since dialog between the collector and the museum had begun in 1924. In a letter to Dr. C. G. Abbott, assistant secretary...
Family and Friends
The accomplishments in science and organology that Miller attained are extraordinary in their scope and depth. Equally extraordinary was his humane relationship with his family and friends. Respondents to this writer all remember Miller for his warmth, kindness, generosity, understanding and humility.
Dr. Miller at Case University The investigation of Dayton C. Miller's professional and avocational activities, revealed his profound contributions to both science and organology. Similarly, the humanistic aspects of his involvement with his fellow man was also noted. Miller probably would have put the latter trait under the heading of ethics, for in a commencement address given at Baldwin-Wallace College on June 12, 1939,...