Skip to main content

Chapman James Milling papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-11292

The papers of Chapman James Milling (1901-1981) span the years 1838 though 1987. Included in the papers are personal, family, and literary correspondence, literary pieces by Milling and other writers, news clippings, photographs, genealogical files, and miscellaneous bound volumes. Units of material in the collection reveal Milling's literary and medical pursuits, and the collection focuses principally upon these two lifelong commitments. The primary focus of the collection is Milling's literary career, reflected through various drafts and versions, published and unpublished of Milling's poems, short stories, reviews, and essays, as well as of the books he wrote, edited, or contributed to--Singing Arrows (1938), Red Carolinians (1940), Exile Without an End (1943), Beneath So Kind a Sky (1947), Colonial South Carolina: Two Contemporary Descriptions by Governor James Glen and Doctor George Milligen-Johnson (1951), and Buckshot and Hounds (1967)--and an unpublished novel--The Darkening Land or Wampum and Tartan--based upon the Cherokee Removal of 1838. Voluminous correspondence with editors, publishers, and fellow writers are evidence of Milling's long and productive life. Related papers reflect his concern both for the preservation and the creative use of folklore and his role in the founding of the Southeastern Folklore Society in 1935 and as advising editor of the Southern Folklore Quarterly.

Among the most recognizable names represented here by literary correspondence are those of fellow writers Henry Bellaman, John Bennett, Elizabeth Boatwright Coker, DuBose Heyward, Archibald Rutledge, Herbert Ravenel Sass, and Samuel Gaillard Stoney. Present in the collection, too, are the synopsis of a novel entitled Hospital, early attempts at drama, and the synopsis of an untitled professional book on the subject of psychiatry.

Milling's literary impulses found fruition early in his life. As a public school student at St. John's School, Darlington, young Milling edited the school paper, and as a freshman at Presbyterian College in 1919 he received his first check for a poem, a prize for a contest sponsored by the campus literary magazine. During his senior year there, Milling edited the college weekly. Following his graduation in 1923 with a B.A. degree, Milling taught biology, chemistry, and physics for one year at Rock Hill High School. While studying at the Medical College of South Carolina, 1924-1928, he took a correspondence course in writing from the Hoosier Institute in Indianapolis, published poetry in the Charleston newspapers, and learned the rudiments of guitar-playing from his landlady.

A large segment of news clippings and magazine tearsheets attests to the success of Milling's poetic endeavors which culminated in the appearance of Singing Arrows in 1938, published by Columbia's own Bostick and Thornley. Charleston author John Bennett cited the book for its demonstration of Milling's poetic "technique, pattern, subject-breadth," but especially for "its most generous human sympathy, for things, creatures and mankind--which gives your writing invariable appeal" (22 Nov. 1938).

During the autumn of 1940 the University of North Carolina Press issued Milling's book on Indians, Red Carolinians. The book was dedicated to his wife Edna Daniell Milling (1903-1953) who assisted with research and provided many photographs for the work. "This is a noble achievement," Archibald Rutledge wrote in a letter of 17 Oct. 1940. "You've approached the Indian in spirit and in truth." "How you have escaped making dust of so dead a subject I do not see," wrote Charleston artist Elizabeth O'Neill Verner in a letter, 18 Dec. 1940. "Instead you have breathed on moulded clay and made it come to life." Dr. John R. Swanton, of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute, wrote that the book would "promptly take its place among the volumes always to be kept at my elbow" (27 Sept. 1940).

Milling's next book, Exile Without An End, published by Bostick and Thornley in 1943, was an account of the destiny of the thousand Acadian exiles who arrived in Charleston from Nova Scotia in 1755. The book was dedicated to his mother, Mary Lanneau Whilden Milling (1860-1952), a direct descendent of one of the Catholic exiles, Pierre La Noue (Lanneau). Included in the papers are extant research materials Milling used in writing this book, as well as information collected after the book's publication.

Milling also edited and wrote the introduction to Colonial South Carolina: Two Contemporary Descriptions by Governor James Glen and Doctor George Milligen-Johnston. Published in 1951, this historical work was the first of a series jointly sponsored by the University South Caroliniana Society and Library. The 1947 book Beneath So Kind a Sky, for which Milling provided a lengthy introduction, was a collaborative effort between Milling and Carl Julien, under the direction of Frank Wardlaw, editor of the University of South Carolina Press. The long association between Milling and Wardlaw is reflected in their twenty-year correspondence. When Milling became a contender for South Carolina poet laureate in 1974, Wardlaw wrote that he hoped Milling would get the position and said that he was writing to a friend "to suggest that he put a bee in the governor's ears" (8 Mar. 1974).

Among the collection's literary manuscripts are several drafts of The Darkening Land or Wampum and Tartan, an historical novel based on the Cherokee Removal of 1838, whose main characters were the educated class of mixed bloods evicted from their plantation homes and herded to the territory west of the Mississippi (Oklahoma). Milling devoted major attention in his later years to this novel which was to have been dedicated to his third wife, Elizabeth Player Milling. Revised several times, and sent to numerous publishers, it aroused interest among Milling's literary friends and acquaintances but was never accepted for publication. In a letter of 5 Sept. 1974 his friend Frank Wardlaw asked--"Have you thought of employing the source material you used in your novel and making it a non-fiction account?" Encouraging Milling to retain the novel form, Elizabeth Boatwright Coker wrote in a memorandum of 25 Feb. 1976 that "your descriptions of the forests and the sights, smells, and sounds of it are always exciting and true, often breathtakingly lovely. Your accounts of hunting and fishing are absolutely marvelous, as is to be expected. There's no one better."

Milling's knowledge of nature lore and his enthusiasm for hunting had also been evident in his book Buckshot and Hounds, published by A.S. Barnes and Company during the fall of 1967. The collection contains photographs, a typed manuscript, and correspondence relating to his work, as well as hunting articles submitted to magazines, and manuscripts describing flora and fauna of Richland and Darlington counties.

By profession Milling was a physician who initially specialized in psychiatry. In 1928 he came to Columbia as an intern at the South Carolina State Hospital, where subsequently he was appointed assistant physician. He later specialized in diseases of the eye, ear, nose, and throat and in 1938 became department head at State Hospital in that area of medicine. In 1943 he entered private practice as an ophthalmologist and simultaneously served as interim director of Waverly Sanitarium, of which he later became director (1948-1968). Materials documenting his professional career and affiliations include medical correspondence and writings. His private journals, 1939 and 1934, and dream record, 1938-1940 and 1940-1943, are filled with personal observations as well as the record of his daily life, including lecture commitments and references to involvements with such Columbia organizations as the LeConte Scientific Society, the Quill Club, and the Town Theatre.

Family correspondence and miscellaneous materials relate to Milling's mother, Mary Lanneau Whilden Milling (1860-1952). Personal and family correspondence files include letters to Milling from his first wife, Edna Daniell Milling, who wrote from Chicora College and later from Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton, and from his second wife, Margaret Crawford Risher Milling.


  • 1838-1987


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


11.25 Linear Feet (9 cartons)


1901 Dec 11: Born at Springville, Darlington County, son of Chapman James and Mary Lanneau Whilden Milling; 1919: Graduated St. John's High School, Darlington; 1919-1923: Presbyterian College, B.A., 1923; 1923-1924: Teacher, biology, chemistry, physics, Rock Hill High School; 1924-1928: Medical College of South Carolina, M.D., 1928; 1926 Aug 26: Married Edna Evelyn Daniell, Clinton; 1928-1929: Intern, South Carolina State Hospital; 1929-1932: Psychiatric residency, South Carolina State Hospital; 1936-1942: Senior assistant physician, South Carolina State Hospital; 1938: Singing Arrows published; 1938: Head physician, eye, ear, nose, and throat department, South Carolina State Hospital; 1940: Red Carolinians published; 1940: Recipient, Presbyterian College Gold "P" distinguished alumnus award; 1941: Interim medical director, Waverly Sanitarium, Columbia; 1942: Recipient, honorary Phi Beta Kappa key, University of South Carolina; 1943: Exile Without An End published; 1943: Private ophthalmological practice; 1947: Beneath So Kind a Sky published in conjunction with photographer Carl Julien; 1948-1968: Medical director, Waverly Sanitarium, Columbia; 1951: Colonial South Carolina: Two Contemporary Descriptions by Governor James Glen and Doctor George Milligen-Johnston published; 1953 Dec 15: Death of first wife, Edna Daniell Milling (1903-1953); 1967: Buckshot and Hounds published; 1968 Oct 13: Death of second wife, Margaret Crawford Risher Milling (1911-1968); 1977: Recipient, William Gilmore Simms Award, College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Institute for Southern Studies; 1979: Retired from private practice; 1981: Mar 17 Died at Columbia.

Series Description

Box 1: Biographical; Including newsclippings, biographical questionnaires, certificates, and diplomas documenting the lives of Chapman James Milling, Edna Daniell Milling, and Margaret Crawford Risher Milling.

Boxes 1-2: Personal/Family Correspondence, 1869-1987 and undated; Consisting in large part of letters exchanged between Chapman J. Milling and his first wife, Edna Daniell Milling, but also including letters to and from Milling's second wife, Margaret Crawford Risher Milling, and mother, Mary Lanneau Whilden Milling, and family correspondence of earlier generations inherited by Milling.

Boxes 3-6: Literary, 1923-1975 and undated; Subdivided into six subseries: correspondence, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, book reviews, and works by other writers. Literary correspondence includes letters to an from editors and publishers, arranged chronologically, and other writers, arranged alphabetically. The fiction subseries is further divided into novels, short stories, and plays, many of which exist in various drafts and are accompanied by correspondence files regarding their publication. The non-fiction subseries is comprised of books, articles, editorials, and essays in various drafts and accompanied in some cases by correspondence. The poetry subseries is made up of various drafts and paste-ups for Milling's poetry anthology, as well as drafts of miscellaneous poems, published and unpublished, and correspondence with publishers. Other writers represented here by literary pieces include Katherine Bellaman, Elizabeth Boatwright Coker, Louise Jones DuBose, Laura Jervey Hopkins, Paul L. Lambert, James B. Meriwether, Edna Daniell Milling, Margaret R. Milling, Dinwiddie B. Phillips, Harriet M. Salley, Whitelaw Saunders, S.M. Scruggs, and E.T.H. Shaffer.

Box 6: Education, 1919-1942 and undated; Miscellaneous materials documenting aspects of Milling's studies at Presbyterian College and the Medical College of South Carolina, as well as his enrollment in three literary correspondence courses--the Hoosier Institute, Short Story Department, the Palmer Institute of Authorship, and the Cheney/Trent Poetry Writing Course. Additionally, the series includes materials reflecting his interest in the study of cartoon design and his enrollment in the Army Medical Service Extension Course during World War II.

Box 6: Medical, 1933-1970 and undated; Documenting in part Milling's professional work in the fields of psychiatry and ophthalmology through correspondence, miscellaneous printed materials, and professional writings, published and unpublished.

Boxes 6-7: Topical Files; Chiefly newsclippings and miscellaneous organizational materials reflecting Milling's interest and/or involvement in such representative groups as the Columbia Art Association, Columbia Drama Club, Columbia Garden Club, Kosmos Club, Men's Garden Club of Columbia, Quadrille Club, Quill Club, Richland County Historical Society, Rotary Club of Columbia, and Town Theatre. Other topical files represent his research interest in the following subjects: folk music, folklore, hunting, Indians, Jews, Negroes, and wildlife.

Box 7: Genealogy; Including genealogical materials on the Clarkson-Crawford, Daniell, Lanneau, Milling, Risher, and Whilden families. For additional genealogical information, consult the Whilden family scrapbooks filed with bound volumes.

Box 7: Photographs; Subdivided into persons and topics, this series includes images of Milling and other family members and friends, as well as pictorial materials relating to such research subjects as fishing, hunting, and Indians.

Box 7: Edna Daniell Milling; Including World War II ration books, Chicora College memorabilia, and a copy of Edna Daniell Milling's medical record.

Boxes 7-8: Bound Volumes, 1857-1964; Consisting of Chapman J. Milling's dream record, bank book, and physician's journal; Whilden family scrapbooks, memorial record, autograph book, and account book; and Margaret Crawford Risher illing's baby book and engagement calendars.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script