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Sadie Kneller Miller


photo of Sadie Miller

Sadie Kneller Miller, pioneer woman photojournalist, was born in Westminster, Maryland. In 1885, she graduated from Western Maryland College. During this time, Miller pursued an interest in writing for the Westminster Democratic Advocate.

Miller later moved to Baltimore with her parents and began writing for the Baltimore-Telegram. She became known as "the only woman baseball reporter in the country." Her work included covering the Baltimore Orioles. From this, she was led to an interest in photography. She later earned the distinction of being one of the few women to successfully combine the occupations of writer and photographer.

Miller's skill with the camera was recognized by Leslie's Illustrated Weekly after she submitted photographs of Spanish-American War activities at the Naval Academy in Annapolis to the publication. As a result, she was given a permanent position at Leslie's. Miller stayed with Leslie's for sixteen-years and had numerous unusual assignments. At home, she scooped all national publications with such historic photos as the Baltimore fire of 1904, the Taft inauguration, exclusive on-the-floor photographs and interviews of five Democratic conventions, and famous portraits of Teddy Roosevelt and Susan B. Anthony (the last formal photo of the suffragist, which was taken just a few days before Anthony died).

Her exceptional reputation was also based on the illustrated articles she filed from abroad. She became known as the only woman war correspondent in the world by submitting pieces from the firing line in Morocco to the gold rush in the Yukon; from "independent" Cuba to the leper colony of George IV; from Czarist Russia to Turkey and the German bastion on Helgoland just before World War I. One of her last scoops was the photographic coverage of the sinking of the Maine in 1912. Her most widely reprinted piece was an interview with Pancho Villa at his guerrilla base in the Mexican mountains in 1916.

Miller's name and her work slipped into oblivion after her death. Her work was rediscovered by Dr. Keith Richwine at Western Maryland College. She is now highly recognized as the best known and most adventurous writer and photojournalist of her time.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 1988.

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