Universal York

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Long awaited new book of drawings by York folk artist Lewis Miller coming soon


Nearly fifty years ago the Historical Society of York County (now part of York County Heritage Trust) published a selection of Lewis Miller watercolor drawings from its collection; it was titled Lewis Miller, Sketches and Chronicles: The Reflections of a Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania German Folk Artist.

A native of York, Miller is known nationally for his accurate depictions of nineteenth-century American life, and reproductions of many of Miller’s drawings have been widely used in books and other publications to illustrate the period.

York County Heritage Trust is fortunate to hold many more original Lewis Miller drawings, and a new volume, Lewis Miller’s People, will be coming out in a few weeks. This long-awaited, two-part volume of previously unpublished drawings focuses on about 700 mostly full-length profile portraits of York County personalities sketched during Miller’s long life. Miller captioned them with each person’s name and often their occupation, occasionally adding personal and family information. Some are noted “ein Hess,” indicating Revolutionary War Hessian soldiers who settled in York County.

The new publication throws more light on our past, on professions and trades and sometimes the background of the individuals. In many cases, these watercolors are the only images of these people, making them especially valuable not only for social history, but to their thousands and thousands of descendants still here in York County and spread throughout the country.

This link will take you to the index to Lewis Miller’s People. Even if none of your ancestors are depicted, the drawings and descriptions offer a fascinating look into our heritage.

Lewis Miller’s People has been edited by Lila Fourhman-Shaull, York County Heritage Trust Director of Library and Archives and myself, with a foreword by Dr. Simon J. Bronner. Dr. Ted Sickler coordinated the project, with publication by York County Heritage Trust.

A presentation and book-signing by the editors to celebrate the release of Lewis Miller’s People will be held on Sunday, November 16 at 2 p.m. at the York County Heritage Trust Historical Society Museum and Library, 250 East Market St., York. If you are coming, please RSVP to 717-848-1587 x210 or kredshaw@yorkheritage.org.

Click here for ordering information for this limited edition volume.

Some of the individuals from the book will be featured in future posts.