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Dr. Mary Emily Miller Endowment

The Society for the History of Discoveries is pleased to announce the Dr. Mary Emily Miller Endowment, created through a generous bequest by Dr. Miller to the Society. The endowment will provide travel funding for graduate student members whose papers have been accepted for presentation at the Society’s annual meeting.

Travel Award Eligibility

All applicants must

  • Be members in good standing in the Society for the History of Discoveries
  • Be enrolled in a graduate program at a college or university at the time of application
  • Have their paper proposal accepted by the program committee for presentation at the Society’s annual meeting.

The endowment provides up to $500.00 US annually for each of two graduate student members upon submission of receipts for travel to the Society’s annual meeting. Students must make a request to be considered for this award and submit a preliminary travel budget when they submit their paper proposal to the program committee. Awardees will be notified by the program chair at the same time they are notified that their papers have been accepted for presentation.

NOTE: Selection of graduate student paper proposals is not restricted to awardees of the travel grant.

The first woman inducted into the Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame, 2011

About Dr. Mary Emily Miller

SHD Life Member Mary Emily Miller was a devoted and outspoken teacher, historian, and philanthropist. Born on the family farm near Frederica, Delaware (a tri-centennial farm continuously owned and operated by the same family since 1684), she began her academic career in 1955, graduating with distinction in History from the University of Delaware, followed in 1956 with a certificate in Business Administration from Harvard-Radcliffe College. She became the first dean of women and a member of the History Department at the newly chartered Methodist College in North Carolina, while working on her Ph.D. Her published dissertation, The Delaware Oyster Industry, Past and Present, became a foundational work in environmental and economic history, as well as an important contribution to maritime history. Doctorate in hand, she joined the faculty of Park College in Parkville, MO, once again becoming dean of women, before accepting a position at Salem College, now Salem University, in Massachusetts, where she taught from 1966 until her retirement in 1992.

Her retirement was not a passive one, however. M.E., as she was known to her friends, continued teaching through the University of Delaware’s Lifelong Learning Program, and became involved in an extraordinary range of volunteer and philanthropic activities. To name just a few: nine years as board member of the Delaware Agricultural Museum; state chair of the American History Essay Competition for the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which she was a member; an active member of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and occasional crew member for this tall ship; and involvement with the Frederica Historical Society and the Friends of the Delaware Archives, among other organizations.

M.E. received broad recognition for her accomplishments. The Delaware Small Business Development Bureau presented her with the Longevity Award, co-sponsored by the University of Delaware; in 2011, she became the first woman inducted into the Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame; and she was awarded the Methodist College Medallion, which recognized her 35 years of distinguished service to teaching. At the time of her death in 2015, she had been a member of the American Association of University Professors for 50 years. She also was heard to comment at the Society for the History of Discoveries meeting in Austin, Texas, in 2014 that she had attended nearly every one of the Society’s annual meetings of the past half century.

Mary Emily was well known as a role model for her students, as well as a big supporter of their advancement. She began her academic philanthropy in the early 1960s, endowing a student scholarship in honor of her parents, George and Lillian Miller, at Park College. Other scholarships followed. It is in this spirit that we have used M.E.’s bequest to the Society to establish this travel award to assist student members interested in sharing their scholarship with the Society.

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