The Miller School

          ...another school in Historic-Memphis



In December of 2014, the Historic-Memphis webmaster was checking Ebay for historical items about Memphis and found a little brochure on a Memphis school he had never heard of ... "The Miller School".  He was the only bidder on the item and so this little booklet has become the foundation for a new page on the Historic-Memphis website.   The complete brochure "Miller School Catalog 1912-1913" is posted below.

The Miller School was located on Madison Avenue from  1910 to 1915 (Other sources say 1907-15).  It was an all boy's school started by Professor Phipps Miller who had begun his career at the Memphis University School, where he taught for 10 years.  His new school was founded in 1910 in the belief that the rapid growth of Memphis called for another preparatory school for boys.  The success of the school during its first four years seems to have justified this belief.

Miller School 1912-13  



UPDATE:  Patricia J. Treadwell, the great-niece of Phipps Miller, contacted us January 17, 2015, with updated information:  "... Phipps became ill and he and Hannabelle went to live with my grandparents (his sister, Sallie Miller McClure and brother-in-law) in Hawkins County, Tennessee near Rogersville. He died October 13, 1923.  Hannabelle stayed in Rogersville and took care of my grandmother until she died October 5, 1925.  She then went back to Marion, VA (where she was born) since it was unseemly for a Widow and a widower to live together.  Both Phipps and Hannabelle are buried at Round Hill Cemetery in Marion, Virginia." 


The Historic-Memphis website is grateful to Patricia for sending several important photos and clippings which filled in the missing pieces of our page.  We have revised this page on the Miller School, adding her updates and important memorabilia. 



The purpose of the Miller School was to prepare boys and young men for the leading colleges and universities and to prepare them for the responsibilities of life.   Students were taught " to grow in knowledge, build character and to strive for a high standard of Christian citizenship".  The yearly fee for the school, in 1912-13 was $120 ($80 on entrance and $40 on Feb 1).  The curriculum included  Mathematics, English, History, Geography and spelling.  Latin was added in the 4th year, French in the 5th year,  Greek and German in the 6th year, and Science in the 8th year.  There were four teachers at the school:  Professor Miller, Mr Ransom, Mr. Jordan, and Mr. Meek, with 75-100 students during the 1912-13 school year.

Temporary Miller School  

Prof  Miller

 Miller School 1910s

Class group 1912

Class group 1912

Class Group 1912


Athletics were promoted at Miller School in every way.  All pupils were encouraged to take part in some form of sport.  The belief was that active work on the playground resulted in more efficient work in the class room.  There was a football team. Baseball team, and Basketball team.  The teams practiced in a large athletic field behind the school.


Athletic Field   




Football Team

Baseball Team

Basketball Team



1910 Football Team

Baseball Team

1914 Ad

School 1910

Building - today


Phipps Miller was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee June 8, 1866.  In 1874 his family moved to Marion, Virginia,  where he received his primary education, including graduation from the University of Virginia in 1893.  Afterwards he taught at the University for a number of years.   In 1899, he and his wife Hannabelle moved to Memphis, where he had accepted the mathematics chairmanship at the Memphis University School.  He was a well-regarded member of the University School faculty for 10 years.  During the summer of 1901, while working in Washington D.C., Phipps contacted typhoid fever which left him permanently weakened.  


     Prof. Miller


1900 Directory

University Roster University Teachers

University School 1907

University Students 1909

Miller School


due to many requests from Memphis business men who backed him financially and morally, Professor Miller opened the new Miller School, a training school for boys.  The school prospered and soon outgrew its temporary quarters.  But almost immediately upon  moving to their new building, Miller's health grew worse and he soon closed the school and retired to his sister's and brother-in-law's home in Rogersville.  He died there in 1923 and was buried next to his infant daughter Isabelle in Marion, Virginia.  He had been a highly respected teacher.


Tribute 1923



Isabelle grave

Phipps 1912

Obit -1

Obit - 2

Obit - 3

Hannabelle Obit


Phipps Miller is listed in the 1900 Memphis Directory as a Teacher at University School.  The listing continues for the next 10 years.  In 1900 his Memphis address is 395 Poplar.  The listing continues in 1901... living at 296 Manassas.  In 1904 he's listed at 418 Poplar.  In 1905 - 756 Poplar.  In 1906- 669 Poplar.  In 1907 to 1909 - 819 Washington. 


The first listing for the MILLER SCHOOL is 1910 at 1920 Madison.  In 1911 the school moved next door to it's new building at 1880 Madison and is listed here from 1911-1915.  The school closed at the end of the 1915  year.   There is no directory listing for the school in 1916, but Phipps Miller is listed as a "teacher" boarding at 1890 Madison.  The following year, 1917, he is listed as Principal at Lenox Grammar School.  There's no listing in 1918, but we now know that due to poor health, Miller and his wife had retired to his brother-in-law's Rogersville farm by 1920.  (Directory listings can vary from reality by a year).


1910 Directory

Tribute 2


There were four teachers at the Miller School - Professor Miller,  Mr Ransom, Mr. Jordan, and Mr Meek, along with 75-100 students during the 1912-13 school year.  Professor Miller, a graduate of the University of Virginia, taught Mathematics and Science.  Mr Ransom, graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, taught Latin and German.  Mr. Jordan, graduate of Lebanon University in Ohio, taught Greek and History,  In addition Mr. Ransom was manager of the teams and Mr. Jordan was the coach.

Mr. Ransom Mr. Jordan Mr. Meek  

Mr. Jordan, alias S. C. Jordan ...


Mr. Jordan's full name was Stanley Clarance Jordan or as he was always known "S. C. Jordan".  Those  who attended Central  and Tech High Schools during the 20s through 50s will remember him.    He taught English at Central from 1924 to 1930 and then taught Typing and Business at Tech from 1930 to his retirement in 1958-59.  Mr. Jordan was a respected, well-liked gentleman and was the home-room teacher of the Historic-Memphis webmaster in 1948-49.   "...Small world".

  Miller-1912 Central 1924 Tech 1942

Tech  1959

The Miller School Catalogue 1912-1913 ... Collection Gene Gill


Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5
6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 32 33-Application 34- Back -

Some verification references found during a  "search"   >
  1910 reference 1908 Book 1911 Book




The Historic-Memphis website does not intentionally post copyrighted photos and material without permission or credit.  On occasion a "non-credited" photo might possibly be posted because we were unable to find a name to give credit.  Because of the nature of our non-commercial, non-profit, educational website, we strongly believe that these photos would be considered "Fair Use.  We have certainly made no monetary gain, although those using this website for historic or Genealogy research have certainly profited.  If by chance, we have posted your copyrighted photo, please contact us, and we'll remove it immediately, or we'll add your credit if that's your choice.  In the past, we have found that many photographers volunteer to have their works included on these pages and we'll  also do that if you contact us with a photo that fits a particular page. 


The "Historic-Memphis" website would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this website possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Law Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Memphis City Schools, Memphis Business Men's Club, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis City Park Commission, Memphis Film Commision, Carnival Memphis, Memphis Historical Railroad Page, Memphis Heritage Inc, Beale Street Historic District, Cobblestone Historic District, Memphis Historic Districts, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Tennessee State Archives, Library of Congress, Kemmons Wilson Family, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Woody Savage and many individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on the pages of their contributions.  Special thanks to Memphis Realtor, Joe Spake, for giving us carte blanche access to his outstanding collection of contemporary Memphis photos.

We do not have high definition  copies of the photos on these pages.  If anyone wishes to secure high definition photos,  you'll have to contact the photographer  or the collector.  (To avoid any possibility of contributing to SPAM, we do not maintain a file of email addresses for anyone who contacts us).