Emerson R. Miller remembered as 'thrifty' man-about-town
Emily A. Larson
For The Advocate
Emerson R. Miller was a local millionaire and philanthropist, and according to an Advocate article from 1959, “the most eccentric, penny-pinching man in Licking County.”
Miller, born in Newark in 1892, was a salesman for Mosaic Tile Co. of Zanesville and a teacher at Newark High School, before amassing a fortune from investments in real estate and securities.
He gave money for scholarships, the Miller Library (named after his father) at Newark High School, and ultimately the Emerson R. Miller Library on West Main, which was established with a trust fund
His philanthropic works often were overshadowed by rumors of his eccentric behavior:
The Emerson R. Miller Branch opened on the west side of Newark in 1972 with an emphasis on personalized service. The library was reopened in March 2013 with extensive renovations. These renovations include a new roof and parking lot as well as a 300-square-foot addition to house Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant
The interior was refurbished and supplied with new furniture. Special features include two group study rooms, a castle portal leading into the children's area, an early literacy/toddler room, teen space enclosed by an interior glass garage door, a game room and café.
Emerson R. Miller Library 990 West Main Street Newark, OH
• Reading the daily newspapers at the public library so he wouldn’t have to buy subscriptions.
• borrowing toilet paper and soap supplies from downtown gas stations.
• Arriving at church just after the collection plate had been passed.
• Slipping onto Pullmans at the Newark depot to use the water and lights for shaving.
• Earmarking community funds for the YMCA, and then going there for baths and to wash clothes.
• Sunbathing in the backyard of his home on West Main, right next to the old Newark High School (much to the delight of students, who had a clear view of him from upper floor windows).
• Miller also was indicted in 1959 on tax evasion charges.