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Casey Miller and Kate Swift papers

Identifier: Coll 291

Scope and Contents

The collection includes the individual personal papers of Casey Miller and Kate Swift, and their joint papers and work. There was an attempt to separate materials, such as correspondence to either Miller or Swift, but it should be noted that there is significant crossover in this area. Oftentimes correspondence was left where Miller and/or Swift had filed it.

Series I, Casey Miller Papers, covers Miller’s life, family history, education career, and her writing. Subseries include correspondence, personal and family records, health records, education, naval career, writing career, personal writings, journals, artwork, and professional work with D. Victoria Schrager. The correspondence series is arranged alphabetically by sender for materials processed initially and later additions are arranged by date. The writing and editing work found here is Miller's own work prior to working with Kate Swift.

Series II, Kate Swift Papers, documents Swift’s life, family history, and professional career and writing before she entered into a writing partnership with Casey Miller. Subseries include correspondence, personal and family records, political work, professional work, and personal writings, journals, and scrapbooks.

Series III, Joint Professional Work, includes joint professional correspondence, financial records and editing work, language and gender subject files, press and news articles, and information regarding the Miller/Swift publishing company. The correspondence is organized mostly by name and subject with a few folders just bearing the title "correspondence." Also included in this series is a scrapbook documenting Miller/Swift's publishing adventures.

Series IV, Joint Literary Works, is comprised of drafts, proofs, reviewed and/or published copies of Miller and Swifts co-written published and unpublished works. Publisher and reviewer correspondence is included here as well as documentation of references used in their writings and a handmade scrapbook documenting the writing and publishing of The Handbook for Non-Sexist Writing.

Series V, Joint Speeches and Conferences, includes draft and final copies of speeches given by Miller and Swift, correspondence, and conference programs and pamphlets.

This collection also includes smaller series covering Miller/Swift's joint personal and political papers, both of which include correspondence, and personal photographs and audio recordings.


  • 1919-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Collection includes sound recordings, moving images, and digital files to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Casey Geddes Miller was born on February 26, 1919 in Toledo, Ohio. Miller was a feminist author, editor, activist and philanthropist. One of three girls, she attended St. Margaret’s School until 1936. Miller graduated with a philosophy major from Smith College in 1940 and soon began working in the publishing field as an editorial assistant. Miller also served in the women's section of the U.S. Naval Reserve as a part of the Women Appointed (later Accepted) for Volunteer Emergency Service, often referred to by its acronym, WAVES. She became the curriculum editor of the publishing house of the Episcopal Church, Seabury Press. Miller worked as a freelance editor while living in Greenwich, Connecticut. By 1970, she formed an editorial partnership with Kate Swift and began what would become both a successful business, and the inspiration for a proliferation of published work together.

Kate Swift was born December 9, 1923 in Yonkers, New York. Swift was a feminist editor, author, linguist, and activist known for her influence on the critical modification of language to recognize and include women. She studied at Connecticut College and University of North Carolina. Swift worked for several years as an editorial assistant and a writer for various organizations. Swift began her influential work with Casey Miller in 1970 when they formed a freelance editorial partnership. They write, “We have an editorial partnership known as Miller/Swift, and it was out of our work as freelance editors that we became interested on the effect of language on women” (Words and Women). The pursuit of this interest soon became the focus of both Swift's and Miller’s careers.

As they edited vast numbers of articles, textbooks, and manuscripts, Miller and Swift identified a theme in much of the work they read: sexist language and stereotypes. When publishing their first article on this subject (in the first issue of Ms. magazine) they realized the unlimited potential of this unexplored field of linguistics. They both began to focus their scholarly work on the underlying sexism inherent in published work and in turn challenged the use of vocabulary that reinforced misogynist messages. Publishing articles in contemporary venues such as New York Magazine and The Washington Post, Swift and Miller were overwhelmed with demand to produce their first book, Words and Women. Collaborating with countless women and organizations, they continued on their overlapping projects to create shifts in the English language to include and prioritize the presence of and concerns of women, producing a great deal of original research that eventually contributed to their groundbreaking 1980 work, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing.

As feminists in theory and practice, Miller and Swift devoted themselves to women’s freedom through language. Miller and Swift together contributed to the growing community of women writers reviewing one another’s work and creating academic and social space for feminist voices to be heard and legitimated. Miller struggled with her health for the last years of her life. She died of complications related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on January 5th, 1997. Kate Swift died on May 7, 2011 of cancer.


25.6 linear feet (53 containers, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Casey Geddes Miller and Kate Swift were writers focused on nonsexist-language. The collection consists of their personal papers as well as their joint professional work on gender, language, and communication include correspondence, business records, manuscripts, subject files, and photographs.


The collection is organized into the following series: Series I: Casey Miller Papers Subseries A: Correspondence Subseries B: Personal and Family Records Subseries C: Heath Records Subseries D: Education Subseries E: Naval Career Subseries F: Writing Career Subseries G: Personal Writings, Journals, and Artwork Subseries H: Victoria Schrager Papers

Series II: Kate Swift Papers Subseries A: Correspondence Subseries B: Personal and Family Records Subseries C: Political Work Subseries D: Professional Work Subseries E: Personal Writings, Journals, and Scrapbooks

Series III: Joint Professional Work Subseries A: Miller/Swift Publishing Company Subseries B: Professional Correspondence Subseries C: Financial Records Subseries D: Press Subseries E: Editing Other's Work Subseries F: Language and Gender Subject Files

Series IV: Joint Literary Works

Series V: Joint Speeches and Conferences

Series VI: Joint Political Work

Series VII: Joint Personal Papers

Series VIII: Photographs

Series IX: Sound Recordings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Casey Miller and Kate Swift.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to gender and communication at Special Collections and University Archives include: Cheris Kramarae papers, Coll 341; Nancy Henly papers; Paula Gunn Allen papers; Ursula Le Guin papers, Coll 270; Joanna Russ papers, Coll 261; Sally Miller Gearhart papers, Coll 305.

Correspondence to/from Casey Miller and Kate Swift can also be found at Special Collections and University Archives in Cheris Kramarae papers.

Processing Information

Collection processed by the Cassandra A. Schmitt, Erin Wolfe, Tanya Parlet, and student processors, 2003-2011.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Casey Miller and Kate Swift Papers
Revise Description
University of Oregon Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA