Angus Basil, London (attributed to)
Vera Little (1910–15)
gelatin silver photograph
8.8 x 6.0 cm (image and sheet), 25.5 x 15.3 cm irreg. (mount)
Private collection, Melbourne

She had come to England to go to school. The big bow at the back of her head was part of a school girl’s attire of the day. Her father was English, but her mother was a mixture of European cultures with a mysterious dash of royal genes from Ethiopia. The family lived in a lovely mountain village in the Lebanon, where her father had been Head Master of a Quaker mission school. But he had suddenly died. Now here she was a world away in Darlington, England in another Quaker school. Vera Little was fifteen years old and determined to follow her father’s passion for education and become a teacher as he had been. In addition to her academic curriculum she loved to play the piano and to race up and down the school’s hockey field as her team’s fleet left wing.

In years to come Vera would enter the world of education as an enthusiastic teacher of little children, and continue her work well into her seventies. She began her professional career at an English school in Cairo, Egypt, which was comfortably close to her childhood home; but life continued to offer new challenges. She met and fell in love with a young American who was also in Cairo teaching. He was contracted to complete a three year stint at the American University at Cairo, and when this obligation was finished she and Ted Miller married and traveled to the United States.

Now Vera Miller, she comfortably settled into life in her new country as the wife of a young clergyman while continuing to pursue her own profession. She and Ted would exemplify the best of their generation, first when he volunteered as a naval Chaplin during the Second World War and later when they moved to Brooklyn, New York to integrate a large, inner-city church. Throughout her busy life Vera continued to teach and stayed in close contact with her adored family abroad, writing routinely and visiting as frequently as possible.

by Wega Miller George
9 October 2011

Evelyn Colin, Harrow, London
Vera Little 1919
albumen print
14.5 x 10.0 cm (image and sheet), 25.2 x 16.0 cm (mount)
Private collection, Melbourne

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