Herbert Lass Miller

Herbert Lass Miller in uniform

Herbert Lass Miller

A renowned sportsman at Knox College, Herbert Miller was born in Galesburg, Illinois on October 25, 1889 to Charles and Elizabeth Lass Miller. Graduating from high school in 1907, Miller came to Knox in the fall of that year. He began his college career in the Knox Preparatory Academy, part of one of the final classes to attend (it closed in 1910). 

Herbert Lass Miller

Photograph of Herbert Lass Miller

Miller assumed the role of “King of the Preps” (aka, class president) in his first year, marking the start of a very active role in many opportunities that Knox College had to offer. He became a member of Beta Theta Pi, took a role in the literary society Gnothautti, and was on Knox’s football team for two years. However, it was Knox Track & Field that made Herbert Miller an athlete of legend. Starting out in his first year, Miller showed immediate promise as a hurdler and the student newspaper articles of the time shower him with praise. He was awarded “K” athlete status (an honor given to good athletes of the time) remarkably after his freshman year. During his time at Knox he broke the low-hurdles record twice and was close to breaking the world record (at that time) in the event. Miller was made Track Captain his senior year and graduated in 1913.

Soon after his graduation Miller got a job with the American Realty Company in Yonkers, New York, and later moved to NYC to get a position in the United States Guaranty and Trust Co. When war broke out he enlisted at the Plattsburgh Barracks in New York on May 8, 1917. After due time and training, he received his commission to 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was moved to Camp Upton in Yapshank, NY with Company K of the 307th Infantry.  Soon after that he married Norma Field Maynard of Burlington, Vermont in a private ceremony. A promotion to 1st Lieutenant followed, and in February of 1918 he left for France.

An invitation to Herbert Miller and Norma Field Maynard's wedding

An invitation to Herbert Miller and Norma Field Maynard's wedding

The Knox Alumnus published in October of 1918 described an incident during Miller's military service thusly: "Lieut. Herbert Miller... had an experience recently while on the firing line in France. Some of the men of his division, the 78th, had captured several German prisoners, among them an officer. Lieut. Miller took charge of these men, feeding them until they were taken to a prison camp. The officer was so pleased and surprised by the generous treatment of the prisoners by the Americans that he gave Lieut. Miller a handsome ring, and expressed the hope that they might meet some time after the war was over."

Miller was among those in the “Lost Battalion" which consisted of nine companies in the 77th Division, so named because of an isolated attack against them in the Argonne Forest by the 4th Prussian Guard, among other German forces. This took place between October 2-8 in 1918, and many men went missing and were presumed captured, but sadly, were never found again. Herbert Miller was unfortunately counted among the missing. Recalled in letters as a kind friend, Miller’s accomplishments in track were remembered for years to come.