Elizabeth T. Miller: Mid-century American Adventurer in Guatemala and Mexico
In our November 25 auction, we are offering an archive of a young woman on a tour of the Mayan ruins. She was Elizabeth T. Miller (1911-1985) of Baltimore, a commercial artist visiting Guatemala and Mexico in 1940. The lot includes her diary, eight large photo albums, several articles she wrote about the trip, and four reels of 16-millimeter film shot which were probably shot by her cousin and traveling companion, archaeologist Benjamin Kurtz.
We can’t screen the video during the preview at Swann, but thought this digital transfer file might be of interest. It opens with Miller and her traveling companions scaling Chichen Itza, and also shows them attempting to drive a battered Ford through the jungle (15:51 to 17:10), a visit to Mexico City, a bullfight at the 29-minute mark, and more. While there is no sound, the vivid colors and smiling faces of the young American adventurers capture the imagination and transport the viewer to a not-too-distant time when the world was very different, but the excitement of discovery held no less weight.