Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Christian William (Bill) Miller: A Bright Young Thing of the 40s

Christian William Miller (Bill Miller) was a young man in the 1940s, not the 1920s, and he was an American to boot, but if anyone deserves to be thought of as a Bright Young Thing, it might be him. In fact he was a Bright Young Thing of 1940s American literary, artistic and gay circles. He was one of those beautiful young men who become part of a social milleu and gets a mention in the biographies of all the talented and high-achieving people with whom he mixed, in and out of bed: and yet, is likely never to have his own biography written. There are two pieces online which tell the story of Bill's affair with Otis Bigelow, another of the 1940s beautiful people. The account at &Apres and in a longer version at Elisa'a Reviews and Ramblings website both draw heavily on the account given in The Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser and include a number of the nude photos of Bill that exist. It's a shame in a way that this is the only significant reference to Bill online as it is really no more than an anecdote and one told from the point of view of a spurned lover so he doesn't come out of it very well. In a way, it is these more minor figures such as Bill whose biographies would interest me far more than those of the great and the good with whom he socialised.

It's nice when things link up. When I found the links above telling the short story of Otis and Bill, I had already seen these photos. They come from the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive of personal and documentary photos that they have started putting online and that we've dug into before on FFEP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The story as told on Elisa's blog is really interesting. Here are few more photo's of Bill I found online:http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/SetsSearchExecXC.asp?srchtype=ITEM.
Thanks for an interesting post! Tx

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