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Clarence Miller Maps of Sumner Glenwood Community

Identifier: M/A 0251
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Description of Contents

This collection consists of 9 hand-drawn maps of streets in the Sumner Glenwood neighborhood as they existed from 1924-1928. The maps identify streets, railroads, houses, businesses, churches, synagogues, warehouses, bridges, parks and schools. Clarence Miller, the creator of the maps, added notes to each map that provide information about the community, its businesses, and residents. The collection contains a key showing how the individual maps fit together to form one larger map of the neighborhood. Another copy of the maps is held at Sumner Library in Minneapolis.


  • Creation: 1970s-1980s



The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department’s open hours. All maps from this collection are available in the Map Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.


During the 1920s, the Sumner Glenwood community in North Minneapolis was comprised of many individuals who were Black or Jewish. Clarence Miller, creator of these maps, states that during this time many of the businesses were changing from Jewish owners to Black owners. Many houses and apartment buildings were nestled in among warehouses, businesses, railway lines, churches, synagogues and schools. There were recreational areas like tennis courts, football fields, and ice skating rinks. By the 1930s, housing in the Sumner Field area had fallen into disrepair, and the Federal government allocated $3.5 million to improve it. By 1938, the Sumner Field Homes Federal Housing Project was completed.

Clarence William Miller was born on August 22, 1908, in La Grange, Missouri. He was the eldest of ten children born to Joseph Irving and Clarissa Lewis Miller. In 1914, his family migrated to Minneapolis where the rest of the family was born and raised. Clarence was educated in the Minneapolis Public Schools and graduated from Sumner Grade School in 1924. He attended high school but left before graduating in order to work. One of his first jobs was at the Minneapolis Recreation Parlor on Hennepin Avenue where such notables as J. Paul Getty and “Minnesota Fats” entertained themselves.

In 1928, Clarence met Helen Clack and they were married on September 19, 1931. From this union, two daughters, Marlyn and Carol, were born. Clarence worked at the Jefferson Bus Lines until 1946. He and the family took a vacation to visit Helen’s sister in California and ended up staying. His first job was with Fruehoff Trucking as a painter. Then he went to work for the Pacific Bell Company until his retirement. While constantly reminiscing and correcting the nature of data and events, Clarence put his fondest memories on paper, creating maps of the Sumner Glenwood area. He continued to work on this project well into his retirement. He died on February 23, 1988.


2.08 Linear Feet (9 map segments)

Language of Materials


Donor Information

The collection was originally donated to Sumner Library by Earl W. Miller, brother of Clarence Miller as accession 2006.02. The donation agreement was signed on January 8, 2005 between the Miller family and Minneapolis Public Library Capital Projects along with Sumner Library just prior to Sumner Library’s grand re-opening after renovation. In 2006, the Minneapolis Public Library Special Collections acquired one set of maps. Another set of maps is displayed at Sumner Library. It was originally believed the set in Special Collections was the original, but it is now unclear which are the original maps.

Clarence Miller Maps of Sumner Glenwood Community
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.