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Olivette Miller and Bunny Briggs collection

Call Number: JWJ MSS 364

Scope and Contents

The collection includes materials related to both the personal and professional lives of Olivette Miller and Bunny Briggs. The collection includes Miller's contacts' addresses, correspondence, a scrapbook of clippings, and photographs. Scripts, contracts, and photographs related to Briggs' career are included. Also included are programs from performances that Miller and Briggs appeared in. Photographs and writings related to Flournoy E. Miller's biographical materials potentially relate to research conducted by Sandra Seaton, the donor and a relative of Flournoy E. Miller. Also included are two videocassettes of performances of Bunny Briggs and Olivette Miller.


  • 1942 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 6: Restricted fragile materials. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sandra C. Seaton, 2021.


Organized by type of material.


4.88 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Olivette Miller (1914-2003) was an African American jazz harpist and singer. Her parents were Flournoy Eakin Miller and Bessie Oliver Miller. She performed on Broadway, on television, and on national toursm most notably in Las Vegas nightclubs. Miller Briggs also appeared in the film "A Rage in Harlem." She married Bunny Briggs in 1982. Miller dedicated her life to educating the public about her father's contributions to the world of entertainment and performing arts, including a memoir entitled "The Laughmaker."

Biographical / Historical

Bunny Briggs (1922-2014) was an African American and Tony nominated tap dancer. Briggs was born with the name Bernard Briggs in Harlem, New York. He danced on Broadway in productions including “Black and Blue” and in jazz clubs with the Duke Ellington orchestra, becoming known as "Duke's dancer" after a Briggs's starring role in "David Danced Before the Lord". He also toured and performed with the big bands of Earl Hines, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Charley Barnet, and Count Basie. Briggs performed in films including “Slow Poke” and “Tap” and was featured in the documentary "No Maps on My Taps". Briggs also mentored dancers Gregory Hines and Savion Glover. Briggs received an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts in American Dance from Oklahoma City University in 2002.

Processing Information

The Dramatist citation: Seaton, Sandra, “Shuffle Along and Ethnic Humor: ‘The Proper Push’,” The Dramatist, May/June 2016, 45-50.

Guide to the Olivette Miller and Bunny Briggs Collection
Karen Spicher and Monika Lehman
April 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.