Elizabeth Smith Miller house

Front view of the Miller home, looking across Park Street.
Type: Officially Marked Monument Involved: Miller, Elizabeth Smith; Smith, Gerrit
Location: Park Street at Pleasant Valley Road
Peterboro, NY
Cause: Woman’s Rights / Suffrage; Dress Reform

Elizabeth Smith Miller (1822-1911) was the daughter of abolitionist philanthropist Gerrit Smith and his wife Ann Carroll Fitzhugh Smith. Elizabeth lived in this house with her husband, Charles Dudley Miller, from 1851 to 1869. The house was a gift to the couple from Gerrit Smith; it was called the "House on the Green" because it faced the Gerrit Smith Estate across Peterboro’s central, grassy strip of parkland. In 1869, the couple moved into the lakeside estate Lochland at Geneva, which was also a gift from Gerrit Smith.

Miller was an activist and financial supporter of woman’s rights/suffrage causes. She is best known as a dress reform pioneer. Shortly after moving into this house, she invented the practical knee-length skirt over pantaloons that became known as "Bloomers." The name, bestowed by less-than-friendly newspaper reporters, acknowledged activist Amelia Bloomer, who did not invent the style but popularized it in her temperance and woman’s rights periodical, The Lily.

The Elizabeth Smith Miller house is a private residence and is not open to the public, though there is a historical marker in its side yard. The house is across the old village square from the Gerrit Smith Estate, which is open on weekends.