Miller, a native of Ohio, graduated from John Harvey Kellogg’s American Medical Missionary College in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1902. After an internship in Chicago, he and his wife, Maude Thompson Miller, went to China with medical instruments and a hand-operated printing press. They arrived in Shanghai in late 1903. Maude Miller died less than two years later. Harry married Marie Iverson in 1908, and she shared his missionary life until she died in 1950. The Orient became the Millers’ home and apart from interludes in the United States, Miller remained in China until 1956. He was both a specialist in surgery and a missionary generalist to the extent that he served at one time as leader of the SDA Church in China.
Endeavoring to treat everybody, regardless of ability to pay, he administered hospitals in Shanghai and Hankow, Hupei (Hubei) Province, at which many of the important leaders of China were treated. Evacuated from Shanghai several months after the Communists occupied the city in 1949, he established the SDA hospital in Taipei. On March 26, 1956, he was awarded the Blue Star of China by Chiang Kai-shek for meritorious service to the peoples of China. He retired to the United States later that year but returned in 1959 to Hong Kong, where he worked on and off for another decade and sponsored the foundation of a hospital there before his final return to the United States. His publications include The Way to Health (1920; repeatedly revised, translated, and republished), Tuberculosis: A Curable Disease (1954), and dozens of shorter pieces in English and Chinese.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- “China, People’s Republic of” and “Miller, Harry Willis,” in Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2d rev. ed. (1996). Raymond S. Moore, China Doctor: The Life Story of Harry Willis Miller (1961); R. S. Schwarz, Light Bearers to the Remnant (1979); A. W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol 4 (1962); Joy Swift, The Long Road to China (1990).