Millard Fillmore sources

Millard Fillmore's likeness displayed at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.

Millard Fillmore‘s likeness displayed at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.

Despite his popularity with fans of ESPN, despite his having been the first chancellor of the University of Buffalo, and despite Utah’s naming its first capital after him*, Millard Fillmore is not the topic of a lot of histories. Finding information about the man, his life before the presidency, during the presidency and afterward, can be a trial.

Several students contacted me asking for sources. Search terms indicate that students, and maybe others, are looking for information. Particularly difficult to find is information for elementary school students who want to know about his childhood (See Millard Fillmore Papers, vol. 1, below).

The internet and worldwide web offer opportunities to find sources that may be hidden from local libraries and school libraries. Some of the sources I have found are not indexed well through the usual internet search engines. So, to help students and scholars, I have collected here several sources that should be useful.

Comments are open; if you have other internet sources, or other sources period, please leave a note about how to find them.

Sources for information about Millard Fillmore

American Whig Review, Volume 8, Issue 4a Whig journal, for October 1848, with an article on Rep. Millard Fillmore; from Cornell University’s Making of America Collection. (This link goes directly to the article; for citations for papers, you will need to navigate to other pages — this page may help.)

Millard Fillmore Papers, volume 1, edited by Frank H. Severance, secretary of the Buffalo Historical Society, 1907. Also, the index to both volumes; Table of contents. From Cornell University Library’s collection, New York State Historical Literature. This volume contains the autobiography Millard Fillmore did not finish, but which contains the only serious treatment of his youth, including the story of how he threatened to kill the first man to whom he was apprenticed as a wool carder. Particularly for those elementary and junior high school students looking for stories of presidents’ youth, this is the most authoritative account.

Millard Fillmore Papers, volume 2, edited by Frank H. Severance, secretary of the Buffalo Historical Society, 1907. Also, the index to both volumes; Table of contents. From Cornell University Library’s collection, New York State Historical Literature.

Inaugural Address of Hon. Millard Fillmore, 1862, from Cornell University Library — this oddly-named document is a collection of materials from the Buffalo Historical Society, including the address inaugurating the socity, by founder Millard Fillmore, on July 1, 1862. This document is difficult to navigate — I have linked to the start of his address. It holds a lot of other historical information about Buffalo, New York.

The Gospel of Millard Fillmore, a sermon by a Unitarian minister with a solid narrative and a view to redeem the reputation of Fillmore.

Adventures in Western New York History, Vol. II: Millard Fillmore, a publication of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society from 1960; this is a good, brief 19-page history of Fillmore as a citizen of Buffalo, including details of his presidential years. The pamphlet is in .pdf format, and could be printed out for a school or classroom library.

Looking for Millard Fillmore, a post at American President’s Blog, listing resources on Fillmore.  [Added August 6, 2008]

Online resources list, from the Miller Center on Public Affairs, University of Virginia; collection on the American President

Other miscellaneous notes:


* Why did Utah name its capital, Fillmore, after the president (and the county it is in, Millard, too)? The Mormons wanted to join the U.S. They wanted to be a state. Congress and the executive branch were nervous about taking in a state so large (at the time the state covered most of Nevada and chunks of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho — larger than Texas as I recall) and there was active opposition to taking in a state run by Mormons. So the Mormons moved the capital to Fillmore — more centrally located, and out of Salt Lake City where the Mormons had their temple and a lot of people. Then they named the capital after the president, hoping to curry his favor and that of the Whig Party partisans.

It didn’t work. The proposed State of Deseret was carved up, and Utah didn’t get statehood until 1896 — after even Nevada.  See this map of the Deseret as proposed, and as it was carved up to create other states, and eventually, Utah.

42 Responses to Millard Fillmore sources

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    A 2022 lament of the lack of scholarly publications about Millard Fillmore. Worth a read, though I would take issue with some of the statements.


  2. […] Fillmore: A Re-Assailing ( (Think McCotter’s been following this blog, […]


  3. […] Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: Sources on Millard Fillmore […]


  4. steven says:

    I am from a town in western New York called East Aurora. Millard Fillmore had home there, and the home is preserved with personal belongings. As well as many facts about Millard Fillmore the town was founded by Albert Hubbard and is quite a historical place to visit. With small shops, it is also the home to the world office of Fisher Price toys. Fisher Price toys were manufactured there up until the 1970’s


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Got documentation for your claims?


  6. brutaltruth1 says:

    Millard Fillmore, the leader of the “Know Nothing Party” aka the “American” or the “Nativist” Party in his second election bid was an incorrigible bigot and the enemy of every Irish Catholic in the United States whom was “on to him” . Fillmore’s decapitated head belongs on the same pike as was Oliver Cromwell or in a urinal pit in a popular and busy South Street saloon.


  7. […] Millard Fillmore « Millard Fillmore’s BathtubAllan Provost says: … I would be delighted to e-mail Homer Ice the first act of my musical about Millard; Fillmore, but have not idea how to reach him. A. Provost … I would like Allan Provost to allow me to read the first act of his musical about Millard Fillmore. […]


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Mr. Brazel, see the updates, above. That’s all I know. Got any other details to add?


  9. james brazel says:

    i worked for bill graham at both the fillmore east and the millard agency in new york city during the early 1970’s . the fillmore east and west were the best venues for music in the country at that time.the millard agency represented the top groups in the world .please find out about this and tell us all your findings.


  10. Murfyn says:

    At a local (Portland, OR) dollar store, there is a children’s book of presidents, a picture of each with a few factoids. Millard Fillmore: Put a bathtub in the White House.


  11. Ed Darrell says:

    What coin is it, Amanda?

    It does not have a picture of Fillmore on it, right?


  12. amanda frechwell says:

    i have acoin from back when Millard was alive


  13. Allan Provost says:

    I would be delighted to e-mail Homer Ice the first act of my musical about Millard
    Fillmore, but have not idea how to reach him. A. Provost


  14. homer ice says:

    I would like Allan Provost to allow me to read the first act of his musical about Millard Fillmore.


  15. James Millard Vester says:

    My great grandfather must have been a patriotic man he named 3 of his sons for 19th century presidents, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Millard Fillmore. Millard Fillmore Vester Sr., born in 1857, was my grandfather. His son, my father, was Millard Fillmore Vester Jr., born in 1895. My father thought the name was cumbersome and was always called Bud. When I was born I was fortunate to get only half the name.


  16. paul k. carr says:

    The Universal Autograph Collectors Club, of which I was their one time President, studied presidential documents and letters since 1965. Research via the National Archives….. and seeing hundreds of “signed landgrants” turned up information that U. S. Presidents did NOT sign landgrants in person beginning with Andrew Jacksons second term and all administrations thereafter. Starting with Jackson you will note the Presidents Signature, however, on the line below, BY— which was the secretary authorized to sign the document. Prior to Jacksons 2nd term the President did sign all federal landgrants. These are bought and sold with some frequency via autograph dealers auctions and sales catalogues. The value of the signed documents varies with the value of the signer. Needless to say those signed by Washington, Adams and Jefferson are quite expensive. Others range in the $800 plus range depending on condition. Since they are your husbands family I surmise their value is priceless to your family. Hope this is helpful. The problem was the West was developing and landgrants were overwhelming documents the President just could not handle almost on a daily basis.


  17. Susan Gericke says:

    My husband has two land grants signed br Millard Fillmore. The land is located in Linn County, IA, and was owned by my husband’s ancestors. We have always wondered about their monetary and historical value. Any thoughts on this?


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m not exactly a technophobe, but I’m no great expert on RSS readers, either. I have a button in the upper right column that should allow you to add the blog to your reader with a click. The button is below Santayana’s quote, and above the Golden Primate Award block (thanks, Dorid!).

    There’s also a Feedburner button in the lower part of the right column (look for the map of where readers come from).

    Have you tried those?


  19. Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog ( in my rss reader
    signature: http://


  20. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m no expert. The Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah has a collection of campaign materials, but I doubt their expertise goes back to pre-1860. There is a campaign exhibit at the Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield, Illinois, right now — and I think they have a 19th century campaign expert on staff. You may also want to check with the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (which Fillmore founded, by the way) and/or the University of Buffalo (which Fillmore founded) and see what they say.

    Good luck – let us know if it’s an artifact that was really used in a campaign, will you?


  21. doug says:

    I have a campaign coin featuring Fillmore looking for details


  22. j a higginbotham says:

    So I picked me a president—the most unmemorable I could find (Millard Fillmore is too memorable for being unmemorable)—and took a peek at what is known or surmised about his religious convictions. Chester Alan Arthur fit the bill admirably.


  23. Sorry, Ed. I didn’t even know my letter was on this site.
    Very generous of your to make suggestions for our musical,
    now called The Accidental President. I have check with
    various societies and am disappointed at the few responses
    I received.Most surprising is the Willard Hotel in Washington.
    Most of the musical takes place there, and I have not
    received the courtesy of a response. I’ll check out the egg.


  24. Ed Darrell says:

    Buffalo, New York, might be a logical place to look for someone to help finance a production, since it was the long-time home of Millard Fillmore. Have you checked with officials of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society? How about the University of Buffalo? Someone from the theatre department there, or the history department, might be able to give you some tips.

    Do they produce original stuff at The Egg in Albany? Are there any theatres for tourists around Niagara Falls?


  25. I have written, oddly enough, a musical about Millard Fillmore, with California composer, John Dusenberry. Naturally,I hope to produce it one of these days.

    The working title is Milly, which we have not found a suitable replacement for yet. If you have any interest in knowing more or any clue on who might bring our to life, please let me know.

    Allan Provost, Miami


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