Though largely forgotten today, Caroline Miller (1903-1992) was once a best-selling author. Her novel Lamb in His Bosom, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1933, was critically acclaimed as one of the best first works of the Southern Renaissance. Miller was also the first Georgian to be so honored.
Born in Waycross to Elias and Levy Zan Hall Pafford, Caroline married her English teacher, William D. Miller, soon after graduating from high school. They moved to Baxley soon thereafter. While raising three boys in this rental house, Miller wrote short stories in her spare time. Aiming for authentic regional dialect and material, she ventured out into the surrounding countryside and talked with many old-timers, documenting the idiomatic speech and folkways of the Wiregrass region, which she would later incorporate into Lamb in His Bosom. As it depicted poor whites who didn’t own slaves, it was a departure from the romantic South of literature. It is widely regarded as one of the best available sources for this largely overlooked culture today. Margaret Mitchell even considered it her favorite novel about the South.
The Millers divorced in 1936 and Caroline married Clyde H. Ray, Jr., in 1937. The couple moved to Waynesville, North Carolina, where Caroline gave birth to two more children. In 1944 she published her second novel, Lebanon, which didn’t receive the praise or success afforded Lamb in His Bosom. Though she would continue to write prolifically, she chose not publish later manuscripts, largely to avoid the attention and scrutiny of the critics. She died in North Carolina in 1992.