Frank D. Millet, a noted artist and correspondent, was born at Mattapoisett, Mass., in 1846. His adventurous temperament led him to enlist as a drummer boy at the beginning of the Civil War. He was soon promoted to the position of assistant in the surgeons' corps, which he held for a year, seeing a great deal of active service.
When the war was over, he returned to Massachusetts and entered Harvard. On graduation he went into journalism, joining the staff of the Boston Advertiser. Later he was City Editor of the Boston Courier and head of the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette.
In 1871 he took up the study of art at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, where he won a much-coveted prize in his first year. His success obtained for him the position of secretary to Charles Francis Adams when the latter was appointed commissioner to the Vienna Exposition of 1873. Though only 27, Millet managed there to keep up his art studies, do his duties as secretary and report the exposition for two New York newspapers.
In 1876 he returned to his native country and got to work harder than ever. Not only did he report the centennial Exposition at Philadelphia for the Boston Advertiser, but he found time to assist John La Farge in decorating Trinity Church, Boston's most famous place of worship.
In 1877 he became war correspondent for the New York Herald in the Russo-Turkish War and acquitted himself so brilliantly that his work attracted the attention of the editors of the London Daily Mail, who appointed him their correspondent to succeed the celebrated Archibald Forbes. Millet was by the side of the Russian General Skobeleff in a good part of the liveliest fighting in the war and wrote thrilling descriptions of the big events of the campaign. He also drew graphic sketches, and emerged from the war with no less than six decorations for bravery under fire.
After that he went to Paris and devoted himself for a while to serious art study. He was chosen a member of the Fine Arts Jury of the Paris Exposition in 1878. Returning to Boston, he married and settled down for a while, but in 1881 he was again on the move, making sketches for the Harpers in Europe. Soon after he settled down in Worcestershire, England, where his home has been ever since.
In the last quarter of a century Millet became more and more widely known as an artist and his work earned for him decorations from half a dozen countries. He was pre-eminently a painter of easel pictures, but also won distinction as a mural decorator and in other lines of artistic work. In New York he has been exceedingly popular and a well-known figure at all sorts of functions. He is an excellent story-teller, possesses remarkable social qualities and was a general favorite wherever he went.
Millet's amazing record as a traveler made him a familiar figure all over the world. It was related of him that when he was traveling on one occasion with a friend in an out-of-the-way corner of Japan his companion jokingly said: "Millet, at last we're in a place where nobody knows you." Hardly had he spoken when a waiter came up and addressed Millet by his name. It turned out that he had accompanied the Japanese delegation sent to the Chicago Exposition.
Millet has, in fact, been practically everywhere except to the arctic and antarctic regions. His latest trip abroad took him to Italy, where he was at the head of the American Academy at Rome.
Among the institutions possessing canvases by Millet are the Metropolitan Museum of Art here, the Detroit Museum, the Union League Club, the Duquesne Club of Pittsburgh and the National Gallery of New Zealand. Of late he was engaged in making mural decorations for a number of public buildings, including the State Capitol at St. Paul, Minn., the Court House at Newark, the Customs House at Baltimore and the Federal Building at Cleveland.