CommentaryJune Miller, mythical mystical Muse and star Vestal Virgin pitcher, threw a sensational no-hitter against the struggling Dharma Beats in a cosmic Overleague game played today. The enigmatic June Miller has been known by several different names: June Edith Smerth, June Smith, June Mansfield, June Miller, June Corbett, Mona, Mara, Sabina and Lillian. Always elusive, the most recent piece of information about Henry Miller's second wife is that she was alive and living in New York City in 1969. One assumes her corporeal life is over, but when it ended, we do not know.
June was born on January 28, 1902 in Austria. She was the third of the five children of Wilhelm Smerth (b.1878) and Francis Budd. In 1907, when June was five years old, her family moved to the United States. (The Smerth family's name was changed to "Smith" and they became United States citizens on January 23, 1923.)
In 1917 June dropped out of high school and became a taxi dancer in a Manhattan dance hall. Taxi dancers are paid to dance with patrons. While working as a taxi dancer at a Broadway dance hall, June met Henry Miller. Miller, at that time was an unhappily married man and a disgruntled employee of the Western Union Company. Miller became infatuated with June. Her enigmatic soul inspired his writing. A romance blossomed. Miller divorced his first wife and on June 1, 1924 June and Henry were married in Hoboken, New Jersey.
June and Henry's marriage was characterized by numerous moves, increasing financial desperation and a variety of psychodramas. For example, June's apparent affair with a young woman, Jean Kronski, a 21-year old artist she befriended in 1926 and who came to live with Henry and June for a time in one of their New York City apartments. June and Jean left Henry and visited Paris together in April 1927. June returned to Henry in July, apparently she and Jean had quarreled and the relationship was broken off.
In 1928 June and Henry went on a tour of Europe using money secured from one of June's admirers. After returning to the United States Henry Miller, desperate and disillusioned with his writing returned to France in 1930 and met the writer Anais Nin. June arrived in Paris in December 1931 and was then introduced to Henry's new friend Anais Nin. Like Henry, Nin also became transfixed by the enigmatic June. A complicated triangle ensued between June, Anais and Henry. June returned to New York in January 1932 but returned to Paris the following October. The triangulated relationships created violent scenes and confrontations. After asking Henry for a divorce, June left Paris in December, 1932. June and Henry were divorced by proxy in Mexico in 1934.
According to an Internet biography of June, she only saw Henry Miller one more time. In 1960, Henry visited her on a trip to New York. At that time June was "ill and destitute...a withered fragment of the [once] powerful woman who had dominated [Miller's] lifelong writing." (Reference: Cara Bradley, "June Mansfield Miller: Biographical Information"). After leaving Miller in the 1930s June married and divorced a military officer and worked as a social worker in Queens, New York.
After 1969 we hear nothing of June Miller until she reappears in 1991 as a cosmic baseball player, first as an outfielder and then as a pitcher.