Hugh Miller, 62, retired chief of the photographic department at The Washington Post, died Saturday at a nursing home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He had a circulatory ailment.
Mr. Miller retired at the beginning of 1967 and moved to Phoenix five years later. He had been hospitalized in October and was transferred to the nursing home last Wednesday.
When he retired in 1967, he recalled covering every presidential inauguration since Warren Harding's in 1921, except for the first Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugural in 1933.
Mr. Miller, who had joined The Post in 1921, left the nation's capital in 1929 to become a turf photographer for the New York Morning Telegraph, so he was absent for the first Roosevelt inauguration.
He went on to become one of the foremost turf photographers in the country. Five years later, however, he returned to The Post to work for its new publisher, Eugene Meyer.
While he continued to go out occasionally on some major stories, Mr. Miller spent most of his time runing the photographic department and serving as picture editor.
In the late 1940s, he concentrated on designing a photographic laboratory for the new Washington Post building on L Street NW. The Post moved there from its old home on E Street NW in 1950.
Mr. Miller's laboratory was considered the most up-to-date of any in the country. His greatest delight was to take visitors through it on a guided tour.
His heyday as a photographer had come during the 1920s. When the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater collapsed in 1922, killing 98 persons, Mr. Miller was the only photographer to get inside and snap pictures. He did that by pretending to be a welder.
Among the many other major disasters he covered during that period, when he produced striking photographs, were a Peoples Drug warehouse fire, a Kann's warehouse fire, a tornado in La Plata, Md., and an explosion at the National Bureau of Standards laboratory.
Mr. Miller, who was born in New Ork City, had started fooling around with cameras while he was a teen-ager.
In World War i, he went overseas with an ambulance group that served with the French army. At war's end, he reached his first photo assignment. He shot a picture of the peace march of the Allies along the Champs Elysees in Paris for the Paris Tribune.
Mr. Miller came to Washington after the war and worked for the Underwood and underwood news photograph service before joining the Post.
He was a founder and life member of the White House News Photographers Association.
Mr. Miller's wife, Martha, died in Phoenix in 1974.
He is survived by a daughter,Dorothy Fratt Cooper, of Scottsdale; two brothers, Lester K., of Hyattsville and Frank, of Key West, Fla., and four grandchildren.