Kristie E. Miller grew up in a conservative household in LaSalle, Illinois. She decided to attend Pembroke College because she wanted to go to a co-educational school that was very intellectually stimulating. She majored in Spanish while also extensively studying English, creative writing, and journalism. During her time at Pembroke, she was the editor of the Brown Literary Review, as well as the first female managing editor of the Brown Daily Herald. In 1977, Miller earned a master's degree from Georgetown University in linguistics. She taught English on four continents from 1969 to 1984 while serving with her husband, who was in the foreign service.
In 1984, when her two children were school-aged and she was divorced, she became a historian. Her father asked her to write a column for his newspaper in her hometown of La Salle, which she contributed to weekly from 1984 to 2009 while serving as a director of the Chicago Tribune Company from 1981 to 2001. In 1992 Miller published her first book. Ruth Hanna McCormick told the story of her grandmother, who had been a pioneer in women’s politics, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography while winning the Chicago Friends of Literature Vicki Penziner Matson award.
Miller has published more than three dozen biographical articles for encyclopedias in addition to three more award-winning books: Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman (2004), A Volume on Friendship: The Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Isabella Greenway, 1904-1953 (2009), and Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies (2010). Miller now edits the American Women’s Biography Series for the University of New Mexico Press, and lives in Virginia with her husband.