Worth A Dedication: The Neimans
----- Henry Miller, Air-Conditioned Nightmare 
HENRY'S FIRST MEETS THE NEIMANS, 1941
--- Henry Miller to Eva Sikelianou, 1943
During Miller's first stay in Hollywood in 1941, he met the young writer Gilbert Neiman and frequently dined with him and his watercolourist wife, Margaret, at their home on South Bunker Hill Avenue. Miller and the Neimans--sometimes joined by Man Ray and his wife--would often speak of Art; the Neimans seemed particularly interested in the subject of Mexico (these dinners and the conversations surrounding them are described with vivid detail on pages 379-380 of Always Merry And Bright by Jay Martin).
MILLER AND THE NEIMANS ON BEVERLY GLEN, 1942-44
Back in New York in 1942, Henry accepted an invitation of free-board by the Neimans [UPDATE May 2007: Ariane, the Neiman's daughter, has clarified for me that Miller was already staying in a hotel in L.A. when his publisher contacted the Neimans and suggested they take Miller in as a guest. Ariane: "there was a fierce argument as to whom would call him (he was so revered by the underground intellectuals)...my mother got the job (my father often chickened out)...and called Henry to invite him over for dinner. The grapevine has it that she cooked like the gods too...Henry turned up for dinner and never left, sleeping on the floor."]
Henry was then installed in the "modest shack" next to the Neimans' home at 1212 Beverly Glen Blvd. By the end of 1942, Gilbert went elsewhere to work with Mexican immigrant labourers. Henry moved up the street a little, over a garage. By the autumn of 1943, the Neimans moved out to Colorado. Henry and an artist friend named John Dudley then took over the premises until Miller left for Big Sur in 1944. At the tail end of '44, Henry and his finace Lepska stayed with the Neimans in Colorado just before they were married. Gilbert and Margaret acted as witnesses.
View two more shots from this session here.
1912: Gilbert and Margaret are born.
1939: Gilbert translates Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding;
1940: Gilbert is published in the anthology The State Of The Nation (Little Man Press, Cincinatti);
1942: Gilbert has three poems published in Poetry: a Magazine of Verse (June 1942) - The Anarchic Architect; The Furious Hero; Keen. (ref. source)
1944: Neimans move to Colorado. Gilbert dabbles in acting (Big Sur, p. 72);
1945: Gilbert contributes No Rubbish, No Albatrosses to the Henry Miller tribute book, The Happy Rock; The Neimans move to Big Sur, near Henry. At one point, they live in Henry's Andreson Creek house with their infant, while Henry lives and works out of his "studio" (horse shed);
1945-48: Correpsondences between Man Ray and Henry Miller often reference Gilbert's "drinking problem" (ref.);
1947: Harcourt Brace publishes Gilbert's There's A Tyrant In Every Country. According to this bookseller, it's "an unusual story of a man who overcomes his prejudice toward Mexicans by traveling to Mexico." (abstracts from NY Times reviews here and here);
1960: Gilbert is editor of Between Worlds: An international magazine of creativity, published in Puerto Rico and Denver. (ref./ref.) Significant in its calibre of contributors: Henry Miller, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Herman Hesse, William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (ref.). Alfred Perles contributed to an issue as well. Notes on Miller's three pieces can be searched here.
1960s: Gilbert becomes Professor of English at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. A scholarship is posthumously established under his name.
1977: Gilbert dies.
1993: Margaret dies.
David Lavery has an essay on the Web titled My English Teachers [in PDF format]. He once took an Advanced Compositions class with Gilbert Neiman at Clarion U. This is the only sort of profile--an unflattering one at that--I found on the internet regarding Gilbert. It contains details such as these:
* Neiman claimed to have "written a version of The Godfather long before Mario Puzo";
* Was warned he would be fired "if he ever missed a class because of his alcoholism." Lavery claims that Gilbert was nonetheless "incomprehensible" as he "slurred" in class;
* Gilbert invited Anais Nin to speak to his class in 1969;
More details about Gilbert Neiman's life and character may be found in Miller's Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch (see Neiman's Phantom Radio and Missing Shoebox).
HENRY MILLER AND THE ART OF MARGARET NEIMAN
Finally, there is a brief memoir of Henry Miller, posted on painterskeys.com by Ariane Goodwin (Ane Neiman), daughter of Gilbert and Margaret. She describes her father as an "erstwhile author and lifelong jealous friend of Henry's" and claims that her mother, Margaret, is actually the one who taught Henry to paint. She states that she has letters in which Henry suggests to Margaret that he sign his name to her paintings in order to make money. Margaret Neiman gave up painting when her daughter was born.