© 2006 University of Chicago Library
Manly, John Matthews. Papers
5.5 linear feet (11 boxes)
Special Collections Research Center
John Matthews Manly (1865-1940), Professor of English. The John Matthews Manly Papers contain personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, copies of manuscripts from various libraries, articles, lectures, notes, and student papers. Correspondents include G.L. Kittredge, Barrett Wendell, A.W. Pollard, William A. Craigie, R.B. McKerrow, and H.S. Bennett. Papers document Manly's work on Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales and his interest in cryptography.
The collection is open for research.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Manly, John Matthews. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
Reputedly, after John Matthew Manly (2 Sept. 1865-2 Apr. 1940) earned his PhD in Philogy he then attempted to read the entire holding of the Harvard library. A child prodigy, Manly graduated from Furman University with his masters when he was 18 years old. Getting his early education at the Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and the Greenville Military Institute in South Carolina, Manly earned his MA degree in mathematics in 1883. Just 19 years old he went to teach Mathematics at William Jewel College in Missouri for the next five years. Manly then proceeded to Harvard to earn the PhD (1890). The graduate program at Harvard didn't provide for the education that Manly sought so he collected Professors from many fields to proctor his Philology degree. During his examination he was interrogated by each professor separately. His colleague at the University of Chicago, Robert Morss Lovett, was also a student at Harvard at the time; Lovett recalled the day of Manly's exam:
When Manly emerged with triumphant nonchalance, there was eager inquiry to secure data for future use. "What did Stubby ask?" "What did Kitteredge ?" when we got to Wendell, I remember Manly's reply was: " He didn't ask me anything. He only gave me a cigar"-an incident which was long cited as an instance of the highest academic chivalry.
After his first year of professorship in the English department at Brown University, Manly returned to Harvard to teach a summer course in Old English. He maintained his position at Brown until 1898 when President William Rainey Harper persuaded him to move to the University of Chicago. Manly's great incentive was that he would be the head of the English Department; he held that position until his retirement in 1933.
In the English department at the U of C Manly pursued studies in English literature and focused on Pier the Plowman, Shakespeare, Chaucer and general education. Manly was the first to theorize that the various versions of Pier the Plowman the work were not by just one author. Manly served as the Chicago Exchange Professor at the University of Göttingen (1909).
Circa 1913 Colonel George Fabyan invited Manly to examine Shakespeare's text to decipher codes placed in the text by the alleged author, Bacon. In six weeks Manly developed a system for deciphering the codes which he concluded did not validate Bacon's authorship. On the reputation of this work he was invited by the US government to join the Military Intelligence Division in the encoding and decoding of messages and the deciphering of enemy codes in 1915. Manly stepped down from the U of C for the duration of the war. As a successful decipher, Major Manly, earned the respect of his military peers before returning to the English Chair in 1919.
Deeply interested in language and mystery Manly turned his attentions toward Chaucer's writings. In the Oxford Lowell Institute lectures (1924) he asserted that Chaucer's characters were based on people that he knew. An idea widely accepted today but Manly had to delve deep into Chaucer's life to find the associates.
A devoted educator Manly published books for all ages and in particular edited texts of poetry for classroom use at various grade levels. As the editor of Modern Philogy Manly explored his more complex academic interests. Manly believed he would have been a better scholar if he would have either had fewer interests or loved the English department a little less.
For the last 15 years of his life Manly and his former student Edith Rickertt were engaged in an in depth study of the Canterbury tales. They, along with one or more of Manly's four sisters spent 6 months of each year in England examining texts and managed to get photostatic copies of all eighty five known Chaucerian manuscripts; they also discovered sixteen unknown fragments. Rickert and Manly amassed these in Chicago so that they could study them together and make them available to other scholars. The death of the young Rickert left Manly to finish the task of editing the eight volume set alone. He published this in 1939. just prior to his own death in 1940. The weight of the volume both intellectually and financially meant that individual scholars were not able to examine the books until after WWII.
Manly was involved in many academic organizations and received five honorary degrees for his work in addition to the honor bestowed on him by the University of Chicago when it named a chair after him.
Manly was groomed for academic success by his lineage. His great grandfather Basil Manly, was President of the University of Alabama and founded the Alabama Historical Society. Manly's grandfather, Basil Manly, Jr. ministered to churches in four states and was President of the Georgetown College of Kentucky in the midst of his fatherly duties to 18 children. The Manly's were a politically invested southern family and Basil Manly, Jr. delivered the inaugural prayer when Jefferson Davis was inducted into the Confederate Presidency. Manly's father, Charles Manly, carried on the pastoral and educational traditions set by his family and became a Baptist minister and the president of Central College and Furman University in the American south.
Manly's father married Mary Esther Hellen Matthews who mothered seven children. John M. Manly was born on 2 Sep 1865 in Sumter Co. Alabama. His brothers were quite successful, Charles Matthews Manly, (1876-1927) is noted for inventing the Langley Airplane in 1903. Basil Maxwell Manly was a noted economist with the Federal Power Commission.
A beloved teacher and brother, Manly passed away after a heart attack in Tucson, Arizona on 2 April 1940.
The John Matthews Manly Papers contain personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, copies of manuscripts from various libraries, articles, lectures, notes, and student papers. Correspondents include G.L. Kittredge, Barrett Wendell, A.W. Pollard, William A. Craigie, R.B. McKerrow, and H.S. Bennett. The Papers document Manly's work on Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales and his interest in cryptography.
The collection is comprised of eight series: Series I: General Correspondence; Series II: Correspondence, Cryptography; Series III: Scholarly Manuscripts; Series IV: Miscellaneous Manuscripts; Series V: Piers Plowman Manuscript; Series VI: Voynich Manuscript and Cryptography; Series VII: Army Cryptography; Series VIII: Miscellaneous Materials and Addenda.
The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:
Series I: General Correspondence
|Box 1 Folder 1|
Correspondence, n.d. and 1889-92
|Box 1 Folder 2|
Correspondence, 1893-94 (Especially Agnes Furnivall)
|Box 1 Folder 3|
Correspondence, 1895 (Especially Agnes Furnivall)
|Box 1 Folder 4|
Correspondence, 1896 (Especially Agnes Furnivall)
|Box 1 Folder 5|
Correspondence, 1897-99 (including Lovett and Moody)
|Box 1 Folder 6|
|Box 1 Folder 7|
Correspondence, 1904-06 (including responses to the "Lost Leaf of Piers Plowman"
|Box 1 Folder 8|
Correspondence, 1907 (especially Basil Manly)
|Box 1 Folder 9|
|Box 1 Folder 10|
|Box 1 Folder 11|
|Box 1 Folder 12|
|Box 1 Folder 13|
Correspondence, 1920-22 (including plan for English Department reorganization)
|Box 1 Folder 14|
|Box 1 Folder 15|
|Box 1 Folder 16|
|Box 1 Folder 17|
|Box 1 Folder 18|
|Box 1 Folder 19|
Correspondence, Jan. 1931
|Box 1 Folder 20|
Correspondence, Feb. 1931
|Box 1 Folder 21|
Correspondence, Mar. 1931
|Box 1 Folder 22|
Correspondence, Apr. 1931
|Box 2 Folder 1|
Correspondence, May 1931
|Box 2 Folder 2|
Correspondence, Jun.-Dec. 1931
|Box 2 Folder 3|
|Box 2 Folder 4|
|Box 2 Folder 5|
Correspondence, family business, re:Manly Corporation, 1930-31
|Box 2 Folder 6|
Correspondence, family business, C.M. Kendrick, 1930-31
Series II: Correspondence, Cryptography
|Box 2 Folder 7|
|Box 2 Folder 8|
|Box 2 Folder 9|
|Box 2 Folder 10|
|Box 2 Folder 11|
|Box 2 Folder 12|
Correspondence, 1921 Jan-May
|Box 2 Folder 13|
Correspondence, 1921 Jun-July
|Box 2 Folder 14|
Correspondence, 1921 Aug-Dec
|Box 2 Folder 15|
Correspondence, 1922 Jan-June
|Box 2 Folder 16|
Correspondence, 1922 Jul-Dec
|Box 2 Folder 17|
|Box 3 Folder 1|
|Box 3 Folder 2|
|Box 3 Folder 3|
Correspondence, 1931 Mar-July
|Box 3 Folder 4|
Correspondence, 1931 Aug-Dec
|Box 3 Folder 5|
Series III: Scholarly Manuscripts
|Box 3 Folder 6|
"Shall and Will in Chaucer," Ms and notes
|Box 3 Folder 7|
"Shall and Will in Chaucer," Ms, not in JMM's handwriting
|Box 3 Folder 8|
"Education that Educates," convocation address, Dec. 20, 1927
|Box 3 Folder 9|
"The Books of Frederic Ives Carpenter"
|Box 3 Folder 10|
Tribute to Charles R. Baskervill
|Box 3 Folder 11|
Final e in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women
|Box 3 Folder 12|
Review of Minutes and Accounts of the Corporation of Stratford-upon-Avon
|Box 3 Folder 13|
Review of The Book of Troilus and Criseyde, ed. by R.K. Root
|Box 3 Folder 14|
"The Rift in Education"
|Box 3 Folder 15|
"The Teaching of Literature"
|Box 3 Folder 16|
|Box 3 Folder 17|
"Tales of the Homeward Journey"
|Box 3 Folder 18|
"English in the Public Schools"
|Box 3 Folder 19|
"The Place of Language in the English Course"
|Box 3 Folder 20|
"Narrative Writing in Anglo Saxon Times"
Series IV: Miscellaneous Manuscripts
|Box 3 Folder 21|
"Gregory, the Great," unfinished
|Box 3 Folder 22|
Notes for Manly-Bailey series of textbooks
|Box 3 Folder 23|
Notes from committee on the desirability of purchasing "one of the most notable private libraries in Europe--the Canal's a noble family of Venetia"
|Box 3 Folder 24|
Notes and ideas for stories
|Box 3 Folder 25|
|Box 3 Folder 26|
Unfinished stories and essays
|Box 3 Folder 27|
"James Morrison," completed story
Series V: Piers Plowman Manuscript
|Box 3 Folder 28|
Piers Plowman, Proofs; Jusserand's reply; bibliography: R.W.
|Box 4 Folder 1|
Thomas A. Knott "The Ms of Text A `Piers the Plowman' Used as the Basis of the Revision Known as Text B"; notes on Text B
|Box 4 Folder 2-18|
Student papers on Piers Plowman
Series VI: Voynich Manuscript and Cryptography
|Box 4 Folder 19|
Table of Latin Syllables
|Box 4 Folder 20-21|
Photographs of Voynich Ms
|Box 4 Folder 22|
"Key to the Library" (JMM's?)
|Box 5 Folder 1|
|Box 5 Folder 2|
Photographs of Mss (Including Français 24306, incomplete) and of one printed label
|Box 5 Folder 3|
Three working notebooks, labelled "Bacon Cipher"
|Box 5 Folder 4|
Notes on code for article; other notes on Sloane 830 and 414
|Box 5 Folder 5|
Worksheets on related ciphers: "Galen's Anatomy" and "Kazwini"
|Box 5 Folder 6|
Articles on the Voynich Roger Bacon Ms
|Box 5 Folder 7-8|
Notes: ciphers in other Mss; other notes on printed sources
|Box 5 Folder 9|
Notes on alchemical Mss, etc.
|Box 5 Folder 10|
Notes for Bacon Cipher; "Key to Aggas"
|Box 5 Folder 11|
Notes on texts in cryptography
|Box 5 Folder 12|
Miscellaneous notes and worksheets
|Box 5 Folder 13|
|Box 5 Folder 14|
Photostats of Mss: John Dee (Sloane 3188, 3189, 2599): unidentified
|Box 5 Folder 15|
Notes on Vatican Latin Ms 3102
|Box 5 Folder 16|
"Notes on an Inquiry into the Validity of the Baconian Bi-Literal Cypher for the Interpretation of Certain Writings Claimed for Francis Bacon"
|Box 5 Folder 17|
Comments on "Sixty Drops of Laudanum," by E.A. Poe
|Box 5 Folder 18-19|
"The Bi-formed Alphabet Classifier" of the Riverbank Laboratories
|Box 5 Folder 20|
Notes on Shakespeare/Bacon cipher
Series VII: Army Cryptography
|Box 6 Folder 1|
Tratado de Cryptogragia (in Spanish) 1894
|Box 6 Folder 2|
Wörter-Verzeichniss (in German)
|Box 6 Folder 3|
Army War College 1917 materials; word frequently charts
|Box 6 Folder 4|
Confederate Cipher Code (Beauregard's?)
|Box 6 Folder 5|
Articles, circulars on codes, etc.
|Box 6 Folder 6-7|
War College problem sheets
|Box 6 Folder 8|
Miscellaneous, including Maroon article on "Our Faculty at War" on JMM
|Box 6 Folder 9|
|Box 6 Folder 10|
Sliding letter scales
Series VIII: Miscellaneous Materials and Addenda
|Box 6 Folder 11|
Photographic copy of Ms of Bayle's King John (Oxford?), pp 1-37, incomplete
|Box 6 Folder 12|
Photographic copy of Ms of Bayle's King John (Oxford?), pp 39-63, Incomplete
|Box 6 Folder 13|
Facsimile of Ms of Bayle's King John, leaf 8 only. 6 copies
|Box 6 Folder 14|
Photographs of stages and scenes, some from printed sources
|Box 6 Folder 15|
Photographs of first pages of several plays by Shakespeare
|Box 6 Folder 16|
Photographs of Greene's James IV of Scotland, 2pp, printed
|Box 6 Folder 17|
|Box 6 Folder 18|
Printed matter on dry-air blast furnace
|Box 6 Folder 19|
Bibliographical Society of Chicago
|Box 6 Folder 20|
Simplified Spelling Board: pamphlets
|Box 6 Folder 21|
Sarah Murray Manly, obituaries
|Box 6 Folder 22|
Charles Manly: Sketches of School and College Life, 1845-65"
|Box 6 Folder 23|
Address book and diary, ca 1901, of JMM
|Box 7 Folder 1|
|Box 7 Folder 2|
Chaucer project, 1937 correspondence with J.S.P. Tatlock; introductory note; note on the Hengwrt Ms
|Box 7 Folder 3|
"The Service of a Small College"
|Box 7 Folder 4|
1933 English 301 syllabus
|Box 7 Folder 5|
Miscellaneous notes: inventories and account rolls of Jarrow and Monk, etc.
|Box 7 Folder 6|
D.C. Heath and Co. contracts
|Box 7 Folder 7|
Data on private libraries in Chicago collected by the Chicago Bibliographical Society
|Box 7 Folder 8|
Course outlines, notes, etc., Brown University, etc.?
|Box 7 Folder 9|
|Box 7 Folder 10|
Notes and texts
|Box 7 Folder 11|
|Box 7 Folder 12|
Schedule of lectures, Gen. Lit. 110
|Box 7 Folder 13|
|Box 7 Folder 14|
Oscar L. Olson papers, including "A Contribution to the History of Saga Development in England and the Scandinavian Countries"
|Box 7 Folder 15|
Tracings from Mss rubrications
|Box 7 Folder 16|
Miscellaneous non-Manly papers
|Box 8 Folder 1|
Lectures on Pre-Shakespearean Drama by JMM (student course notes?)
|Box 8 Folder 2|
Ms copy of Guilietta e Romeo by Luigi da Porto. Introduction and biographical information by JMM (?)
|Box 8 Folder 3|
"A Copy of a Letter Written by Our Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Ein Himmelsbrief. n. b. see 1922 correspondence for more information.)
|Box 8 Folder 4|
Incomplete photostat of Ms Junius 1
|Box 8 Folder 5|
"A True and Approved Art"
|Box 8 Folder 6|
J.M.H. Walden's 1906 report on Duke of Brunswick's Library at Wolfenbuttel
|Box 8 Folder 7|
Photostats of Mss; Bodl. Misc Mss Lit 346; Sloane 2357; Huntington Vices and Vertus
|Box 8 Folder 8|
R.B. Baselden, 1933 correspondence on Piers Plowman
|Box 8 Folder 9|
Summary of "The Science of Poetry and the Philosophy of Language" by Hudson Maxim
|Box 8 Folder 10|
"Education that Educates"
|Box 8 Folder 11|
Photostates of Ms Bodl. 581; Ms BM 23986; Sloane 3192
|Box 8 Folder 12|
|Box 8 Folder 13|
F.I. Carpenter (?): "Apropos of Aim and of Method in Literary Studies"
|Box 8 Folder 14|
Baker Brownell: "Problems of Contemporary Thought"
|Box 8 Folder 15|
Gertrude Schottenfels (student?) papers
|Box 8 Folder 16|
|Box 8 Folder 17|
Otto Stahlen: "Editorial Technique"
|Box 8 Folder 18-20|
T. Atkinson Jenkins papers: notes on Paris Ms 902, etc.; Resurrection play
Photostat of Ballades of Deschamps
Chaucer project notecards
Chaucer project notecards, scribal errors chapter
|Box 11 Folder 1|
JMM papers given by D.H. Stevens, 1970, correspondence, 1933-1935; photos; reprint of Lippotopo, 1934, etc.
|Box 11 Folder 2|
JMM papers given by F.B. Millett, 1970, correspondence, 1928-1936; clippings; reprints
|Box 11 Folder 3|
"Bopeep: A Song-cycle from the English Poets" parodies of Chaucer, Milton, Gray, Browning, Scott and Longfellow, signed by CSC and MGC (relationship to JMM unknown)
|Box 11 Folder 4|
Family and financial correspondence, 1931-32
|Box 11 Folder 5|
Notes on printing; Caxton, Colet, More, Tyndale, Erasmus, Johnson, Vikings (essay in German)
|Box 11 Folder 6|
List of Master's Dissertations in English to 1921
|Box 11 Folder 7|
Clippings from The Athaneaum and The Nation
|Box 11 Folder 8|
Essays by Philippine students (relationship to JMM, if any, unknown)
|Box 11 Folder 9|
"Roger Bacon and the Voynich Ms" by JMM, reprint
|Box 11 Folder 10|
English Tripos, 1926-32, Cambridge University English Poetry by JMM (Cinn & Co., 1907). 1 copy