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J. Hartley Manners letters to Philip Troup


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Actor and dramatist J. Hartley Manners was born to Irish parents in London on August 10, 1870. He began his career as an actor on the stage in Melbourne, Australia, in 1898. He debuted in London the following year, playing Nat Brewster in Edward Rose's play,

In Days of Old. For several years he continued his acting career, including as a member of Sir Johnston Forbes- Robertson's company.

During this period he also began to write plays. In 1902 he supervised the production of his play,

The Crossways, which he had written for Lilly Langtry, and in which he played the part of Lord Robert Scarlett. On December 29, 1902, The Crossways opened its American tour at the Garrick Theatre in New York. After the play closed, Manners focused on writing plays, writing alone or in collaboration over thirty plays.

His most prominent play was

Peg O' My Heart which Manners wrote for his wife, actress Laurette (Cooney) Taylor, in 1912. It was staged in the United States and Great Britain for over 1000 audiences, with numerous touring companies performing it simultaneously during several seasons. It continues to be performed in contemporary theater and has been translated for world-wide entertainment.

J. Hartley Manners died on December 19, 1928 in New York City.

Malone, Dumas (ed.) Dictionary of American Biography. Volume VI. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961. p. 248.

J. Hartley Manners's seven letters and one telegram, written to his friend Philip Troup, were originally laid in a first American edition of Manner's novel,

Peg O' My Heart. This copy was inscribed by Manners on the front flyleaf: "To Philip Troup with the sincere regards and wishes of J. Hartley Manners, Nov,1913." This book is cataloged and available in Special Collections.

The one typed and six autograph letters comprise about twenty pages and were written between 1915 and 1920. In the undated telegram Manners thanks Troup for a review of his play and promises a longer letter to follow.

In his first letter Manners expressed appreciation for Troup's praise of his plays; commiserated with Troup about his recent illness, recalling his own lingering injuries from a recent accident in New York City; mentiond the success of

Peg O' My Heart; and commented on the conditions in London necessitated by the war.

The letters which follow continue to convey the friendship developed by the two men and their spouses, including visits to Troup's home in New Haven, Connecticut. In these letters Manners discussed his writing projects, invited Troup to visit him at his flat in New York, mentioned the opening of a new play, and apprised Troup of his travel plans.

Manners's most extensive discussion documents his prejudices against Germans. Perhaps influenced by the post-World War I political environment, his comments expressed an extreme loathing and vehement mistrust of all Germans as a race. In his letter dated August 8, 1918, Manners wrote that he had spent the summer writing a book in which: " ... I contend the German as a type, is not beautiful, is not god-fearing but judging from the records of his acts over large term of years is, for the most part coarse in [?], licentious in practice, dishonest by nature in his regard for his neighbor and a treacherous and dangerous resident in this country." Manners continued for several pages in this letter, and in again in his September 10, 1918 letter, to build his case against Germans, citing their criminal records, treatment of children, "depraved" literature, and "vice-ridden" cities. In fact, Manners suggests that Germans should only be permitted to live in Germany, stating: "They have brought a curse on every country they have settled in. For God's sake send them back and keep them in the only country they should be permitted to live in - Germany."

Box 39: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes

Purchase, October 2000

Processed by Anita A. Wellner, January 2001. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, July 2020.

The materials in this collection were originally laid in the following book, which is cataloged with imprints in Special Collections. It can be accessed by searching the library catalog.

Manners, John Hartley, and Dodd, Mead & Company. 1913.

Peg O' My Heart : A Comedy of Youth. New York: Dodd, Mead.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2020 July 20
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Autograph letter signed, 1915 January 3.
Physical Description

3 pages

Autograph letter signed, 1916 May 3.
Physical Description

2 pages

Typed letter signed, 1917 February 21.
Physical Description

1 page

Autograph letter signed, 1918 August 8.
Physical Description

7 pages

Autograph letter signed, 1918 September 10.
Physical Description

3 pages

Autograph letter signed, 1920 March 5.
Scope and Contents

Clipping enclosed

Physical Description

2 pages

Autograph letter signed, 1920 June 21.
Physical Description

2 pages

Telegram, [no year] June 21.
Physical Description

1 page

Print, Suggest