University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

J. Hartley Manners
Letters to Philip Troup

1915 - 1920


Manuscript Collection Number: 99 F648
Accessioned: Purchase, October 2000
Extent: .1 linear ft. (8 items)
Content: Letters
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: January 2001 by Anita A. Wellner

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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 commentd 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."

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

39        Series I.  J. Hartley Manners letters to Philip Troup,
               These seven letters and one telegram were
               originally laid in a copy of Manner's Peg O' My
               Heart, which was inscribed to Philip Troup by
               Manners (available in Special Collections).

     F648 Letters

          1915 Jan 3          ALS       3p
          1916 May 3          ALS       2p
          1917 Feb 21         TLS       1p
          1918 Aug 8          ALS       7p
          1918 Sep 10         ALS       3p
          1920 Mar 5          ALS       2p
               Note:  Clipping enclosed.
          1920 Jun 21         ALS       2p
          [n.y.]    Dec 12    Telegram  1p

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