By Pearl McClintock
Student Archives Assistant, Upper Midwest Literary Archives
The Maryanna Manfred papers are now available for the public to explore, thanks to the Upper Midwest Literary Archives.
Manfred is known as a prolific editor, journalist, and contributor to the literary communities in Minnesota and South Dakota. She is the former wife of Frederick Manfred and mother to Marya Manfred, Frederick Manfred Jr, and Minnesota writer Freya Manfred.
Met Frederick at Glenn Lake Sanitorium
Maryanna Manfred was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1920. She graduated as valedictorian of Eden Prairie High School at 15 years old. Maryanna attended the University of Minnesota for journalism; however, during her studies she contracted tuberculosis and was treated at the Glenn Lake Sanitorium for two years. There she met her future husband, Frederick Manfred, who was also receiving treatment at the time.
Maryanna and Frederick were released from Glenn Lake in 1942. Maryanna would go on to graduate from the University magna cum laude that spring. She married Frederick in Nashua, Iowa in October of that same year.
Writing career included consulting on Manfred’s novels
Throughout her life Maryanna worked as a part-time freelance writer, editor, and consultant. She spent many years as an editorial consultant for “Prairie People.” She also wrote scores of book reviews as well as several plays which can be found in the collection.
Maryanna also worked as a consultant for roughly 20 of Frederick Manfred’s novels, and at times she served as an intermediary between Frederick and business associates — all of which can be explored further in the newly assembled collection.
A prolific correspondent
In addition to writing professionally, Maryanna was a prolific correspondent. Within the collection are thousands of letters to friends, family, business associates, politicians, and celebrities. She had strong opinions and shared them frequently and eloquently.
A large portion of the collection is dedicated to the correspondence between herself and her family. Her love for them is evident in the thousands of letters affectionately penned by her from 1920 through the 2000s. Maryanna’s papers also contain family photos from her parents’ family, the Shorbas, Frederick’s family, the Feikemas, and her own family, the Manfreds.
Funding for Prairie Poets and Press
Prairie Poets and Press has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund raises millions of dollars each year to support the artists and cultural heritage institutions (such as historical societies, libraries, and museums) that keep our state great, our citizens thoughtful, and our community thriving.
—Pearl McClintock is a student archives assistant working in the Upper Midwest Literary Archives.
The materials featured in this article are from the Maryanna Manfred papers in the Upper Midwest Literary Archives at the University of Minnesota.