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Manly Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-0900

Scope and Contents note

The Manly Family Papers has been arranged into the following ten series: Basil Manly, Sr.; Sarah Murray Manly; Basil Manly, Jr.; Charles Manly; Richard Fuller Manly; Mary Esther Helen Mathews Manly; John Mathews Manly; Charles Mathews Manly; Annie Manly; and Manly Family.

The Manly papers offer a particular challenge relating to the names and titles of the two Basil Manlys, father and son. The Manlys refer to themselves as both Basil Manly, II/Sr., and Basil Manly, III/Jr. The cause of this confusion might be related to the old practice of calling oneself the "II" until the first generation dies. In this case, for example, when Basil Manly, I, died then Basil Manly, II, might have referred to himself as "Senior" as he was then the eldest living Basil Manly. Basil Manly, III, would then have been "Junior. W.S. Hoole Library staff have decided to avoid any confusion by simply referring to them at all times as Senior and Junior, although in letters and other documents the researcher may find II and III used at times.

The Basil Manly, Sr., series makes up the bulk of the collection. The materials relating to nineteenth-century religion, education, and family in the Basil Manly, Sr., and Charles Manly series are the strengths of the collection. A Baptist minister and founder of Furman University, Basil Manly was the second president of The University of Alabama. His correspondence and diaries are of special interest to anyone interested in the early history of The University of Alabama. In addition to the information regarding the University, his series contains sermons and other church materials, as well as letters and diary entries regarding slavery, secession, and the Civil War.

His son, Charles Manly, was also a Baptist minister and was a president of Furman University; the Charles Manly series also contains materials relevant to education and religion.

The other series primarily contain correspondence (often with other family members), and other materials created and gathered by the family, including scrapbooks, clippings, and poems.


  • 1818 - 1930


Biographical / Historical

Basil Manly, Sr., was born near Pittsboro, Chatham County, North Carolina, on January 28, 1798. His parents were Captain Basil Manly, (1742 – 1824) and Elizabeth Maultsby, (1768 – 1855). In 1816, Basil Manly, Sr., attended the Bingham School, and that same year he was baptized at the Baptist Church of Christ at Rocky Springs, Chatham County, North Carolina.

In 1818, three important events occurred that began his life as a theologian and educator. On April 26, 1818, he received his license to preach from the Baptist Church of Christ at Rocky Springs, North Carolina. He became the beneficiary of the "Southern Education Society," Coosawatchie, South Carolina, on May 17, 1818, and on the following day, he preached his first regular sermon at the Baptist Meeting House in Beaufort, South Carolina. The following year, in December 1819, he was admitted to the senior class at South Carolina College, Columbia, South Carolina, (now known as the University of South Carolina). Basil graduated valedictorian on December 3, 1821. On March 10, 1822, he was ordained at the Little Steven's Creek Church, Edgewood County, South Carolina.

Another important event occurred in Basil's life on December 23, 1824; he married Sarah Murray Rudolph of Edgewood, South Carolina. Sarah Rudolph was born August 1, 1806 and died on September 12, 1894. Together they had eight children: Basil, Jr., December 19, 1825–January 31, 1892; Zebulon Rudolph, July 27, 1827–July 15, 1829; John Waldo, April 8, 1827–November 6, 1830; Sarah Rudolph (Smith), January 10, 1833–January 9, 1900; Charles, May 28, 1837–May 1, 1924; Abby Murray (Gwathney), September 12, 1839–1919; James Syng, October 4, 1842–March 1, 1921; and Richard Fuller, February 11, 1845–August 15, 1919.

On February 22, 1826, he became the minister at Charleston Church, Charleston, South Carolina. Later that year, on May 11, he was officially installed as pastor, where he preached for eleven years. Also in 1826, he helped establish Furman University at Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina.

In September of 1837, Basil and his family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he had been elected president of The University of Alabama. He succeeded Alva Woods, who was the first university president.

Basil Manly, Sr., played a central role in the founding of many institutions and associations. In 1838, he had a leading role in the founding of the Judson Female Institute (which changed its name to Judson College in 1903) in Alabama. In May 1845, he also had a leading role in founding the Southern Baptist Convention. Then in 1850, he was the founder of the Alabama Historical Society, whose role was to preserve the history of the state.

In 1855, Basil Manly, Sr., resigned as the president of The University of Alabama, and he accepted a call to preach at the Wentworth Street Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he remained for four years. In 1858, he served as founding chairman for the board of trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1859, he returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as State Evangelist. On February 18, 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, serving as chaplain for the provisional Confederate Congress, Basil commenced the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as the President of the Confederacy, with a prayer. He also served at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861. Then in 1863, he resigned from the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and he returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On November 22, 1864, he was stricken will paralysis. Basil Manly, Sr., died at Basil Manly, Jr.'s home in Greenville, South Carolina, on December 21, 1868. He was buried at Springwood Cemetery in Greenville.

Reverend Basil Manly, Jr., the son of Basil Manly, Sr., and Sarah Murray Rudolph, was born on December 19, 1825, in Edgewood County, South Carolina. In May of 1826, the Manly family moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where his father began preaching at Charleston Church. Basil Manly, Jr., attended the school of the German Friendly Society, and later he attended a private school in Tuscaloosa when the family moved to Alabama. From 1839 to 1844, Basil Manly, Jr., attended The University of Alabama where he graduated with honors. Also in 1844, he became licensed to preach and began his theological studies at Newton Theological Institute in Newton, Massachusetts. He finished his theological studies at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1847. He then became an ordained pastor and served at churches in Sumter County, Alabama, and in Noxubee County, Mississippi. In 1850, the Baptist Psalmody, a hymnal that he prepared with his father, was published. That same year he accepted the call to preach at the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. On April 28, 1852, Reverend Basil Manly, Jr., married Mrs. Charlotte Anu Elizabeth Whitfield Smith at Marion, Alabama. Together they had eleven children: Kate, 1853–1854; Basil Rudolph, September 8, 1854-September 19, 1880; Lizzie Pratt, March 3, 1856–1897; Fanny Louisa, July 10, 1857–unknown; George Whitfield, November 26, 1858–unknown; Murray Boyce, January 2, 1860–June 17, 1929; Sarah Rudolph, March 20, 1861–June 8, 1912; William Gwathney, April 13, 1862–November 28, 1929; Mary Lane, April 16, 1864–September 9, 1880; Alice, born and died in 1866; and Archibald Thomas, born and died in 1867.

He became president of the Richmond Female Institute, and he edited The American Baptist Memorial in 1854. In 1859, Reverend Basil Manly, Jr., wrote the "Articles of Faith" for the newly founded Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina, where he was also an establishing partner and professor. He received honorary D. D. (Doctor of Divinity) degrees from The University of Alabama and Wake Forest College, North Carolina, in 1859 and a LL. D. (Doctor of Laws) degree from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now known as Auburn University), Auburn, Alabama, in 1874.

During the Civil War years, Basil Manly, Jr., spent his time on the Asheville Plantation in Edgewood County, South Carolina. During this time, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was closed. In 1863, he became president of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and led in its establishment. After the war, he and his colleagues tried their best to reopen the seminary, but it later relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, despite their efforts. In 1866, he was the editor for Kind Words Teacher for Sunday schools, and he wrote the book, A Call to Ministry. A few years later, in June of 1869, he married his second wife (his first wife died circa 1867), Hattie Summers Hair of Newberry, South Carolina. Together, they had seven children: Clarence Julius, December 30, 1871–unknown; John Broadus, March 2, 1875–October 1, 1875; Caroline Summers, March 2, 1875–September 10, 1876; Hattie, born and died in 1877; Rosa, 1878–1880; Charlotte Broadus, June 8, 1882-unknown; and Charles James Fuller, July 30, 1890–1950.

From 1871 to 1879, Basil Manly, Jr,. was the president of Georgetown College, near Covington, Kentucky. Also during this time he preached at several area churches: The Baptist Church at Great Crossing (one of the oldest churches in central Kentucky), Cane Run Missionary Baptist Church, and Midway. In 1879, Basil Manly, Jr., returned to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as a professor, when it reopened in Louisville, Kentucky. While at the seminary, he published his longest book, The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration. On January 31, 1892, Reverend Basil Manly, Jr. died in Lowndes County, Alabama, and he is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Charles Manly, the son of Basil Manly, Sr., was also a Baptist minister and educator. He became president of Furman University in 1881 and served until 1897.

Annie Manly was born on August 30, 1872. She was Dr. Charles Manly's daughter, Dr. Basil Manly, Sr.'s granddaughter, and Dr. Basil Manly, Jr.'s niece. She attended college in 1880 in Greenville, South Carolina, and she graduated with high honors in 1890. She continued working at the college, making vocal and instrumental music her specialty. Annie never married and devoted much of her life to the workings of Christ. She taught school for a few years and then moved to Chicago with her brother. Annie died on January 20, 1915.

Additional Resources and Reference:

Boyce, James Petigru. Life and Death the Christian's Portion: A Discourse Occasioned by the Funeral Services of the Rev. Basil Manly, D.D. at Greenville, S.C., Dec. 22, 1868. New York: Sheldon, 1869.

Fuller, A. James. Chaplain to the Confederacy: Basil Manly and Baptist Life in the Old South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c2000.

Henderson, Samuel. Christianity Exemplified: A Memorial Sermon of Rev. Basil Manly, Sr., D.D. Atlanta: Franklin Steam, 1870.

Lyon, Mrs. Henry. "Manly, Basil, Sr." Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. Vol. 2, 818. Norman Wade Cox, ed. Nashville: Broadman, 1958.

Nettles, Thomas J. Southern Baptist Sermons on Sovereignty and Responsibility. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Gano Books, 1984.

Owen, Thomas Mallory. Dr. Basil Manly, the Founder of the Alabama Historical Society. Montgomery, Alabama: Alabama Historical Society, 1904.

Pate, James August. Basil Manly and His Administration at the University of Alabama, 1837-1855. Thesis (M.A.), University of Alabama, 1955.


6.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Includes the papers of Basil Manly, president of the University of Alabama, 1837-1855, and a founder of Furman University, which reflect the history of the period as well as his life as theologian and educator. It also contains materials created and gathered by other Manly family members, including his sons Basil and Charles, president of Furman University, 1881-1897.


Gift of various descendents, 1950, 1958, and 1973

Related Materials

Manly Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Basil Manly, Jr. Papers, James P. Boyce Centennial Library, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

Basil Manly Papers and Basil Manly, Jr., Papers, South Carolina Baptist Historical Collection, James Buchanan Duke Library, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina.

Separated Materials

[The lands belonging to the university [map] : a survey / by T. P. Thompson made at the request of President B. Manly.]. Notes: Chain bearers: Dr. B. Manly, Pres. and John P. Boyle. Call number: G3974.U54 1852 T46x

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Updated by April Burnett, 2008


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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266