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Effa Manley Private Business Papers (1933 - 1942)
RepositoryNewark Public Library, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center
Collection IDMG Nwk Manley
Size1 box
Collection Description
Effa Louise Manley (1897-1981) was born in Philadelphia. After high school she moved to New York City where she worked as a milliner. She met her future husband, Abraham (Abe) Manley, twenty-four years her senior, at a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. The couple married in 1935 and shortly thereafter bought the Brooklyn Eagles, a Negro League team. They bought the Newark Dodgers, a semi-pro black team, in 1936, and consolidated the two teams as the Newark Eagles.

The Manleys were co-owners, and Effa became business manager of the Eagles. She was known for her professionalism, toughness, and acumen -- arranging schedules, negotiating contracts, employing innovative advertising techniques, and even hiring and firing managers. She was always known as a strong players' advocate and was equally committed to the civil rights movement. In 1934 she helped organize a boycott of Harlem stores that refused to hire blacks. She served as Treasurer of the Newark Branch of the NAACP and often arranged games to benefit political causes. Under her shrewd management the Eagles won the Negro Leagues World Series in 1946. After protesting the raiding of Negro League players by white teams, she was successful in negotiating compensation to Negro League teams for the transfer of black players to the majors.

Effa Manley died in Los Angeles in 1981. In 2006 she became the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

NOTE: The collection is available, with the Newark Eagles Records (MG Nwk Eagles), on microfilm, and can be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan. Researchers must use microfilm.
Collection Contents
The collection consists of typed and handwritten correspondence (incoming and copies of outgoing); staff lists, including names from Newark and elsewhere; handwritten notes; and financial documents. Most of the material dates from 1939-1942, with a few items from 1933.

There is some correspondence of Abe Manley, as well as personal correspondence from Effa Manley to her brothers Alphonso and Jacob Brooke, to her mother Core Rollins, and to other family members.

A substantial portion of the collection consists of documents concerning property owned or rented by the Manleys (especially a property they owned in Germantown, PA). These diverse materials include discussion of whether to rent to colored tenants, racial discrimination in housing in general, renovation contracts, and responsibilities of landlords for sanitation, etc. Effa Manley figures in these documents as both landlord and tenant. The bills consist mostly of those for property repairs, but they include fur coat insurance and a Bordentown Institute bill for the daughter of a friend. Some notes reflect Effa Manley's membership in the Volunteer War Services Committee. Only a very few items are baseball-related; these include a Newark Eagles advertisement for a game in 1939.

Frequent (or Newark-related) correspondents include: J. Russel Winder; Joseph Trent; the Bell Telephone Company; Herman Natal; Bamberger's Department Store; John Anderson; the Newark YWCA; the Prudential Insurance Company; the Dime Savings Institution; rug cleaners Jancovius and Son, Newark; the Herman Dietz clothing store, Newark; War Damage Insurance, Newark; Rev. M. T. Waters, Newark; Dick Campbell, agent for singer Muriel Rahn; Elizabeth Galbreath, a reporter for the Chicago Defender (response contains biographical information on Effa Manley); Newark YMCA; Walter Super, on a conference for ´┐Żbetterment of colored race´┐Ż; and the Newark Defense Council.

NOTE: This collection has been microfilmed, with the records of the Newark Eagles (MG Nwk Eagles). The Manley Personal Business Records are found on Reel 8 of the Newark Eagles Collection microfilm; the film is available through Interlibrary Loan.
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsAfrican-American History / Civil Rights; Business / Commerce; Sports; Women's History
Time Period20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finging Aid URL