Wyndham Meredith Manning Papers,
1896-1967 (bulk 1930-1942)

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The papers of Wyndham Meredith Manning (1890-1967) reflect the career of a South Carolina legislator and would-be governor who spent the majority of his life active in state politics. Extent: 15 linear ft. (12 cartons)
Location: Annex


Chronology

 

1890 Born in Sumter County to Richard I. and Leila B. Manning.
1907

Graduated from Sumter High School.

1913

Graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point; commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, United States Army.

1914

Resigned from Army to teach at Pinopolis School in Berkeley County, South Carolina.

1915

Father, Richard I. Manning, elected Governor of South Carolina.

1916

Elected Commandant of Cadets at Porter Military Academy, Charleston, South Carolina.

1916

Elected Captain of the Charleston Light Dragoon (National Guard of South Carolina).

1917 June

Named Captain of Field Artillery, 316th Field Artillery, 81st Division Camp Jackson, South Carolina.

1918 Jan 1

Promoted to Major, Field Artillery and Adjutant, 156th Field Artillery Brigade, 81st Division.

1918 Oct 26

Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 317th Field Artillery, 81st Division, AEF, France.

1919 Feb 25

Honorably discharged from Army.

1919

Father leaves the governor's office.

1919

Returned home and entered the cotton business in Columbia, South Carolina.

1927

Began cotton farming in Sumter County, South Carolina.

1930

Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from Sumter.

1932

Sponsored the Act of 1932, which gave the South Carolina Public Utilities Commission the right to regulate and fix prices for public Utilities.

1932

Re-elected to State House of Representatives.

1934

Made first unsuccessful bid for Governor of South Carolina (Came in third, received most votes, ever, by any first time candidate).

1938

Made second unsuccessful bid for Governor of South Carolina (Runner-up).

1942

Made third unsuccessful bid for Governor of South Carolina (Runner-up).

Ca. 1942-1945

Placed in command of 8,000-man Prisoner-of-War Camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, during World War II.

1947

Chosen superintendent of the state prison system.

1962

Retired from state prison system.

1967

Died at age 77.


Biographical Sketch

“His whole life has been marked by a willingness to put public service ahead of everything else.” --Governor J. Strom Thurmond, 1947
Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina said these words about Wyndham Meredith Manning, a South Carolinian who devoted his life to serving his state. He was a former state legislator, son of a former governor, and three-time candidate for the same office. Manning was considered to be a statesman, rather than a politician, by many of his contemporaries. He had a long career of public service for the state of South Carolina and was rewarded for it, but he never achieved his dream of becoming governor.

In 1890 Wyndham Meredith Manning was born in Sumter County, South Carolina, on his father's farm below Wedgefield. His father was Richard Irvine Manning and his mother was Leila B. Meredith. He was one of thirteen children. In 1898 Manning's father moved the family to the town of Sumter, citing poor health conditions near the farm and a need to increase his income. In 1907 Manning graduated from Sumter High School and, after passing the entrance exams, entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from West Point in 1913 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army.

Manning resigned from the army after one year to accept a teaching position at Pinopolis School in Berkeley County, South Carolina. Two years later he was elected Commandant of Cadets at Porter Military Academy in Charleston, but the Mexican War forced him to delay commencing his post. In June 1916, Manning went to Texas as the commander of the Charleston Light Dragoon, a division of the National Guard. Around this same time, his father, Richard I. Manning, was elected governor of South Carolina. In February 1917, Manning commenced his position at Porter, but remained there only until June, when he was sent to Fort Olgethorpe, Georgia, for artillery training. When his training was complete (at this time he had risen to the rank of Captain), he was sent to the 316th Field Artillery. Eventually he was promoted to Major and his division was sent to France on January 1, 1918. While in France, he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel.

When Manning returned from France in 1919, he purchased homes in Columbia, South Carolina, and Fayettevillle, North Carolina, where he spent some time buying cotton. Eventually Manning bought a farm in Sumter County (this became his primary residence) and began a long life of farming. He later owned and operated several farms of varying sizes around the state.

In 1930 Manning began his political career when he ran for a vacant state House of Representatives seat, which he won. Manning was reelected in 1932 and 1934. While in the state legislature, Manning was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and he helped sponsor many different bills. Some of these included new tax laws, the regulation of power prices, rural electrification and the regulation of railroads. He also attempted to pass bills to improve education, raise teachers salaries, and to keep female textile workers with infants from working at night.

Manning made his first bid for governor of South Carolina in 1934. He came in third during that election, receiving 56,000 votes. This was the best showing ever by any first time candidate. After the election he returned to farming. That fall he convinced his mother to sell her farm, Ashwood, to the government for resettlement purposes. One year later, the government asked him to take control of the plantation and get it in running order. He accepted the job, but he resigned in September of 1938 to attempt a second run for governor.

In his second attempt to win the governor's office, Manning faced off against Burnet R. Maybank. Manning was defeated by Maybank, but he made a much better showing than his first try for the office. After an election protest by Manning on some returns in Maybank's hometown of Charleston, Manning conceded the victory. He then returned to farming until the 1942 election. 1942 marked the third and final time Manning would attempt to obtain the South Carolina governor's office. Manning ran his race against Olin D. Johnston and was, once again, defeated.

The 1942 election marked the end of Manning's political career, but not the end of his service to South Carolina. With the outbreak of World War II, prisoner-of-war camps were set up at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Manning was place in charge of the camps and the 8,000 prisoners that they housed. After the war ended Manning received an appointment, with strong recommendation from Governor Strom Thurmond, as superintendent of the state prison system. He remained at this position until his retirement in 1962. In 1967, at the age of seventy-seven, Wyndham Meredith Manning died.


Sources Consulted:

Wyndham Meredith Mannng Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.

Columbia (South Carolina), The State, December 12, 1967, page 16A.


Scope and Content Notes

The papers of Wyndham Meredith Manning (WMM) (1890-1967) consist of approximately fifteen linear feet of materials that primarily document his political career in South Carolina. While documents range from 1896 to 1967, the bulk of the collection consists of materials from the years 1930-1942. The collection consists primarily of correspondence but also includes newspaper clippings, financial records, pamphlets, and legal information. Most of the correspondence centers around WMM's three unsuccessful bids for the governor's office of South Carolina. The collection is divided into five series: correspondence, political papers, legal papers, financial records, and personal/biographical and miscellaneous materials.

Series I: Correspondence

This series consists of correspondence WMM collected over many years. It is broken down into two sub-series: chronological and individual. Much of the correspondence comes from the time that WMM ran for governor. WMM kept much of his incoming and outgoing correspondence together. The collection includes many letters of support, invitations to speak, postcards, and telegrams. There are also letters from various campaign headquarters and letters from anonymous authors with information on opponents. WMM's outgoing correspondence contains many letters thanking constituents for their support, accepting or declining invitations, and going over political strategies.

Found in the chronological sub-series are letters from professional and political associates, as well as personal friends and family members. Correspondents include:

Solomon Blatt
Cole L. Blease
John Cauthen
Frank K. Clark
Olin D. Johnston
H. A. Manning
T. K. McDonald
J. M. Nickles
A. Tillman Pinso
n Thomas P. Stoney
Fred Wilcox
WMM maintained correspondence from specific individuals. Generally these are the people with whom he regularly corresponded. The correspondents include:
Dr. W.W. Ball
James F. Byrnes
H. C. Fulmer
W. D. Hall
R.M. Jeffries
Bernard Manning
Preston C. Manning
V.M. Manning
E.D. Smith
Series II: Political Papers

Series II contains the political papers of WMM. Documents found in this series offer insight into the political issues in which he was most interested. Most notable among the issues was his opposition to the Santee-Cooper Hydraulic Power project in his home county of Sumter. Since WMM was opposed to the project he collected a large amount of information on the topic. Other subjects include liquor laws in Charleston, schools, railroads, African-American suffrage, agriculture and the senatorial race of 1941and the subsequent election protest. Also included in the political collection are copies of many of WMM's speeches, pamphlets, and various newspaper clippings. Some of the prominent names that were clipped include Johnston, Maybank, Byrnes, Jeffries, and Blease.

Series III: Legal Papers

Series III is comprised mainly of records pertaining to various estates of which WMM was executor. These estates include those of his mother, Leila B. Manning, and Mary W. Stevens, as well as articles of his father's and J. Singleton Moore. Also included in this series are bills and receipts from the various estates, the last will and testament of both his father and Moore, copies of court documents and subpoenas, and other legal items.

Series IV: Financial Records

Series IV consists of financial information that WMM collected over the years. Included in this series are many bills, receipts, cancelled checks, inventory sheets, and order forms. There are also many oversized objects such as account books from the family farm, Ashwood, as well as time books, ledgers, bankbooks, and checkbooks.

Series V: Personal/Biographical and Miscellaneous

Series V contains items that pertain to WMM's personal life. Items include a daily planner, personal letters, religious pamphlets, two photographs (one of his brother Bernard and an unidentified man in an office) and biographical information. Also included in this section are awards, a discharge letter from the United States Army, and Alumni books from the University of Virginia.

Items found in the collection indicate that Manning was married and had four sons and one daughter. There is no evidence that states exactly what his wife's full name was (presumably Laura) or when they were married. There is also no information regarding the birth dates and names of his five children.


Description of Series

Correspondence, 1907-1942 (bulk 1930-1942), undated (Boxes 1-4)

Arranged chronologically and by individual. Undated letters located at end of chronological and individual materials.

Political Papers, 1931-1942 (bulk 1934-1942), undated (Boxes 5-6, 9, and oversized flat files)

Arranged alphabetically by topic. Includes newspaper clippings, political party rolls, speeches, and legislation materials.

Legal Papers, 1897-1942, undated (Boxes 6-8, 9)

Arranged alphabetically.

Financial Records, 1896-1942, undated (Boxes 8-11, oversized flat files, and oversized bound volume)

Includes bills, receipts, loan information, account books, time books, and ledgers.

Personal/Biographical and Miscellaneous, 1889-1967, undated (Box 8)

Includes pamphlets, an appointment book, an autobiographical essay, and two photographs: one of his brother, Bernard Manning, and the other of an unknown man.


Container List

The container list for the Wyndham Meredith Manning Papers consists of a six page file available in

Adobe Acrobat PDF formatPDF Version (To update software visit Adobe Acrobat homepage.)

Microsoft Word formatMS Word


Administrative Notes

 

Columbia Departments Campus Libraries
Columbia Libraries and Collections