Archive Of Letters To Chas Manby 1860s-70s
Title: Archive of 45 Autograph Letters, most written to Charles Manby from London
Author: [Manby, Charles]
Description: 45 autograph letters. The majority dated in the 1860s and ‘70s, 2 after his death.Manby (1804-1884) was one of the most prominent British engineers of the mid-19th century, his long career beginning when he assisted his father in building and sailing the world’s first sea-going iron steamboat. Moving spirit of the British Institute of Civil Engineers at the height of the era of invention, he was also Samuel Colt’s personal choice to oversee the American’s firearms establishment in London – in which capacity, in 1854, he gave a personal tour of Colt’s gun-making factory to his “great friend” Charles Dickens, one of Manby’s many literary acquaintances. Remarkably, while Manby was widely respected for “his intimate knowledge of the most important and gravest paths of the scientific world”, at the same time, he was “associated with the inner circles of the most brilliant theatrical society.” This odd connection came about through his friendship with Frederick Henry Yates, the Shakespearean actor who owned the Adelphi Theater in London. When Yates died in 1842, Manby, being guardian of Yates’ young son Edmund (the future dramatist and novelist) also became executor of Yates’ estate – which inadvertently made him business manager of the Adelphi at the time the theater was staging dramatic adaptations of many Dickens stories, including A Christmas Carol. None of these letters seem to mention Dickens by name (though there are numerous references to Manby in Dickens own papers), but many concern Theater business – from an 1843 letter by “Brown Stout Ale” proprietor Frederick Hodgson about the fate of the Adelphi after Yates’ death; to an 1860 business note by actor Paul Bedford. This archive is largely un-researched and most of the correspondents not identified, but it’s possible that detailed study would provide much historical background about the Adelphi and the London stage in general during the last twenty years of Dickens’ life.
Heading: (Dickens, Charles - British Theater)Place Published: London
Date Published: 1841-87 (mostly in the 1860s-70s)
Wear to each; mostly very good.