8.5 x 11.5” black string-bound album with “Scrap Book” in gold on the cover and an embossed windmill. The inside front cover reads: “Bread Loaf 1936. Marion E. Manns.” The scrapbook is full of around 30 black and white photos of famous authors that Marion presumably encountered at Bread Loaf School of English, part of Middlebury College. Poets, authors, actors, and teachers pictured include Robert Frost, Donald Davidson, Edith Mirrielees, Hervey Allen, Bernard DeVoto, William Upson, Walter Pritchard Eaton (whom Marion has identified as Richard Prichard Eaton), Willa Cather, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Hamlin Garland, Josephine Johnson, Carl Sandburg, Otis Skinner and Louis Untermeyer and his wife. These famous faces are sandwiched between photos of Bread Loaf Mountain at the front of the album and photos from 2 plays at the back. Photos measure between 2.25 x 3.5” and 6.75 x 4.25” and are glued to the brown pages, accompanied by handwritten annotations identifying people and places.
A second scrapbook accompanies this one and is identical except that it is green instead of black. The inside cover of this album reads: “Northwestern University - 1936. Marion E. Manns”. There are around 23 black and white photos of Marion in her cap and gown, along with some of her friends and possible speakers at the graduation, including Sylvia Liggett, Lucille Wallingford, Flora Ann Johnson, Florence Stephenson, and Selma Johnson. There are also photos of Marion with family, playful photos of friends at Lake Michigan, a New Year card, and a newspaper clipping about the Kansas City Philharmonic. Photographs measure between 2.25 x 2.25” and 6 x 4”.
The third scrapbook in this collection is slightly larger at 12.75 x 10.25” with a red cover and the words “Scrap Book” in gold on the cover. The inside cover reads: “Marion Manns, Summer 1935—”. This album contains around 26 black and white photos of family and home, as well as friends. The first photo in the album is a portrait of a man identified as Frank Crotty. There is an illustration, perhaps of Marion, drawn by Jane Johnson in 1934. The rest of the scrapbook consists of about 16 letters from friends and boyfriends, report cards from Rhode Island State College and Northwestern University, a program for Illumination Night in 1936, an admission ticket to White City Park, and two advertisements about “Your Future Husband.” Photos measure between 2 x 2.75” and 6.75 x 10”.
There is a sign in one album that a page has been torn out and the glue used to attach the photos to the pages, has caused a yellowish stain.
Examples of letters:
Letter from Penny to Marion (Cissna Park Illinois, Monday night)
My dear Marion:
After three days deciphering your very clever card I will answer--if one may call it that. For once, my beloved folks were stumped--they couldn’t read my mail. Not that they do all the time, but postcards are such temptations, and my folks are human.
Well, I’ve had a rather hectic summer. I wrote to you from Glencoe, Illinois the last time but since then misfortune has darkened my path. Three weeks ago, I was floored with a severe attack of tonsilitis and had to come home. The doctor here says that I was suffering from a nervous breakdown more than anything else and here I still am recuperating from a case of nerves. However, sad as I am to convey the news to you, I probably will live and will return to Northwestern next year.
They certainly are tearing your old stall up. Old Chapin will never be the same. I guess the interior went through a complete overhauling. I bet that will make you very unhappy, eh?
Summer school should be nearly over now. I was up there last Saturday to get my clothes. You see, I came home in such a hurry that the only thing I brought with me was my toothbrush and the good old-fashioned pajamas. When I was able to get up I had only one change of clothes with me and that made it very embarrassing. Therefore, I spent most of my time in bed reading detective stories. I’m crazy about those darn things and I’ll go a hundred miles to see a good mystery show. The more gruesome and terrible, the better! I’m just another Rasputin, I guess, with mean thoughts ever in my small mind.
I had my hair cut quite short today. In fact, I don’t believe I’ll have to comb my hair for a week or more. That will mean a gross saving of nearly thirty minutes of my valueless time.
I umpired a baseball tournament yesterday--and believe it or not, I didn’t have one tomato hit me. They are such poor shots around here--thank goodness!
My love life around here is nihil. I asked a girl to go to a show with me last night and she ups and laughs at me and then runs away. I was burned up--but what could I do? Maybe I used the wrong technique. Could you advise me as to what course to pursue in such an instance? It was rather disgruntling, to say the least.
I suppose your heart story is somewhat different. I bet the boys flock around you--and you never give the Midwest a thought. If you ever say that the eastern boys are far superior, I won’t say a thing--cause after all what is there to say. We mid-western cowboys can ride horses like the devil but I’m afraid we can’t hold our liquor as well. Which reminds me that I went to a nightclub near here for a little while early (dad makes me get to bed by 11 P.M.) Saturday night and I never saw so many intoxicated women in my life. I thought of you right away--I mean I thought of your non-intoxicating nature as far as liquor is concerned. You intoxicate men with your bewitching smile and dark hair enhanced by pretty eyes which seem to make every nerve in one’s body tingle with a new feeling and--and--I guess I’M out of breath.
I don’t know when I’ll go back to Evanston, but it will probably be around the middle of September. You are coming back, I take it. Northwestern is a great school--so I’ve been told.
My folks went out to a farm to buy some tomatoes. The only kind of tomatoes I like is fried green tomatoes. Ripe ones make me sick. I like spinach a lot better. What is your favorite vegetable?
I just heard a noise and it made me stop for a second. I’ve read so many detective stories that any little noise makes me jump--and do I ever have horrible dreams. Some of these nights I’m going to jump up and write down what I dream and will I ever have some swell tales!
I’m going to borrow a set of golf clubs and get some exercise tomorrow. I also have a little woodpile to cut up and place in the basement for winter use. I’ll probably put that off till I’m in the cutting mood.
I’ve gained about ten pounds since I came home--although I lost 14 pounds just before I came home. I couldn’t sleep, eat or stand still before I came home. And sometimes I felt like murder. My mind feels a lot better and I really am enjoying my first vacation in four years. My nerves have been on edge for so long that they were about to snap.
It’s really quiet here. There are only about 600 people living in the city and most of them are old people. All the stores close at 10 o’clock except on Saturday. They even turn out the street lights at midnight--and the curfew bell rings at 8 every evening.
I must close or you will be too bored to read and farther. I hope to hear from you soon--will I? Please!
Always your friend:
Letter from Florence to Marion (Geology Library, Aug. 13, 1935)
Be a good child and answer a few rather personal questions for us, please pretty please. You wouldn’t by any chance be married, would you? You wouldn’t by any chance have heard from one Rogers individual lately, would you? You wouldn’t by any chance have communicated with said individual, if you haven’t he’s lying. Such a circumstance, had it arisen during the latter part of the school year wouldn’t have been sufficient to cause you to get kicked out of school, had it been known, WOULD IT?? I just wonder. Do enlighten me, in the most truthful fashion you find possible.
The semester is nearly over and I’m really not the least bit sorry. My exam is the 15th, Thursday and I have to work Friday. There is still a tremendous amount of work to get done before the end of the week. We are leaving for a cottage in Canada sometime Saturday. I may get ambitious and write to you from there. Do you have to do your playground work till you leave for school or do you get a vacation? How is Emily and all the rest of the family.
Tommy has returned from Florida after doing many very dumb things about which I shall tell you later. Chapin is still torn up somewhat but the front doorway is almost all fixed. Dot has about recovered from her bad knee and I think the doctor will let her up this week. D. Mills and family are out of quarantine, but I haven’t seen her. Georgie is, I think, breaking up with Kathleen, due to many complications and she is not taking it so gracefully. Did Miss Scott say anything to your about that room deposit and do you think we ought to make one? The department is gradually getting restored to normal although there are still several people missing. It is I who have the “I’ll do better next year” urge this time so it will be your turn to laugh. Have you ever read Genghis Khan. It’s really very good, about a man who at one time ruled more than 180° of longitude. Do you know who Preston John was? Now surprise me by saying yes. I haven’t been swimming for some time because I have so many scratched mosquito bites on my leg I’m afraid it might get infected I counted 27 on me leg. All of which is very interesting to you and also very entertaining.
So, having wandered enough, I shall conclude, once more urging that you enlighten me concerning the primary subject, are you or aren’t you? So careless of people to accidentally get tied up, don’t you think?
Letter from Bill (William J. Verschoor) to Marion (Dec 22, 1935)
After staying on a train for 12 hours and playing poker to kill time (lucky I won) we finally arrived in Chicago. So here I am at home alone writing to you instead of talking to you and trying to convince you that the stories you have heard about me are only half true; some of them only myths.
I went to a party last night at the College Inn alone when I should have had you with me. Every time I had a highball, I ordered one for you (I hope you like highballs. If you don’t you must have been [illegible] sick) and drank them for you. If you run away from me [illegible] more you will probably drive me to the [illegible] stage.
You say don’t hold it against me. I haven’t been within a thousand miles of you for a year and a half. So don’t think I hold it against you. As for forgiving you, well on one condition which I hope honey you will be good enough to comply with now as you are home and have no excuse.
Please send me a photograph of your lovely self and all is forgiven. I have a beautiful frame for it so don’t disappoint me. If you don’t send the photo people will say I am a spendthrift buying frames and letting them lie around empty. All kidding aside please send me a photo kid, will you? We are leaving here the night of the 25th as we have to be back in Kansas City by Friday morn when we catch the train for Topeka Kansas to play a concert there. Did you get my last letter with the newspaper clipping? Please send the photo to my Kansas City address.
You see how it is, we are hither and thither and always working when other people are playing and playing when other people are sleeping and working. How are you going to spend the New Years? Think a little about me about 12:00 New Year Eve and when he kisses you kiss him one and think of me. I don’t even now where I will be on New Years Eve. New Years Day we are going to play our first broadcast 9 to 10 over Columbia. That is if they don’t postpone it again.
Well best of luck for the holidays and may Santa Clause be good to you or don’t you modern girls believe in Santa Clause.
Loads of luck and love for the New Year:
P.S. Be sure that fella has a mustache when you kiss him.