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Effa Manley Private Business Papers

Identifier: MG Nwk Manley-(Main)

Scope and Contents

The Effa Manley Private Business papers consist of correspondence, and a few bills, receipts, related primarily to the management of property owned by Effa and Abe Manley in Germantown, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey. The collection also includes a few undated lists of names and addresses The Effa Manley Private Business papers consist primarily of correspondence, but also include lists, and a few bills and receipts. The bulk of the material is related to an apartment building owned by Effa Manley and members of her family in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and property owned by Abe Manley in Camden, New Jersey.

Material is arranged chronologically.

The correspondence between Effa Manley, her brothers, and various contractors and agents reveal her attention to detail and hands-on management style as she ….. The correspondence between Abe, his tenants, and agents also reveal some racial … of real estate. Although the owner would like to buy the building from Manley, he cannot get a bank loan because the building is in a … area, esse

A few of receipts and bills give an indication of the wealth of the Manley’s. The collection contains 1939 insurance bills (1939) a for mink coat valued at 700 dollars and a Hudson seal coat valued at 90 dollars; and estimates for washing Oriental rugs (1940).

In 1941, Arthur A. Waples, who rented a building owned by Abe Manley on 824 Kaighn Avenue in Camden, wrote that although he would like to buy the property, he could not obtain a mortgage. “The Home Loan Corporation will not consider making the loan as it is located in a restricted area.” The building must have been in a red-lined area.

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 one item from 1933 and one from 1946.

There is some correspondence of Abe Manley, as well as a very small amount of personal correspondence from Effa Manley to her brothers Alphonso and Jacob Brooke, to her mother Cora 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 discussions 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 niece of her secretary, Carrie Jacobs. 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 "betterment of colored race"; and the Newark Defense Council.


  • 1933 - 1946
  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1942


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers must use microfilm. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must be requested from the Director of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center (CFC-NJIC). The CFC-NJIC approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Biographical / Historical

Effa Manley and her husband Abe Manley owned the Newark Eagles, a professional baseball team that played in the second Negro National League from 1936 through 1948.

Abe Manley, “Cap” to his players, acted as talent scout and often accompanied the team during spring training and to games, but the business side of running a team, including negotiating player contracts, scheduling games, advertising and promoting the team, and thrashing out deals with booking agents and other owners, fell to Effa Manley. Nor were her organizational skills confined to baseball. She was secretary of the Citizens League that organized the 1934 “Buy-Where-You-Can-Work" boycott of Blumstein’s Department Store in Harlem. In 1939 she was on the planning committee for the John Borican Victory Dinner honoring track star Borican in Newark. By 1947 she was treasurer of the Newark branch of the NAACP. In the 1950s she was a member of the Newark City Hospital Citizens' Advisory Committee and she was a consummate fund raiser and promoter, especially for causes related to the civil rights and social welfare of African-Americans.

Abraham Lincoln “Abe” Manley (1885-1952) was born in Hertford, North Carolina. He first made his fortune in Camden, New Jersey, running an illegal numbers racket, and later expanded his portfolio by investing in real estate in Camden and New York City.

Effa Louise Manley (c. 1900-1981) was born and raised in Philadelphia. Her mother, Bertha Ford Brooks, was a white seamstress; her father John M. Bishop, was a wealthy white businessman who had at one time employed her mother. Bertha’s husband, Benjamin Brooks who was African-American, sued for divorce not long after Manley’s birth. Bertha Brooks later married another African-American man, B. A. Cole, with whom she had several children. Manley, raised with her half-siblings from the Brooks and Cole families, did not learn the identity of her biological father until she was in her teens. After graduating from William Penn High School in Philadelphia, Effa Manley moved to Harlem, worked as a milliner and was married briefly.

Effa Manley was divorced by the time she met Abe Manley at a Yankees Game in 1932. They married the following year, the second marriage for each, and lived in Harlem until they founded the Newark Eagles.

Under the Manleys’ leadership the Newark Eagles survived the end of the Depression and the lean war years when many of their best players were in the armed services. In 1946 they bested the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League to win the Negro World Series. That year the team drew 120,000 fans. With the integration of Major League Baseball in 1947, however, the crowds for the Eagles’ games dwindled. By 1948 the Eagles counted only 35,000 fans in attendance. At the end of the 1948 season the Manleys sold the Eagles and the team was relocated to Houston.

Effa Manley waged one last battle for the Eagles before they left Newark. Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, attempted to sign Monte Irvin from the dismantled Eagles in 1948. Effa Manley activated her lawyer and lobbied the baseball commissioners of the Major and Minor Leagues to protest Major League teams that ignored the contracts players had with teams in the Negro Leagues. The Dodgers, to Irvin’s dismay, rescinded their offer. The New York Giants soon picked him up, however, paying $5,000 to the Eagles for his contract — a coup for the Eagles and the Negro Leagues.

In 1952 Abe Manley died. The pall bearers at his funeral included two former Eagles players, Monte Irvin and Larry Doby. Manley was buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Newark. A few years after Abe’s death, Effa Manley sold their home on Crawford Street and moved closer to her family in Pennsylvania. Still later she moved to Los Angeles. Over the years she lobbied the Baseball Hall of Fame on behalf of players from the Negro Leagues and eventually seven former Eagles players were inducted: Larry Doby (the first black player in the American League), Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Monte Irvin, James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey, George “Mule” Suttles, and Willie Wells. In 2006 Effa Manley joined them, the first woman ever to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


Cummings, Charles F. “Knowing Newark: Manleys Changed Face of Black Baseball; Couple Enshrined Sport in City’s Heart”; The Star-Ledger. October 21, 1999.

Gray, Christopher. “Streetscapes/Blumstein’s Department Store; How a Black Boycott Opened the Employment” New York Times. November 20, 1994.

Overmyer, James. Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles; American Sports History Series, No. 1. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993.

Newark Eagles Records, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library.

Nutt, Amy Ellis. “Manley, Effa” in eds: Braukman, Stacy Lorraine and Susan Ware, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary: Completing the Twentieth Century, pages 409-411. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Ribowsky, Mark. A Complete History of the Negro Leagues, 1884-1955. New York: BIrch Lane Press Book, 1995.

“Jocko Maxwell: Voice of the Negro Leagues” National Baseball Hall of Fame.


.21 Linear Feet (1 half document box)

Language of Materials



The Effa Manley Private Business papers consist primarily of correspondence, but also include lists, and a few bills and receipts. The bulk of the material is related to an apartment building owned by Effa Manley and members of her family in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and property owned by Abe Manley in Camden, New Jersey.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In 1955, when Effa Manley sold her home on 71 Crawford Street in Newark, New Jersey, two filing cabinets containing the Newark Eagles records and her personal business records were left in the basement. The files remained, apparently undisturbed, through subsequent owners until 1989 when Eric Adams purchased the house and discovered the records. Adams donated the Newark Eagles records to the Newark Public Library.

Source: Overmyer, James. Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles; American Sports History Series, No. 1. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993, pp. 281-282.

Related Materials

Newark Eagles Records, 1935-1947 (Newark Public Library)

Effa Manley scrapbook, 1935-1963 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Baseball Commissioner Oral History Project: Interview with Effa Manley, 1977 (Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries)

Alix Ross
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States