The Frederick Manfred papers are organized into two series, Correspondence and Printed Materials. The Correspondence series comprises professional correspondence related to Manfred’s position as writer-in-residence in the English Department at the University of South Dakota from 1968-1983. General correspondence is contained in folders entitled, “A,” “B,” “C,” etc. Incoming and outgoing correspondence for a person or organization with more than 2 letters are contained in one folder. The Printed Materials series consist of the following folders: 1) Conferences/Workshops; 2) Doctors of Letters Recommendation from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 3) Faculty Data; 4) USD Honors College information; 5) Instructional Improvement Program questionnaire; 5) Newspaper Clippings; 6) Statement of Teaching Goals; and 7) Vitas.
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Biographical / Historical
Manfred was the eldest son born Frederick Feikema to Feike Feikes, a farmer and carpenter, and Aaltje (Van Engen) in Doon, Iowa, on January 6, 1912. Manfred grew to be an imposing figure of a man at six feet, nine inches tall. He legally changed his name to Frederick Feikema Manfred in 1952. Manfred attended the Christian Reformed Church High School in Hull, Iowa, and after graduating from high school, he attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan, and during his undergraduate years, published 17 poems and short stories for the yearbook and student newspaper. He received his BA in 1934 and spent the next two years hitchhiking across the United States. After working in a variety of jobs, he became a sports reporter for The Minneapolis Journal in 1937. Manfred later developed tuberculosis and was admitted into the Glen Lake Sanatorium in Oak Terrace, Minnesota in April 1940. This is where he met his future wife, Maryanna Shorba (married October 31, 1942; they divorced in 1978). The couple had two children, Freya and Frederick F. After his health had been restored in 1942, he decided to devote his time to writing. Manfred was provided with a writing fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 1944 and published his first novel, The Golden Bowl, later that year. After receiving a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and another fellowship, he published Boy Almighty and This is the Year over the next three years. Manfred then began to work on the World’s Wanderer trilogy in the late 1940s and early 1950s (The Primitive; The Brother; The Giant). After mixed reviews and the name change, he published, Lord Grizzly, the first novel in The Buckskin Man Tales. This successful series later comprised four other novels including Conquering Horse, Scarlet Plume, King of Spades, and Riders of Judgment. Manfred’s novels reflected his Midwestern roots, vast farmlands, and the western frontier. He often referred to the border areas of Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska as “Siouxland.”
Manfred became writer-in-residence at both Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1949-51, 1959-1972, and he assumed this position at The University of South Dakota from 1968-1983. He was also a consultant in the humanities at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from 1984 until his death from a brain tumor on September 9, 1994.