National Postal Museum Archives

Catherine L. Manning Collection

Summary

Collection ID:
NPMA.2023.1
Creators:
Manning, Catherine L. (Catherine Lemmon), 1881-1957
Dates:
1897-1957, 1968, 1973, and 2007
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
7.84 Cubic feet
Ten (10) letter size document boxes; two (2) flat boxes (17.5 x 11.5 x 3.25 in.); one (1) tall legal size document box; and fourteen (14) oversize folders
Repository:
The Catherine L. Manning Collection consists of materials including correspondence and memoranda; exhibit pages; departmental reports; photographs of stamp sources and Manning; philatelic badges and name tags; floor plans; calendars; convention brochures and programs; clippings; and other related materials. Manning was a thirty-year curator of the National Philatelic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Her papers document the history of the Smithsonian's National Philatelic Collection for several decades as well as the philatelic history in the United States and for women stamp collectors.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
The Catherine L. Manning Collection consists of materials including correspondence and memoranda; exhibit pages; departmental reports; photographs of Manning; photographs of stamp sources; panoramic photographs of philatelic convention attendees; philatelic badges and name tags; floor plans; diaries and notebooks; convention brochures and programs; clippings; and other related materials. Manning was a thirty-year curator of the National Philatelic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Her materials document the history of the Smithsonian's National Philatelic Collection for several decades as well as philatelic history in the United States and the history of women stamp collectors.
Of note are the Manning materials related to her time at the Smithsonian and her interactions with colleagues such as Theodore T. Belote; Franklin R. Bruns, Jr., and Alexander Wetmore. Also of interest are the materials related to Manning's membership and involvement in the American Philatelic Congress, the American Philatelic Society, the Bureau Issues Association, the Washington Philatelic Society, the Philadelphia Women's Stamp Club, the Women's International Stamp Club, and the Women's Philatelic Society of New York. Manning's work as a charter member of the board of directors of the private non-profit National Philatelic Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also documented.
Manning's interest in stamp designs is exhibited in the collection through the photographs of stamp sources and the newspaper clippings she collected as well as through her correspondence with authors and philatelic scholars about the topic, including F. L. Ellis and George B. Sloane who wrote for
Stamps
.
Some of Manning's personal philatelic collections and personal philatelic objects have been accessioned into the National Postal Museum's permanent museum collection.

Arrangement

Arrangement
This collection is arranged into fourteen series.
  • Series
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials and Documents, 1897-1957, 1968, 2007
  • Series 2: Diaries and Notebooks, 1944-1957
  • Series 3: Catherine L. Manning Employment: H. F. Colman and Smithsonian Institution (SI); Bureau of Engraving and Printing Material and Stamp Mailing Envelopes, 1902-1973
  • Series 4: Philatelic Organizations, 1926-1956
  • Series 5: Philatelic, Non-Philatelic, and First Day of Issue Events, 1926-1956
  • Series 6: Philately - General, 1901-1947
  • Series 7: Women in Philately and Women on Postage Stamps, 1936-1957
  • Series 8: Stamp Source Material: Documents, Lists, Correspondence; Stamp Catalogs and Stamp Dealers; 1897, 1920s-1949
  • Series 9: Stamp Source Material: Images, 1900s-1950
  • Series 10: Post Office Department Material, 1927-1954
  • Series 11: Correspondence - Individual and Organization (A-Z), 1921-1954
  • Series 12: Correspondence - General (A-Z); Holiday Cards; Panoramic Photographs, 1928-1956
  • Series 13: Manning's Little Women Stamp Exhibit; Scott Catalogue 1944
  • Series 14: Objects and Oversize Materials, 1930-1955, and undated

Biographical / Historical

Biographical / Historical
Catherine Lemmon Manning (1881-1957), the first woman outside the sciences to achieve the title "Assistant Curator" at the Smithsonian Institution, tended the National Philatelic Collection for nearly thirty years. During her tenure, she organized the collection, processed thousands of specimens received from the Universal Postal Union and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, published articles, exhibited, and participated widely in the philatelic community.
A native of Washington, D.C., Manning worked for the stamp dealer John Murray Bartels in 1898. When Bartels sold his business in 1901, Manning continued to work for the new owner, Hamilton F. Colman. While with Colman, Manning also worked as the philatelic secretary for former New Jersey Senator, Joseph Sherman Frelinghuysen and helped build his collection. As a result of her philatelic expertise, Manning was asked to assist the Smithsonian Institution in accessioning the Post Office Department collection which Postmaster General Frank Harris Hitchcock had transferred. Manning's philosophy that "it is better to generalize than specialize" determined the National Philatelic Collection's trajectory from the time she succeeded Joseph B. Leavy as Government Philatelist in 1922 until her retirement in 1951.
Throughout her life she received many honors, including being the first woman elected to office in the American Philatelic Society (vice president, 1935-1937). She was a charter member of the American Philatelic Congress and in 1936 received its award for service to philately. In 1938, Manning served on the committee that selected Elaine Rawlinson's design for the 1938 Presidential definitive series. According to her daughter-in-law Ruby Lee Robertson, Manning met numerous times at the White House with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fellow philatelist. She was a charter member of the board of directors of the privately-run National Philatelic Museum in Philadelphia and received its 1949 silver trophy for achievement in philately. Manning retired from the Smithsonian on January 31, 1951. The American Philatelic Society inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1990.
Also referred to as "Kate", Manning's personal collecting interests had a great range including mint and used stamps - U.S. and world, saved correspondence envelopes and postcards, greeting cards, poster labels (also known as Cinderellas), stamp exhibition souvenirs, special event covers for anniversaries and local events during her lifetime, first day covers, women on stamps, and especially the sources that inspired stamp designs.

Administration

Author
Cheryl Ganz, Chief Curator of Philately; Marvin Murray, Assistant Curator of Philately; Katie Burke, Museum Specialist in Philately; and Marilyn Barth, National Postal Museum Behind-the-Scenes volunteer worked on processing the collection and writing the finding aid. Edited by Mitch Toda, Head Archivist, October 2023-February 2024.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Ruby Lee Robertson, Catherine L. Manning's granddaughter-in-law, donated Manning's philatelic estate to the National Postal Museum from 2006 to 2008. The materials in this collection were separated out from the museum collections in January 2009 and remained with the Curatorial Department until October 2023 with their release to the NPM Archives.
Processing Information
The collection was sorted and organized in four phases. The materials were arranged at different periods of time by Cheryl Ganz, Chief Curator of Philately; Marvin Murray, Assistant Curator of Philately; Katie Burke, Museum Specialist in Philately; and Marilyn Barth, National Postal Museum Behind-the-Scenes volunteer. It's current arrangement was completed by Mitch Toda, Head Archivist, February 2024.

Digital Content

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Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access to original archival materials is by appointment only. Researchers must submit request for appointment in writing. Please direct reference inquiries to the National Postal Museum Archives: NPM_Archives@si.edu.
Preferred Citation
Catherine L. Manning Collection, NPMA.2023.1, National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
The National Postal Museum Archives makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use and the NPM Rights and Reproductions for additional information. Please direct reference inquiries to the National Postal Museum Archives: NPM_Archives@si.edu.

Keywords

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Museums -- Employees Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women museum curators Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stamp collecting Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stamp collectors Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manning, Catherine L. (Catherine Lemmon), 1881-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wetmore, Alexander, 1886-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sloane, George B. (George Benedict), 1898-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ellis, F. L. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bruns, Franklin R. (Franklin Richard), 1912-1979 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Belote, Theodore Thomas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Universal Postal Union Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Philatelic Congress Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Philatelic Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Philatelic Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Washington Philatelic Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia Women's Stamp Club Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women's International Stamp Club Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women's Philatelic Society of New York Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bureau Issues Association Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Philatelic Collection (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Leavy, Joseph B. (Joseph Britton), 1872-1921 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bartels, J. Murray (John Murray), 1871-1944 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Colman, Hamilton F. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Elaine, Rawlinson Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robertson, Ruby Lee Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hitchcock, Frank H. (Frank Harris), 1867-1935 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frelinghuysen, Joseph S. (Joseph Sherman), 1869-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

National Postal Museum Archives
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
NPM_Archives@si.edu