Basil Manly and his love of new books

I have been reading as many of the primary sources from the hand of Basil Manly, Jr. (1825-1892) in recent days as I can, as well as key secondary sources. Manly was a keen reader, like the other founders of Southern Seminary. At one point, just before the Civil War, he became concerned that the coming war might produce a shortage of new books. Some might think this sounds petty in such circumstances—but not me! I love new books and can fully sympathize.

Manly, though, was able to poke fun at his fears. “What shall we do without new books?” he wrote to his parents (his father, Basil Manly, Sr., one of the most significant ante-bellum Southern Baptist pastors, was also a lover of books), and then answered his own question: “Read those we have, I suppose”!

[Basil Manly, Jr., Letter to Parents, March 8, 1861, cited James M. Manley, “The Southern Baptist Mind in Transition: A Life of Basil Manly, Jr., 1825-1892” (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, 1999), 170].