Louise Elizabeth Manny was born in Gilead, Maine on February 21st, 1890, the daughter of Charles DeGrass (or DeGraff) Manny and Minette Lee Harding. The family came to New Brunswick in 1893 when Charles took charge of the new R. Corry Clark spoolwork plant in Newcastle. Louise was educated at the St. Mary's and Harkins Academies there, as well as the Ladies College in Halifax. She graduated from McGill University, Montreal in 1913 with Honours in French and English. Captain of a women's basketball team for three years at McGill, Manny was also a ranking tennis and badminton player throughout much of her adult life. After a brief stint as teacher at the Halifax Ladies' College, Louise discovered that teaching was not her passion, and she returned home. Back in Newcastle she worked in the office of the spoolworks plant, ran an antique and rare book business, worked as a part-time insurance agent and took on several ambitious research projects. By 1946 she had produced two books: Miramichi Poet: Six Poems by Hedley Parker, which she edited, and Ships of Kent County, which she wrote.
In 1947, Lord Beaverbrook approached her to begin collecting folk songs, which she did concurrently with many other projects, including the establishment of the Old Manse Library in 1953, the creation of the Enclosure Provincial Park at Wilson's Point and restoration of the Newcastle Town Square in 1956, the inauguration of the annual Miramichi Folksong Festival in 1957, and the founding of the Miramichi Historical Society in 1959. She managed both the Old Manse Library and the Miramichi Folksong Festival until her retirement in 1967. By 1968, Manny had produced three more books: Ships of Miramichi (1960) Shipbuilding in Bathurst (1965), and Songs of Miramichi (1968). She received many honours for her work, including Honourary Doctor of Laws degrees from both the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University (1961), a merit award from the American Association for State and Local History (1966), and one of eleven Woman of the Century medals awarded by the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (1967).
Louise Manny never married. She died in Newcastle on August 17th, 1970.
For brief biographies of Dr. Louise E. Manny see:
Hamilton, W.D. Dictionary of Miramichi Biography. Privately Published. Printed by Keystone Printing & Lithographing Ltd. 1997.
Maine Folklife Center online at http://www.umaine.edu/folklife/women_folklorists5.htm
New Brunswick Museum Archives and Research Library Online Database: Louise Manny fonds.