Thursday, March 7, 2024

Somewhere out there: Unpublished stories by Ruth Manning-Sanders

Lay's Auctioneers in the United Kingdom had another high-price auction today involving material from the estate of Ruth Manning-Sanders. (I wrote about an earlier one in January 2023.) Tantalizingly, this one focused on Manning-Sanders' papers and, specifically, her unpublished stories! Boxes and boxes of unpublished stories. (Gasp!)

This was the official auction listing:
"A vast collection of folk stories and fairy tales in typescript.

A very large collection containing thousands of folk stories from around the world, almost all in typescript with graphite notes to titles showing origin, included in this important collection are unpublished works including the novel 'Fog in the Channel'.

"Ruth Manning-Sanders was best known for her collections of fairy tales and folktales from around the world. Her significance lies in her dedication to preserving and sharing traditional stories from various cultures. While some fairy tales were well-known and widely published, Manning-Sanders sought out and shared lesser-known stories. This helped shed light on narratives that might have been overlooked and ensured that a broader range of cultural traditions was represented in her collection at a time when the field of folklore and fairy tale collections was often dominated by male scholars. Manning-Sanders made a significant contribution as a female folklorist. Her work helped pave the way for a more inclusive representation of voices in the study and preservation of folklore.

"An important collection of folk and fairy stories.

"From the estate of the authors descendants."
So, we now know that Manning-Sanders wrote an unpublished novel titled Fog in the Channel. I wonder what decade it's from. Was this one of her novels for adults from her early writing days? Or one of her later juvenile novels? Perhaps the individual who won this lot will seek to have it published some day. I think it's also fair to hope that these papers and ephemera will eventually be housed in a research library. I'm glad they still exist, and I hope they continue to exist for future scholars.

Notes on these papers also serve to further emphasize the important role that Manning-Sanders' daughter, Joan Floyd, played in her mother's writing efforts. They truly seemed to be a two-person team in the creation of many of the folklore and fairy tale collections.

Here are some more of the Lay's Auctioneers photos from the auction preview, for posterity: