Frank Addison Manny was a progressive educator who believed in applying "an attitude of inquiry" to the classroom. Manny explored the philosophical, psychological, and moral dimensions of pedagogy and learning. As a critic of standardization, he was interested in the practical benefits of experimental education and in adapting industrial education to workers' concerns.
Born in Mounds, Illinois on June 24, 1868, Manny was raised in Michigan City, Indiana. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1893 and, in 1896, a Master of Arts. On June 24, 1904, Manny married Annette Sawyer. He died in 1954.
Manny held several positions during the course of his career as a teacher and trainer of teachers. Manny was hired as a high school principal in Moline, Illinois in 1894. During his two years there, he established an extension program for the education of factory workers. From 1896 to 1897, Manny worked at the University of Chicago as an assistant in pedagogy to Professor John Dewey, a philosopher and educational theorist whose writings had an impact on educational reform internationally. In Chicago, Manny studied the university's Experimental School whose classrooms, according to Dewey's principles, broke with formal curricula and attempted to relate ideas to practical life.
During the academic year starting in the fall of 1897, Manny was the supervisor of public schools in Indianapolis, Indiana. Then, from 1998 to 1900, he headed Wisconsin's State Normal School, based in Oshkosh. He subsequently moved to New York City where, for six years, he was superintendent of the Felix Adler School of Ethical Culture.
Returning to Michigan in 1908, Manny headed the education and extension departments of Western State Normal School in Kalamazoo until 1911. He also directed and taught at the Allegany County (Maryland) Teachers' Continuation School from 1909 to 1911. Settling permanently in the East, Manny became the director of teacher training for the city of Baltimore (1911 to 1915).
In 1915, Manny directed his interests to the effects of malnutrition. For three years, he studied and reported upon the nutrition of children and families for the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor in New York City. He subsequently did similar work in Boston in collaboration with Dr. William R.P. Emerson.
During his professional life, Manny contributed articles to educational journals and magazines that addressed social topics. He briefly contracted with the United States Bureau of Education, for which he wrote a brochure, City Training Schools for Teachers (1914). Manny lectured widely about education issues as well as such topics as his support of women's suffrage, the importance of inspecting private and parochial schools, and the effectiveness of curfews. Manny also wrote dozens of poems, some of which were published.
Manny did extensive research into the folklore and genealogy of the people of Boxford, Massachusetts, the small town in which he and his wife settled. Many of Manny's findings and musings about this community were published in his North Shore Breeze columns. He also authored Boxfordians in 1923, Boxford Genealogies in 1926, and Time Will Tell--A Tercentenary Pageant in 1930.
Manny was active in a number of social and professional organizations, among them the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Child Welfare League in New York; Committee on Training for Social Service; Just Government League; Men's League for Women's Suffrage; National Education Association; NAACP; Phi Beta Kappa; Prisoners' Aid Society; School Arts League; Social Workers' Bureau; Society for Ethical Culture; and the YMCA Educational Committee. Manny also served on the editorial board of the Atlantic Educational Journal and the advisory boards for the Journal of Educational Psychology and the School Journal.