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History of Phineas T. Manbottle and The Manbottle Library

The "Phineas T. Manbottle Library of Arcane Knowledge and Questionable Humor" began as the private collection of that famous English explorer, inventor, musician, and soldier Major General Phineas T. Manbottle (1836 - 1902). In his lifetime he traveled extensively throughout India, Outer Mongolia, and the African Sub-Continent, collecting various bits of unusual knowledge along the way. His life was devoted to an unending search for knowledge, and in many ways he was the very model of a modern major general. He also had an unquenchable passion for both questionable humor and scotch whiskey, and he was never found without an abundant supply of either. Legend has it that when he returned to England he spent many nights entertaining Queen Victoria herself by sharing more than a few glasses of fine scotch along with a variety of ribald jokes, offensive limericks, and other bits of off-color humor.

After retiring from service to her majesty's royal army in 1893, Phineas T. Manbottle opened his collection to the public for the first time. As the library's first librarian/curator, he devoted the remaining days of his life to the care and maintenance of the library and its collection. Upon Manbottle's death in the early winter of 1902, King Edward VII saw to the establishment of the Friends of P. T. Manbottle Foundation to oversee the operation of the library in perpetuity. In 1932 the Friends of P. T. Manbottle Foundation established the Manbottle Society, open to anyone in the world interested in contributing items of arcane knowledge or questionable humor to further expand the library's collection. Members of the Manbottle Society enjoy unlimited access to the library's entire collection for life.

Today the Manbottle Library contains one of the largest collections of arcane knowledge in the known world, second only to the Smithsonian. In addition it manages a very extensive and constantly growing collection of questionable humor from around the world. Through the use of e-mail, the humor collection has grown in size more than 15,000% since 1995 (although many items in the collection admittedly are in fact duplicates). The library also maintains the world's only collection of rare and unusual scotch whiskey bottles from all five continents. To this day the Manbottle library is still housed in the old Manbottle Family Manor located in picturesque Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, just east of Brighton, about two hours drive from London. It is open to the public daily (except Tuesday). In the very near future visitors will be able to tour the entire Manbottle collection on the world wide web.

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