Manley Caldwell Butler was born June 2, 1925 in Roanoke, Virginia, where he lived most of his life until his death on July 28, 2014. Following service in the Navy in World War II, he received his A.B. from the University of Richmond in 1948 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 1950. Butler married June Nolde in 1950. This union produced four sons: Manley, Henry, James and Marshall.
Butler served as the City of Roanoke Representative in 1960-1961. In 1962 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He was elected Minority Leader in 1966, a position he held until 1972 when he was elected to the 92nd U.S. Congress from the 6th District of Virginia. Butler served the 6th District for a decade. While serving on the Judiciary Committee, Butler participated in the impeachment action against President Richard M. Nixon during the summer of 1974. In the aftermath of Nixon's resignation, Butler was involved in the confirmation hearings of Gerald R. Ford and Nelson Rockefeller to serve as President and Vice President respectively. Butler was a principal architect of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. He was also a member of the Committee on Government Operations. In retirement, Butler served on the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in the years 1995-1997.A partner in the firm of Woods, Rogers & Hazelgrove of Roanoke, Virginia from 1983-1998, Mr. Butler held memberships in the American Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, the Roanoke Bar Association, the American College of Bankruptcy, the Raven Society, the Order of the Coif, and the Board of Directors of Dominion Bank Shares Corp of Roanoke. He was also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute. His fraternal organization affiliations include Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Kappa Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Gamma Delta.
The M. Caldwell Butler Papers consist of approximately 96 cu. ft. of materials from 1925-2006. Most of the papers cover the periods 1972-1982 and 1995-1997. The papers are divided into seventeen series: June Nolde Butler papers; correspondence and subject files; military service; appointment calendars; campaigns; scrapbooks, clippings and photos; speeches; newsletters, press releases, radio reports and weekly reports; voting record; constituency correspondence; confirmation of Gerald R. Ford as Vice President; impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon; Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978; Legal Services Corporation; re-authorization of the Department of Justice for the Fiscal Year 1982; Voting Rights Act extension; the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, 1995-1997; and Artifacts, 1944-1998. With the exceptions of the first six series and National Bankruptcy Review Commission materials, these papers were generated during Butler's terms as U. S. Representative for the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, 1972 -1982 (93rd Congress - 97th Congress).
The only portions of these papers that have been digitized at this time are Butler's scrapbooks. They cover his campaigns for office and his service in public offices, both state and federal.