Frederick Feikema Manfred was born in 1912 outside Doon, Iowa. He was an outstanding baseball pitcher in high school, and dreamed of a professional career. Two years after graduating from high school he enrolled in Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1937, he took a job as a sports writer for the Minneapolis Journal, but his activism as a union organizer cost him his job. After a bout with tuberculosis, Manfred worked as an assistant campaign manager for Hubert Humphrey in his successful run for mayor of Minneapolis. His literary career began when he received a writing fellowship from the University of Minnesota in 1944.
Manfred set his novels along the South Dakota-Minnesota border. He wrote from his own experience, and many of his characters were autobiographical. Publishing under the names of Feike Feikema and Frederick Manfred, he had a long and successful literary career. His most successful novel, Lord Grizzly, was published in 1954.
His home in Rock County MN has been transformed into the interpretive center for Blue Mounds State Park.