Elsie Manville was born in 1922 in Philadelphia.
She studied at Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University with Boris Blai, Franklin Watkins, Rafael Sabatini, and Alexander Abels. She also worked with Leon Karp.
Her exhibits include those at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1948, 1949, 1951; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual in 1953 (receiving the Carol Beck Medal for Best Portrait and the Mary Smith Prize); Butler Institute of American Art in 1956 and 1957; Lehigh University, 1956 and 1957; Mary Washington College, 1956; Springville High School, Utah, 1957; Buck Hill Falls, 1957 and 1958; and Walker Art Center in 1958, among others.
She has had solo exhibits at the Kraushaar Galleries in 1958, 1966 and 1969, and at the Dallas Museum in 1957 and 1963. She received the Tyler Award from Tyler School of Fine Arts in 1948, 1950 and 1956.
Her work is in the collections of Lehigh University and Temple University.