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Person Record

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Name Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925
Born 1860 Mar 19
Birthplace Salem, Marion, Illinois
Father Silas Lillard Bryan
Mother Maria Elizabeth Jennings
Notes William Jennings Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois on March 19, 1860. He attended public school in Salem until the age of 15 when he entered Whipple Academy at Jacksonville, Illinois. Bryan was active in debate and declamatory oration and the valedictory address. He had become interested in politics in his later years at college, and remained active after entering law practices with a Jacksonville firm in 1883. In 1887 he was persuaded to move to Lincoln, Nebraska and enter practice with A.R. Talbot. In Nebraska he immediately became active with the activities of the Democratic Party, and was a delegate to the state Democratic convention in 1888. He was elected to Congress, serving from 1891-1895, having failed in his bid for a Senate seat in 1894.

During this period, Bryan was a leader of the silver coinage forces, and it was at the Democratic National Convention in 1896 when he made his famous "Cross of Gold" speech. Supported by the rising Populist Party, the "Boy Orator of the Platte" began his campaign for the presidency in which he was three times a candidate and three times defeated (1896, 1900, 1908). He remained a leader of the Democratic party and in 1912 led the movement that named Woodrow Wilson to be the Democratic candidate. Upon his election, Wilson made Bryan his Secretary of State. In this capacity Bryan campaigned for peace, negotiating treaties with thirty other nations. When he saw that the United States was about to enter the war, he resigned his post.

Bryan was a great showman and had a command of oratory which enabled him to hold his mid-western audiences spellbound. A true humanitarian with deep religious convictions and a dedicated advocate of temperance, he was always a champion of the common people. He was an editor, establishing the newspaper The Commoner at Lincoln; and an author. Bryan lived his last years in Miami, Florida, and died while attending court at Dayton, Tennessee in July 1925.
Role Political
Spouse Mary Elizabeth Baird
Children Grace Bryan
William Jennings Bryan, Jr.
Ruth Bryan
Deceased 1925 July 26
Deceased where Dayton, Rhea, Tennessee

Associated Records

Image of 4008-2 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan;  Bryan Club

4008-2 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan; Bryan Club

The badge has a silver pin bar of she top that reads, "Nebraska." The blue ribbon has a picture of Bryan attached in the middle. Printed on the ribbon are: "Byran Club, 16 to 1, 1896. The 1 is gold, the other words and silver" at the bottom and metal tassels. COLORS: blue, cream

Image of 4008-21 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan

4008-21 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan

This pin bar reads "Souvenir 1908, Campaign Contribution Home Country" Below the pin bar is an American flag ribbon that has a metal medallion, circular, connected to it by a small ring. On the front of the medallion is an engraved portrait of William Jennings Bryan. On the back is an engraved picture of Bryan's home "Fairview, Lincoln, NEB." COLORS: red, white, and blue.

Image of 4008-35 - Badge, Bryan; NE Traveling Mens Bryan Club, Flag Bow

4008-35 - Badge, Bryan; NE Traveling Mens Bryan Club, Flag Bow

NE Traveling Mens Club, Dec 30, 1898. This badge has two parts. The top part is an American flag bow. At the bottom middle of the bow is a ring that connects a hanging circular metal button with Bryan's picture. Around the picture is: "Nebraska traveling men's Byan club." COLORS: red, white, blue

Image of 4008-7 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4008-7 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Color tinted portrait of WJ Bryan with light blue background, Colors: white, black, blue, red

Image of 4009-37 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4009-37 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

"1900 Democracy Stands for Bimetalism not Monometalism People Not Trusts Republic Not Empire" Clover Shape, Green and Red Enamel

Image of 4027 - Button, I Am a Sound Money Democrat

4027 - Button, I Am a Sound Money Democrat

"I Am a Sound Money Democrat" Off-white, red

Image of 4123-2-(1) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4123-2-(1) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Sepia photo portrait of William Jennings Bryan

Image of 4116 - Ribbon; William Jennings Bryan

4116 - Ribbon; William Jennings Bryan

This white ribbon has black lettering and images. At the top is an image of The American flag. Then are words, "Bryan, 1900" There is another image at the bottom.

Image of 4119-13 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Free Silver

4119-13 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Free Silver

Red ribbon with a red, white and blue bow at the top. Printed in Silver is:"Patriotism/Free Silver/Prosperity/ Wm. J. Bryan." Has a photographic image of Bryan facing right, wearing jacket and bow tie.

Image of 4119-18 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan

4119-18 - Badge; William Jennings Bryan

A celluloid button with Bryan's photo. Attached below the button is a purple ribbon with gold letters that reads, "Reception notification W.J. Bryan Aug. 12, 1908."

Image of 4119-22-(1) - Badge, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska Traveling Mens Bryan Club

4119-22-(1) - Badge, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska Traveling Mens Bryan Club

A button with William Jennings Bryan's image is connected to the top 1/3 of grey silk ribbon. On top of the ribbon is a silver pin bar. On the bottom 2/3 of the ribbon is silver writing reading, "Nebraska Traveling Men's Club, December 30, 1898"

Image of 4119-22-(2) - Badge; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska Traveling Mens Club

4119-22-(2) - Badge; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska Traveling Mens Club

A button with Willing Jennings Bryan's image is connects to the top 1/3 of grey silk ribbon, Atop the ribbon is a silver pin bar. On the bottom 2/3 of the ribbon is silver writing reading, "Nebraska Traveling Men's Club, December 30, 1898."

Image of 4119-22-(3) - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "Bryan Club"

4119-22-(3) - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "Bryan Club"

Ribbon featuring a circular sepia photograph of William Jennings Bryan at the top surrounded by a circular design vaguely resembling a sunflower. Below, the biege (perhaps formerly gold, silk?) ribbon reads, in silver lettering, "The Nebraska Traveling Men's Bryan Club National Convention Kansas City, July 4, 1900." The ribbon has a darker biege or brown border and fringe at the bottom. There is a large metal pin on the back of the ribbon without any safety device.

Image of 4119-23 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4119-23 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Black and white photo portrail of William Jennings Bryan with the text, "William J. Bryan" "Our Next President"

Image of 4119-29 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska 16 to 1

4119-29 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Nebraska 16 to 1

Nebraska 16 to 1 Blue Letters, Star in Center

Image of 4119-8 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan/Towne

4119-8 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan/Towne

Red ribbon with the words, "Bryan and Towne" in black. There is a black border above the words.

Image of 4122 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4122 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Photographic portrait of Bryan with a red, white and blue ribbon on the back.

Image of 4123-2-(2) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4123-2-(2) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan's Head is Pictured in Safe. Above his head, it says, "Commoner" and below, "Guarantee Bank Deposits." American flag pattern as border. Colors: black, white, red, blue

Image of 4123-2-(3) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4123-2-(3) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Off-white button with a black copy of an engraving of Bryan in profile.

Image of 4123-2-(4) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

4123-2-(4) - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Colored photo portrait of William Jennings Bryan.