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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 10880-1-2 - Invitation; William Jennings Bryan

10880-1-2 - Invitation; William Jennings Bryan

An invitation to have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. William Jennings Bryan. Black text on white card.

Image of 11055-100 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Honorable Wm. J. Bryan"

11055-100 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Honorable Wm. J. Bryan"

Large image of W.J. Bryan, tan tones, beneath image "Hon. Wm J. Bryan". Bryan sitting in front of windows. Written message across bottom of postcard - reassuring Bryan's election. Back has long message - details life, work and the return trip after a visit.

Image of 11055-1309 - Token, Commemorative; William Jennings Bryan; Bryan Money

11055-1309 - Token, Commemorative; William Jennings Bryan; Bryan Money

Obverse: "A Government dollar contains 412.5 grains coin silver 900/1000 Fine. This piece contains 870 grains coin silver. In value the equivalent of one gold dollar, July 4th 1900. Gorham MFG. CO., Silversmiths." (All in ten lines) Reverse: Has the same explanation as the obv. side, but arranged around the top lower portion has a wagon wheel to demonstrate the size of the issued government coin.

Image of 11055-1694 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1694 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon, Cover and center spread cartoon. Judge. Picture is of a dinning room with a butler about to cut into a ball of food with the name Bryan, Sewall, and Free Silver Popocrats, or he will cut into the Sound Money Democrats, Palmer, and Buckner. The bottom says "A REGULAR PUDDING."

Image of 11055-1695 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1695 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon, the Democratic What-Is-It, Aug. 22, 1896 . The picture is of William Jennings Bryan holding his crown of thorns looking at a no headed donkey. One end says anarchy and the other end says populism.

Image of 11055-1699 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan

11055-1699 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan

Postcard booklet, Bryan, the Great Commoner Photograph set - same as 11278-4 - with a cover. Cover has a black and white photo of W.J. Bryan in upper left corner. Postcard has his name and "The Great Commoner" printed on it. Some sort of band adhesive wraps around the booklet. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 11055-1708 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1708 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon, Cover and inside spread cartoon. "Judge." The picture is of Uncle Sam looking at a bunch of beached fish. The fish have the names of different Democrats and Populist candidates.

Image of 11055-1709 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1709 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

"Judge." The picture is of William Jennings Bryan fishing. His bobber is orange and yellow and says "ANARCHY." His bait is a 53 cent dollar.

Image of 11055-1710 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1710 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon, Cover and center spread cartoon depicting Bryan as a some kind of demon.

Image of 11055-1738 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1738 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

"Judge." The cover shows a young looking William Jennings Bryan wearing a blue sailor outfit. The ship that he is on is on fire. Below him are the words "SILVER PLATFORM." The flames have the words "REPUDIATION, ANARCHY AND POPULISM." Below the picture it says "THE BOY STANDS ON THE BURNING DECK, WHENCE ALL BUT HIM HAVE FLED."

Image of 11055-1739 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1739 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

"Judge." The picture is of Uncle Sam looking through a telescope. He is looking at a comet that says "BRYAN 53 cent dollar." Behind that it says "GAS." At the bottom of the picture is says "ONLY A COMET. UNCLE SAM- "It will soon be out of sight."

Image of 11055-1740 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1740 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon, Cover and inside center spread cartoon 'The Deluge." Judge. Picture of a wheat grain laying on top of William Jennings Byran. Sign behind him says "SINCE JULY WHEAT HAS RISEN 30 CENTS PER BUSHEL AND IS RISING STEADILY." Below the picture it says 'THE LAST STRAW."

Image of 11055-1742 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1742 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

"Judge." Picture of Uncle Sam wearing a crown of thorns. The thorns have the names and faces of different Democratic and Populist Party members. Below the picture it says "UNCLE SAM'S CROWN OF THORNS."

Image of 11055-1744 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1744 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoons, Cover & Inside Cover: Cartoon of Cleveland sitting on top of Bryan. The title at the bottom is "Disorderly: The only good act of the Cleveland Administration."

Image of 11055-1745 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1745 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoons, Cover & Inside. Judge. Picture is of William Jennings Bryan as a baby. He is looking at a butterfly. "LITTLE BILLY BRYAN CHASING BUTTERFLIES."

Image of 11055-1831 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1831 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Cartoon image of a man in a yellow robe in an alley. Political signs and slogans all around him.

Image of 11055-1832 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1832 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Cartoon images of a group of men surrounding a man dressed in yellow and featuring Bryan as an elf.

Image of 11055-1943 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

11055-1943 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Judge

Bryan Cartoon on Cover and Centerfold (Forbear!). The image on the front has Bryan holding a cross, a crown of thorns and stepping on a Bible. The image labels him the Sacrilegious Candidate.

Image of 11055-1972 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1972 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

Large envelope with faint stripes and large cursive faded writing across the front reading "Wm. Jennings Bryan." The return address reads "Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute, Bryan Memorial Hospital, Lincoln, NE." April 15, 1994. At the top proper left is a $2 William Jennings Bryan stamp.

Image of 11055-1973 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1973 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

Large envelope with faint stripes and large cursive faded writing across the front reading "Wm. Jennings Bryan." The return address reads "Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute, Bryan Memorial Hospital, Lincoln, NE." April 15, 1994. At the top proper left is a $2 William Jennings Bryan stamp.