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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 7956-6109 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6109 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Front dominated by two large portraits of W.J. Bryan (left) and J.W. Kern (right). Oval portraits, shoulders up. Above each portrait is print that identifies their candidacy and below, their names. Sepia tones. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7956-6110 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6110 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Front: main image is a drawing with color of the Denver Auditorium with people, carriages, and cars around. Above the auditorium are two photos in black and white ovals - left Bryan and right Kern. Between the two in black print: "Denver Auditorium - where/ Democratic Candidates were/ Nominated, July 9-10, 1908". Beneath the two photos are their names. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7956-6111 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6111 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Front: main image is a drawing with color of the Denver Auditorium with people, carriages and cars around. Above the auditorium are two photos in black and white ovals - left Bryan and right Kern. Between the two in black print: "Denver Auditorium - where / Democratic Candidates were/ Nominated, July 9-10, 1908." Beneath the two photos are their names. Message on back asks after the receiver's health. Sent September 1, 1908.

Image of 7956-6113 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft; "Four More Years"

7956-6113 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft; "Four More Years"

Full color cartoon featuring Taft, with real photo head, on an elephant kicking Bryan, with real photo head, and a donkey with "Democrat" in white over its belly. Off the white House steps as Uncle Sam looks on. Caption at bottom right in red, reads: 'Four Years More". Upper right identifies the presidential race in black print. Short message on back: "Here's to Billy." Sent September 20, 1908.

Image of 7956-6114 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Be a Booster for Bryan"

7956-6114 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Be a Booster for Bryan"

Blue background with white profile of Bryan in lower left corner. White print down center: "Be a/Booster / For/ Bryan." Message on back relates successful news of an operation and the sender writes about seeing Taft since they were in town. Sent October 2, 1908.

Image of 7956-6115 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Star of the West

7956-6115 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Star of the West

Front: Main image is a pencil drawing of W.J. Bryan standing in front of a Hall and mountains, holding a briefcase and the lead rope to a donkey. The donkey says: "On to Washington". A red star is placed between the donkey and Bryan. Beneath Bryan's feet is his name printed in bold black lettering. Bottom of the drawing is the copyright. Short message on the front - mentioning the sender couldn't get away. Back message expresses sorry the postcard recipient was not at a party of the senders. Sent October 1, 1908.

Image of 7956-6116 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Give Us Roosevelt or Give Us Taft"

7956-6116 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Give Us Roosevelt or Give Us Taft"

Red and white striped background. Foreground features two blue tinted photographs of T Roosevelt and W. Taft. Photos adorned with shields, stars, and banners bearing their names. Political slogan plays off of Patrick Henry's famous words: "Give / Us [banner] Roosevelt / or Give/ Us [banner] Taft". Caption beneath sends apologies to Henry and W.J. Bryan. Message writes of travel plans and visiting. Sent August 28, 1908.

Image of 7956-6117 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Convention Hall, Denver

7956-6117 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Convention Hall, Denver

Black and white image of the Colorado Convention Hall. Exterior shot, it includes people walking around it and buildings in the background. A red, white and blue flag sits atop the dome. The flag waves around a shield with W.J. Bryan's face on it in the upper right corner. Caption along bottom identifies the location and special event. Hand written note in the left corner: "From a / Denver Girl." Message on back writes about seeing the recipient's name in the paper and hopes about Denver. Sent October 1, 1908.

Image of 7956-6118 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "A Clean Sweep for Democracy in 1908"

7956-6118 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "A Clean Sweep for Democracy in 1908"

Postcard focuses on a blue and hot pink button. Button is blue with two blue tinted photographs of W.J. Bryan and J.W. Kern. Both are circles with real frames in front of a pink broom. "Bryan and Kern" in hot pink across the bottom of the button. Blue captions around the button play off the broom: "A Clean sweep/ (button) / For Democracy / in 1908."

Image of 7956-6119 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "First in the Hearts of the Countrymen"

7956-6119 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "First in the Hearts of the Countrymen"

White background with focus on a US flag colored shield. Center of shield is an oval black and white photo of W.J. Bryan. Behind the oval is a leaf. Captioned on the shield: "First in the hearts / of his/ countrymen." Caption at bottom of postcard names Bryan "The Great Commoner" and a quote about his principals. Message writes about mother feeling too tired to write and sends her hello. Also writes about canning. Sent September 18, 1908.

Image of 7956-6120 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6120 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Front dominated by two black and white photographs of W.J. Bryan (on left) and J.W. Kern (on right). Photos are circles with gold and red frames. Postcard header identifies the presidential race on a blue banner. Two flags wave on either side of the photos and a blue ribbon creates a border. An eagle sits between the photos. Beneath each photo is a brief paragraph about the picture's life and political career. Message on back is a poem about Bryan losing the race and cheering for Taft. Sent November 4, 1908.

Image of 7956-6121 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; White House

7956-6121 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; White House

Front: Background is a view of the White House - full color drawing. Sticking out of the lawn is a large US flag waving in the wind. Upper right corner is a shield with a color photo of W.J. Bryan on it, His name is captioned in white on the lower left corner of the photo. In gold at the bottom of the postcard: "White House - Washington -D-C" Message writes asking about costs of moving versus paying rent and a notice on the length between hearing from the recipient. Sent September 18, 1911.

Image of 7956-6122 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Bryan Is My Choice"

7956-6122 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Bryan Is My Choice"

Background a colored sketch of the US flag. Center of postcard is a green felt pennant with a black profile of Bryan followed by "Bryan / is my choice" in black. Message notifies travel plans and writes of the new baby.

Image of 7956-6123 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "Our Choice"

7956-6123 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "Our Choice"

Embossed postcard - focus on two black and white photographs in gold oval frames. Photos are of W.J. Bryan (left) and J.W. Kern (right) with white captions that identify the man and his candidacy. Portraits form a slight "v". Behind the photos is a large US flag. Beneath the photos is a gold eagle perched on a US flag colored shield in front of three arrows with blue and white starred coloring hanging off them. Captioned at the bottom in gold: "Our choice". Gold bell chain forms border. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7956-6124 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "Democratic Straight Ticket"

7956-6124 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "Democratic Straight Ticket"

Front focuses on a ticket that lists the Democratic Party's platform. Adorning the ticket at the top is a drawing of an eagle, two flags, and two black and white photographs of Bryan (left of ticket) and Kern (right of ticket). Colored in blue, red, white and black. No message - sent August 20, 1908.

Image of 7956-6126 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6126 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Postcard features an embossed banner, gold, with a net like appearance. In front of the banner is a shield with a US flag theme. In front of the banner are two black and white photographs of W.J. Bryan (on left) and J.W. Kern (Right). Photos in oval gold frames with gold candidacy banners beneath the photos. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7956-6127 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

7956-6127 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern

Embossed postcard. Main image is of a gold banner. On the banner are two oval, gold framed, black and white photographs of W.J. Bryan (on left) and J.W. Kern (on right). Hanging over and between the photos are two American flags. Between the photos is a single gold star. Beneath the photos are two gold banners naming their candidacy. Short message "Hurrah / For/ Bryan". Sent October 22, 1908.

Image of 7956-6128 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "The Man Who Made Lincoln Nebraska Famous"

7956-6128 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "The Man Who Made Lincoln Nebraska Famous"

Red and white strip pattern background with two portraits. One of W.J. Bryan and the other of President Abraham Lincoln. Blue tinted, slogan between the portraits: "The Man/ Who made/ Lincoln/ Nebraska / Famous" Copyright in lower right corner. Back has message detailing an arrival and well wishes to family at home.

Image of 7956-6129 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "The Man Who Made Lincoln Nebraska Famous"

7956-6129 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "The Man Who Made Lincoln Nebraska Famous"

Red and white striped background with two blue tinted portraits - one of W.J. Bryan and one of Abraham Lincoln. Slogan between the portraits: "The Man/ Who made/ Lincoln / Nebraska / Famous". Copyright in the lower right corner. Back is blank - panels for message and address left blank.

Image of 7956-6130 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

7956-6130 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

Red, white, and blue stripes pinwheel out from the center - behind a white seal with a drawing of W.J. Bryan. To the left of Bryan is a small portrait of Lincoln above Bryan's Fairview home. To the right is a portrait of Washington above the White House. Around the seal, in black print: "From Lincoln to Washington / William Jennings Bryan for President". "1908" is split by W.J. Bryan's feet. No message on back, postcard was not circulated.