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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 7956-6131 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

7956-6131 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

Postcard dominated by a seal. Above seal are two shields in red, white, and blue with stars on either side of an eagle gripping two flags in its claws. Beneath the seal, in big black print: "The Nation's Choice". Short message on back, notifying the recipient that the sender and others were elsewhere when the recipient visited - "Why did you come last week?"

Image of 7956-6132 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

7956-6132 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "From Lincoln to Washington"

Main image on postcard is of a seal. Seal has a color drawing of W.J. Bryan in the center. His hands rest on two smaller color images of Fairview (left) and the White House (right). Above those two images are two oval portraits of Lincoln, (left) and Washington (right). Around the seal in black print: "From Lincoln to Washington" and it gives the date and "Bryan for President". Beneath the seal and curving to follow the seal edge is an additional caption: "The Nation's choice". Top of postcard has two American flags tied together to form bunting. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7956-6133 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

7956-6133 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

Patriot colored postcard featuring two black and white photographs of Bryan (on left) and Kern (right) in gold embossed frames with captions beneath identifying them and their candidacy. Center is an embossed image of an eagle in front of two US flags, sunrise, and a wreath. Title at the top: "the Nation's choice". Message on back written to sister, requests her to hang on to the card. Sent September 15, 1908.

Image of 7956-6134 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

7956-6134 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

Patriot colored postcard featuring two black and white photographs of Bryan (on left) and Kern (right) in gold embossed frames and captions beneath identifying them and their candidacy. Center is an embossed image of an eagle in front of two US flags, sunrise and a wreath. Title at the top: "The Nation's choice". Message on back writes about weather and uncertainty about a visit to see recipient of the postcard. Sent August 17, 1908.

Image of 7956-6135 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

7956-6135 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan/Kern; "The Nations Choice"

Postcard entitled "The Nation's Choice" in blue and red. White background with focus on two blue tinted photographs of W.J. Bryan (on left) and J.W. Kern (right). Gold frame around the photographs. Captions below each photo identifies the man and his candidacy. Between the photos is a gold wreath with two American flags, a bow, a shield, and a gold eagle flying above it. No message it was not circulated.

Image of 7957-26 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

7957-26 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Round, metal silver toned button with "W. J. Bryan/Hurrah" imprinted on the front.

Image of 7957-44 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan

7957-44 - Ribbon, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Ribbon featuring an image of William Jennings Bryan with the words "Our Next President" above the image and "W. J. Bryan" below. Above and below this is a border. All images and words are in blue on a tan background.

Image of 7964-72 - Coin, Commemorative; William Jennings Bryan

7964-72 - Coin, Commemorative; William Jennings Bryan

Obverse: Coin reads, "Free Silver, 1896" on the outside edge. In the center is "One Dam" Reverse: In the center is a donkey-headed goose with "P.O.D." on its body. Above and right of the goose are the words. "In Bryan with trust." On the outside edges are the words, "United States of America". Both sides have a raised rim. The outside edge is reeded.

Image of 8007-3 - Handkerchief; William Jennings Bryan

8007-3 - Handkerchief; William Jennings Bryan

White, semi-transparent handkerchief featuring a black and white image of William Jennings Bryan. The border features a dark blue, white, and light blue floral design on each corner and regularly repeated four times on each side. Inside of this is a solid dark blue line, a different repeated floral design, and three more spaced blue lines. This leaves a large white square in which is the image of Bryan.

Image of 8007-1 - Handkerchief; William Jennings Bryan

8007-1 - Handkerchief; William Jennings Bryan

White, semi-transparent handkerchief featuring a picture of William Jennings Bryan in the center. The outer border of the handkerchief has a repeating pattern of three dark blue stripes extending toward the center from the outer edge of the handkerchief. Each of the stripes has polka dots on it, the outer stripes three and the inner stripes four. Between each set of stripes and the one next to it are five light blue polka dots. Inside of the border is a design extending around the picture featuring circles and leaves alternating ( two circles, three leaves, two circles, etc.). This pattern also uses light and dark blue.

Image of 8024-232 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Star of the West"

8024-232 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Star of the West"

Front - white background, large paragraph - black print - of Star of West poem. "Star of the West" heading at top followed by a red star on the left and a black and white photo of Bryan sitting at a table to the right. Center is more type with Bryan's name, "USA", and the publishing company of the postcard. Then the poem in the center of the postcard. Back - short message detailing visit with mother and lunch. Sent November 12.

Image of 8178-1 - Table, Elephant Carvings; Made in India

8178-1 - Table, Elephant Carvings; Made in India

Elaborately carved walnut table with elephant heads w/ tusks carved into the legs. The top is round and about 28" in diameter. The center is solid wood, and the outer 5.5" are carved, primarily with floral motifs. There are also four figures, possibly Hindi gods. There is a crosspiece on the underside of the top for support. The table has four legs that are carved into the shape of elephant heads. Their tusks are made of ivory. The elephant heads are also decorated with carved floral motifs. The trunks curve upward at the feet of the table. A jug shaped carving rests on the top of each trunk. There is a crosspiece between the legs. Four carved snakes sit on the top of the cross piece.

Image of 8281-10 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Jugate, "Bryan and Kern"

8281-10 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; Jugate, "Bryan and Kern"

Jugate featuring colored photographic portraits of Bryan and his running mate Kern.

Image of 8245-4 [dup2] - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

8245-4 [dup2] - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Black and white photographic portrait of William Jennings Bryan. Portrait is surrounded by a gold ornate border and a red, white and blue American flag motif on the bottom.

Image of 8281-9 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; University of Nebrsaka Bryan Club

8281-9 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; University of Nebrsaka Bryan Club

Round brown and white button with a sepia toned photographic portrait of Bryan. Above and below the portrait, printed in white, is "U. of N. Bryan Club."

Image of 8298-1 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

8298-1 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Celluloid disc set in a metal frame with a decorative metal border. The disc is off-white and features a copy of an illustrated portrait of Bryan. Above and below the portrait is "Victory 1896/W.J. Bryan" printed in red.

Image of 8300-37 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

8300-37 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Sepia toned photographic portrait of Bryan.

Image of 8306-1 - Pin, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "16 To 1"

8306-1 - Pin, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "16 To 1"

Stick pin that is like a balance scale. On the left side is a large medallion with "16" on it representing silver. On the right side is a smaller medallion with a "1" on it representing gold. The scale is balanced.

Image of 8309-16 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "I Gave My Dollar Did You"

8309-16 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan; "I Gave My Dollar Did You"

"I Gave My Dollar Did You" with black and white photo of William Jennings Bryan in center.

Image of 8405-1 - Fob; William Jennings Bryan; "To the White House"

8405-1 - Fob; William Jennings Bryan; "To the White House"

Brass shield with eagle at the top. Bottom has "To the White House. Wm. J. Bryan. 1908"