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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 9824-3 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

9824-3 - Button, Political; William Jennings Bryan

Round button with portrait of Bryan. Four stars above and below Bryan's portrait and four red and white stripes on the proper right side.

Image of 9857-559 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Denver Auditorium

9857-559 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; Denver Auditorium

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. Back no message, sent to "Miss Fay Sherwin/ Harvard / Nebraska" on September 8, 1908.

Image of 9932-1 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Our Choice"

9932-1 - Postcard; William Jennings Bryan; "Our Choice"

Cartoon drawing of W.J. Bryan, felt trim with black jacket, red waistcoat and tan pants. "Our Choice" in red print to the left of his head. No message on back - never circulated: panels for correspondence, and address, stamp block.

RG0802.PH - Collection, Photograph

Otto Klima was an avid postcard collector from Pilger, Nebraska. This collection consists of photographs related to Nebraska's people and places. This collection consists of negatives, glass plate negatives, and photographic prints, 1856-ca.1994, mostly ca.1900-1950s. Included are photographs from counties across Nebraska of street scenes and buildings, such as churches, libraries, schools, courthouses, post offices, museums, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. There are also images related to prominent persons, such as William Jennings Bryan and William Frederick Cody. Photographs of Native Americans and frontier figures and photographs related to the Wounded Knee Massacre and the

RG1013.PH - Collection, Photograph

This collection consists of material relating to the life, career, interests, and family of Julius Sterling Morton. Much of the material relates to his political and journalism careers. Many of the photographs in this collection are of government officials from the nineteenth century. Also included are photographs of Arbor Lodge and Morton family photographs, as well as family albums.

RG1903.PH - Collection, Photograph

Robert V. Muir was elected treasurer of the Nebraska Settlement Company and moved to Table Rock, Nebraska, in 1857. He became owner of a sawmill in 1858, and was involved in real estate around Brownville, where he built a house in 1870. He was also in the mercantile business and active in politics. He was a member of the Whig and Republican parties, and later the Prohibition Party. As the Prohibition candidate, he ran unsuccessfully for regent of the University of Nebraska and for governor. The collection relates to his business and political activities, especially social reform. Photographs include portraits and show people engaged in recreational activities. This collection consists of p

Image of RG1938.PH000008-000004 - Postcard

RG1938.PH000008-000004 - Postcard

A picture postcard with a portrait of Mr. & Mrs. William Jennings Bryan.

Image of RG2158.PH000004-000002 - Print, Photographic

RG2158.PH000004-000002 - Print, Photographic

This is a photo showing several people around and on road grading equipment. It is identified as being two blocks north of South Street on 48th. The house in the background is the William Jennings Bryan home. Also seen in the photo are telephone poles, grass and foliage, and the road being graded.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000031 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000031 - Print, Photographic

The dining room at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908.

Image of RG3198.PH000047-000007 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000047-000007 - Print, Photographic

A portrait of William Jennings Bryan delivering a speech.

Image of RG3198.PH000018-000010 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000018-000010 - Print, Photographic

A studio portrait of William Jennings Bryan.

RG3198.PH - Collection, Photograph

Approximately 740 photographs; This collection relates to the career and family life of William Jennings Bryan, a political figure and famous orator from Lincoln, Nebraska. This collection consists of photographic prints and negatives, 1860s-1960s and undated; mostly 1890s-1910s. There are numerous photographs of William Jennings Bryan, including photographs with his family and photographs related to his political career. Among these are photographs of Bryan's public speaking style; his acceptance of the 1908 Democratic nomination for President; of Bryan as Secretary of State; and his service during the Spanish-American War. Images of memorials to Bryan, including busts by Henry George, Jr

Image of RG3198.PH000001-000003 - Postcard, Picture

RG3198.PH000001-000003 - Postcard, Picture

This is a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Image of RG3198.PH000001-000008 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000001-000008 - Print, Photographic

This is a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, Lincoln, Nebraska. They are seated in chairs on the grass.

Image of RG3198.PH000003-000001 - Print, Albumen

RG3198.PH000003-000001 - Print, Albumen

This is a studio portrait of William Jennings Bryan and family.

Image of RG3198.PH000003-000001 - Print, Albumen

RG3198.PH000003-000001 - Print, Albumen

This is a studio portrait of William Jennings Bryan and family.

Image of RG3198.PH000016-000030 - Stereograph

RG3198.PH000016-000030 - Stereograph

A stereograph of William Jennings Bryan in his home library at Fairview, Lincoln, NE.

Image of RG3198.PH000017-000004 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000017-000004 - Print, Photographic

A studio portrait of William Jennings Bryan.

Image of RG3198.PH000025-000001 - Print, Albumen

RG3198.PH000025-000001 - Print, Albumen

This shows a threshing outfit at Fairview, home of William Jennings Bryan. The outfit was owned by E.J. Wetenkamp of Lincoln, Nebraska. It shows the house in the background, with the crew, thresher, horses and tractor in the foreground.

Image of RG3198.PH000027-000014 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000027-000014 - Print, Photographic

This shows Fairview, home of William Jennings Bryan. Another building and windmill can be seen in the background.