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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 RG3198.PH000031-000028 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000028 - Print, Photographic

William Jennings Bryan, sitting at his desk in his library, at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000029 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000029 - Print, Photographic

A room at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908, adorned with a variety of exotic furnishings.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000030 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000030 - Print, Photographic

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

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.PH000031-000032 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000032 - Print, Photographic

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

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000033 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000033 - Print, Photographic

A marble bust of William Jennings Bryan presented to him by the Democrats of Washington, D.C.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000034 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000034 - Print, Photographic

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

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000035 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000035 - Print, Photographic

The north west corner of the living room at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000036 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000036 - Print, Photographic

The north east corner of the living room at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000037 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000037 - Print, Photographic

William Jennings Bryan's study at Fairview, 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1908.

Image of RG3198.PH000031-000038 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000031-000038 - Print, Photographic

Fairview, the William Jennings Bryan house at 4900 Sumner Street, Lincoln, NE in 1906. In the foreground is a hay field littered with small haystacks.

Image of RG3198.PH000035-000004 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000035-000004 - Print, Photographic

An interior view of the Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut where Wm. Jennings Bryan was banqueted by the New England delegates.

Image of RG3198.PH000035-000005 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000035-000005 - Print, Photographic

Wm Jennings Bryan and his wife Mary, en route to New York City, in 1896. Two unidentified men are standing with the couple on the train.

Image of RG3198.PH000044-000002 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000044-000002 - Print, Photographic

William Jennings Bryan speaking to a crowd from the back of a railroad car.

Image of RG3198.PH000045-000003 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000045-000003 - Print, Photographic

This shows Fairview, home of William Jennings Bryan. A crowd is seen in front of the building. Several have umbrellas. People are seen on the porch of the building. It is identified as being the Fourth of July.

Image of RG3198.PH000045-000009 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000045-000009 - Print, Photographic

William Jennings Bryan and his running mate, John Kern, among the Democratic National Committee and guests. The men are standing on the steps in front of Fairview, Bryan's home.

Image of RG3198.PH000047-000006 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000047-000006 - Print, Photographic

A portrait of William Jennings Bryan.

Image of RG3198.PH000047-000007 - Print, Photographic

RG3198.PH000047-000007 - Print, Photographic

A portrait of William Jennings Bryan delivering a speech.