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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 11055-1974 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1974 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

Plain white envelope with "Fairview Grand Opening Station, Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute, April 15, 1994, Lincoln, Nebraska." stamped with black in the top proper left corner. There is also a $2 stamp with William Jennings Bryan.

Image of 11055-1975 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1975 - Envelope, Fairview Grand Opening

Plain white envelope with "Fairview Grand Opening Station, Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute, April 15, 1994, Lincoln, Nebraska." stamped with black in the top proper left corner. There is also a $2 stamp with William Jennings Bryan.

Image of 11055-1976 - Program, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1976 - Program, Fairview Grand Opening

Program for the Fairview Opening Celebration for Wm. Jennings Bryan Institution. One fold with red, pink and orange marbling at the bottom. The program is written in black cursive and lists the information and schedule.

Image of 11055-1977 - Program, Fairview Grand Opening

11055-1977 - Program, Fairview Grand Opening

Program for the Fairview Opening Celebration for Wm. Jennings Bryan Institution. One fold with red, pink and orange marbling at the bottom. The program is written in black cursive and lists the information and schedule.

Image of 11055-1978 - Invitation, Wm Institute

11055-1978 - Invitation, Wm Institute

Invitation with a light gray cover with gold thread binding. The cover reads "Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute" in raised letters. Inside is the event information in black cursive written on white paper.

Image of 11055-1979 - Program, Bioethics Conference

11055-1979 - Program, Bioethics Conference

Program with a burgundy cover bound with gold thread. The cover reads "Wm. Jennings Bryan Institute" in raised letters. Inside are colorful pictures and photographs with information about the institute.

Image of 11055-2103 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Judge

11055-2103 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Judge

Image of a man chained to a giant stone head of Bryan. Sign near man reads: "Sentenced to 12 more years of Defeat." Caption at the bottom of the image reads "Four more years to serve."

Image of 11055-2088 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Harpers Weekly

11055-2088 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Harpers Weekly

From a Harpers Weekly Supplement, a copy of a portrait of Bryan done by artist William Nicholson.

Image of 11055-2071-(1) - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Puck

11055-2071-(1) - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Puck

Puck magazine cover featuring a scale with Bryan on one side and McKinley on the other. McKinely weighs more and Bryan is depicted as being somewhat crazed and talking a lot. All of his words, coming out of his mouth on paper, are landing on McKinley's side of the scale. The caption reads, "Bryan is the ablest worker for sound money/The more he talks the more McKinley weighs."

Image of 11055-2073 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Puck

11055-2073 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Puck

Caricature of Bryan pouting water from a pitcher through a paper crown. Caption reads "The Bryan made crown, it won't hold water!"

Image of 11055-2077 - Magazine Page, Colliers, Sept. 15, 1906; The Peerless One Returns

11055-2077 - Magazine Page, Colliers, Sept. 15, 1906; The Peerless One Returns

The Peerless One Returns; Rectangular Paper, Sept. 15, 1906, Colliers, Pg. 12 Image: photographs of bryan after return from 8 month world tour COLORS: ink black. paper brown TECHNIQUE: printed, photographs

Image of 11055-2086 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Harpers Weekly

11055-2086 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Harpers Weekly

Page from Harpers Weekly featuring six black and white photographs of Bryan and his family at home.

Image of 11055-2098 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Leslies Weekly

11055-2098 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Leslies Weekly

Cover from Leslie's Weekly featuring an artistic rendering of Bryan at a flag draped podium about to speak to a crowd. Caption reads, in part, "Democratic Leaders Notable Welcome in New York"

Image of 11055-2100 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover of Leslies Illustrated Weekly

11055-2100 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover of Leslies Illustrated Weekly

Cover of Leslie's Weekly featuring a black and white photographic portrait of a smiling Bryan with the caption, "W. J. Bryan, Twice Defeated but Came up Smiling."

Image of 11055-2162 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Puck

11055-2162 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Puck

Color Puck cover featuring a Punch and Judy puppet show in a "Chautauqua Circuit" theater. Puck is represented by Bryan and has punched Judy out. Judy represents "Public Duties". Caption reads Punch and Judy.

Image of 11055-2163 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Puck

11055-2163 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Cover from Puck

Puck magazine cover with color artists rendering of Bryan as the characher Micawber from Dickens' novel David Copperfield. Caption reads "Micawber"

Image of 11055-2166 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Leslies Weekly

11055-2166 - Magazine; William Jennings Bryan; Page from Leslies Weekly

From Leslie's Weekly. Copy of black and white photograph of Bryan speaking to a crowd at Madison Square Garden. Caption reads,: "The Demonstration in Honor of W. J. Bryan at Madison Square Garden, New York. Only successful photograph taken of the scene in the spacious auditorium while Mr. Bryan was addressing an audience of 10,000 on the night of his return to New York from abroad."

Image of 11055-2228 - Card, Souvenir; William Jennings Bryan; "William Jennings Bryan for President"

11055-2228 - Card, Souvenir; William Jennings Bryan; "William Jennings Bryan for President"

A card in the form of train pick-up orders with printing on both sides. The front reads: "William Jennings Bryan for President of the United States. The Friend of Labor Against Trusts, Combines and Government by Injunction."

Image of 11055-2374 - Chair, Arm; Used for William Jennings Bryan portrait

11055-2374 - Chair, Arm; Used for William Jennings Bryan portrait

Dark stained wooden chair with "U" shaped back, contiguous arms and five slats in the back. The slats are elaborately carved in a curving floral pattern. The arms are carved with leaves and a geometric pattern. The upper back is carved with a double dragon pattern. The seat is horseshoe shaped with a geometric pattern carved into the front edge. Below the seat is an elaborately carved base. The legs are also carved with floral patterns.