BRYAN, William Jennings, (1860 - 1925)

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

BRYAN, William Jennings, (father of Ruth Bryan Owen), a Representative from Nebraska; born in Salem, Marion County, Ill., March 19, 1860; attended the public schools and Whipple Academy, Jacksonville, Ill.; was graduated from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill., in 1881; studied law at Union College in Chicago; was graduated in 1883 and commenced practice at Jacksonville, Ill., in 1883; moved to Lincoln, Nebr., in 1887 and continued the practice of law; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses (March 4, 1891-March 3, 1895); declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1894; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1894; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1896, 1904, 1912, 1920, and 1924; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for President in 1896, 1900, and 1908; was endorsed by the Populist and Silver Republican Parties in the first and second campaigns; during the Spanish-American War raised the Third Regiment, Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, in May 1898 and was commissioned colonel; established a newspaper, “The Commoner,” at Lincoln, Nebr., in 1901; engaged in editorial writing and delivering Chautauqua lectures; Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Wilson and served from March 4, 1913, until June 9, 1915, when he resigned; resumed his former pursuits of lecturing and writing; established his home in Miami, Fla., in 1921; died while attending court in Dayton, Tenn., July 26, 1925; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.


Bryan, William Jennings, and Mary Baird Bryan. Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan, by Himself and his Wife. 2 vols. 1925. Reprint. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1971; Kazin, Michael. A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan.. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006; ; Koenig, Louis W. Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan. New York: Putnam, 1971.