Bryan College’s Alice Mercer Humanities Room and Archives has received a gift from college friends Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Downing: an original set of 10 Edison two-minute wax cylinder phonograph records of William Jennings Bryan’s presidential campaign speeches, dating from 1908.
Also included in the donation is a vintage reel-to-reel tape recording of three speeches made by President Theodore Roosevelt during the same time period.
“It is our wish that the donation of these records be made to Bryan College as the most appropriate repository for these historical artifacts,” said Mr. and Mrs. Downing in their letter that accompanied the collection of records. They specified that the gift is made in honor of Bryan alumni James D. Prout Jr. ’92; Stephen E. Prout ’94; and Shelby (Beckett) Prout ’94; along with the donors’ own granddaughter, current Bryan sophomore Sarah Ann White.
Special Projects Librarian Connie Sanders commented, “This is a wonderful addition to our collection of William Jennings Bryan memorabilia.” She also expressed the school’s gratitude for the unique donation of recordings and hopes to place them on display in the future.