Scope and arrangement
Collection consists of correspondence and other personal papers of various members of the Bryant family. Correspondence is with family members, friends and business associates and concerns pioneering and farming in Illinois and Kansas, Cullen Bryant's life as a West Point cadet, family affairs and finances, and discussions of politics, particularly slavery and the Civil War. Also, diaries, manuscript poems of John H. Bryant, land papers, photographs and other family memorabilia, and printed matter.
The Bryant family papers are arranged in three series:
- 2 boxes
- 1 box
Additions contain correspondence, manuscript poetry and essays, a diary, land deeds, photographs, newspaper clippings, and printed material. The vast majority of the papers belonged to John Howard Bryant and the family of his granddaughter, Kate Bryant McVay.
John H. Bryant's papers include 28 incoming letters, 1833-1901. Among them are 13 letters, 1836-1874, from his brother William Cullen Bryant; 7 letters, 1889-1897, from his close friend and biographer E. R. Brown, and letters from his uncle Ebenezer Snell, sister-in-law Frances F. Bryant and her daughter Julia S. Bryant (the wife and daughter of William Cullen Bryant); John Bigelow; William Jennings Bryan, and Charles Dudley Warner. William Cullen Bryant's letters relate details of family health and travels, discuss political news, his land in Illinois, and include disparaging remarks about New York City, transcendentalist poetry, and several newspapers. E. R. Brown's letters concern his farm and business, lectures he gave, J. H. Bryant's poetry, the gold standard, and his annoyance with organized religion, the Mafia, and temperance cranks.
Included also are holograph manuscripts of his poetry, several land deeds, other certificates and documents, and two letters to his grandson-in-law, William E. McVay. McVay was married to Bryant's granddaughter, Kate, the daughter of his youngest son, Elijah Wiswall Bryant, and his wife Laura Smith. The papers contain typescripts of three essays or lectures (circa 1903) by McVay, a letter to Kate Bryant from Spaulding Bartlett, and her high school report card, 1885.
Papers of other family members include an 1809 diary kept by Bryant's mother, Sarah Snell Bryant, a facsimile of a letter of his father Dr. Peter Bryant (1820), a photograph album and loose photographs of members of the extended Bryant family (including the McVay, Bannister, Curtis, and Smith families), printed material from Bryant family reunions and celebration, and newspaper clippings. Also present is a manuscript cookbook that belonged to Frances Fairchild Bryant; and letters written by Franny Bryant Godwin; her husband, Parke Godwin; and Frances Fairchild Bryant. These letters are accompanied by handwritten transcriptions.