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Bryant Family Collection (Princeton)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

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Bryant Family Collection (Princeton), 1767-1966 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Bryant Family Collection (Princeton), 1767-1966

ID: RHC/RC/027

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 06/28/1967

Subjects: Bryant Family, Diaries-- 1820-1839, Family life--History, Princeton (Ill.), Travelers' writings

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Bryant Family Collection is a three generation chronicle of the Bryant Family and their migration from Massachusetts to Illinois and Kansas. The materials collected document the family history from 1767-1912.

Boxes one and two contain photostat, microfilm, and typescript copies of Bryant family letters and diaries assembled from various sources. Box one, folder one contains the family genealogy chart, prepared in the archives based on information available in the collection. Also included in box one is biographical data and letters of the Bryant family, 1767-1912; notes from the diary of Sylvia Drake, 1821-1824, a close friend of the Bryant family; a watercolor of the original J.H. Bryant cabin; typescript copies of Sylvia Drake’s Diary, 1821-1824; and Sylvia Drake’s letters, 1784-1868. Box one also contains 28 folders of the Bryant Family Research Project including publications, reprints, manuscripts and the general notes of Donald M. Murray and Robert M. Rodney, dating 1960-1966. Box two contains letter on microfilm from the New York Public Library; notecards on Julian Bryant; a book of poems by John H. Bryant and a cardfile index of the Bryant letters. Most of the material in the Bryant Collection is photocopies of the original. The material is typed copy, either whole or excerpted and some is simply handwritten notes on letters.

Collection Historical Note

Peter Bryant (1767-1820) was descended from one of the first members of the Plymouth Colony and was the father of the poet, William Cullen Bryant. He grew up in the North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Massachusetts. During his two years of apprenticeship, in the office of Dr. Lewis Lepritete, Bryant was trained in the medical field. He also fell in love with Sarah Snell (1768-1847) of Cummington, Massachusetts, and at this time, produced quite a quantity of poetry. Once licensed, Bryant started his own practice and in 1792 he married Sarah Snell. Their children were Austin (1793-1866); William Cullen, the famous poet (1794-1879); Cyrus (1799-1865); Sarah Snell (1802-1825); Peter Rush, later called Arthur (1803-1833); Louisa Charity (1807-1868); and John Howard (1807-1833)

Austin, Cyrus, Arthur, Louisa, John Howard, Sarah Snell and the matriarch of the family emigrated to Illinois in the early 1830’s, with the Hamshire colony from Cummington. The second son, the poet, William Cullen Bryant, remained in New England. Once in Illinois, the family settled in Princeton, Bureau County, in the 1830’s. Cyrus, Arthur and John Howard made a permanent home in Princeton as they took up claims in the township.

Peter Bryant (1837-1912) was the son of Cyrus Bryant and an original settler of Kansas territory and a citizen of Kansas during its first half century of statehood. Like his father, Peter caught the "westering" fever in 1859. He became a prosperous farmer on his land claim near Holtan in northeastern Kansas. Julian Bryant (1836-1865) was the son of Arthur Bryant and he was commissioned lieutenant of the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry. After serving his three years’ term, he re-enlisted and was appointed colonel of a colored regiment. He died in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bryant Family has deep roots in America with ancestors from both sides of the family having come over from England on the Mayflower. Dr. Peter Bryant was the fourth generation from Stephen Bryant and Abigail Shaw, of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Sarah Snell Bryant was a descendant of Josiah Snell who married Anna Aldens, granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, the couple immortalized by Longfellow.

Subject/Index Terms

Bryant Family
Diaries-- 1820-1839
Family life--History
Princeton (Ill.)
Travelers' writings

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to materials in the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Donald M. Murray and Robert M. Rodney

Acquisition Method: Donald M. Murray and Robert M. Rodney, professors of English at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, donated the Bryant Family Collection on June 28, 1967, to the Northern Illinois University Archives. University Archivist J. Joseph Bauxar transferred the collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center in May 1978.

Original/Copies Note: The original letters used in this collection are preserved in the Bureau County, Illinois Historical Society Museum at Princeton, Illinois, the New York Public Library and the Sheldon Historical Museum, Middlebury, Vermont.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 1
Folder 1: Bryant Family Genealogy Chart
Folder 2: Doctor Peter Bryant, biographical data, 1767-1820
Folder 3: Doctor Peter Bryant, poems and letters
Folder 4: Sarah Snell Bryant, letters, 1768-1847
Folder 5: Sarah Snell Bryant, diary, 1768-1847
Folder 6: Sarah Snell Bryant, correspondence
Folder 7: Elisha L. Fish, letter, 1814
Folder 8: Charity Bryant, letters, 1777-1851
Folder 9: William Cullen Bryant, biographical data, 1784-1878
Folder 10: McDowell on W. Cullen Bryant, juvenilia
Folder 11: William Cullen Bryant correspondence, 1865-1874
Folder 12: Lampoons by Cullen and schoolmate (photostat)
Folder 13: Cyrus Bryant, biographical data, 1798-1865
Folder 14: Cyrus Bryant, correspondence, 1859-1863
Folder 15: Julia E. Bryant correspondence, 2 letters, 1866-1875
Folder 16: C.F. Eichaker, 4 letters to Cyrus, 1863-1865
Folder 17: Sarah S. Bryant, letters, 1802-1825
Folder 18: Arthur Bryant, biographical data, 1803-1883
Folder 19: Arthur (Peter Rush) Bryant letters
Folder 20: Charity Louisa Bryant, 1805-1868
Folder 21: Justin Olds, letters, 1836
Folder 22: John Howard Bryant, letters, 1807-1902
Folder 23: Ed Brown of Elmwood to John Howard Bryant, 2 letters, 1889-1890
Folder 24: Whittier to John Howard Bryant, letter, 1807-1902
Folder 25: Historical background for Peter Bryant, 1837-1912
Folder 26: Kit Bryant correspondence, 2 letters, 1865
Folder 27: Peter Bryant, list of his letters, 1837-1912
Folder 28: Peter Bryant correspondence, 1837-1912
Folder 29: Peter Bryant, verifax letters
Folder 30: Peter Bryant, occasional writings
Folder 31: Frank Pomeroy to Peter, 1837-1912
Folder 32: Julian Bryant, biographical data, 1836-1865
Folder 33: Julian Bryant correspondence
Folder 34: Julian Bryant, 1 letter, 1864
Folder 35: Marcus Bryant correspondence, 2 letters, 1861
Folder 36: Melissa Everett Dawes, 1820-1893
Folder 37: Francis Dawes
Folder 38: Bryant Letters (Ephemera) verifax copies
Folder 39: Notes from Diary of Sylvia Drake, 1821-1824
Folder 40: Watercolor J.H. Bryant
Folder 41: Drake Diary, pages 1-88
Folder 42: Drake Diary, pages 89-187
Folder 43: Drake Diary, pages 188-238
Folder 44: Drake Diary, pages 239-315
Folder 45: Drake letters, 1784-1868
Folder 46: Bryant Family, history and genealogy
Folder 47: Bryant Family photographs
Folder 48: Bryant Family reunions
Folder 49: Notes on all Bryants from the Bureau County Republican
Folder 50: Books from Cyrus Bryant Collection
Folder 51: Bryant - Ephemera
Folder 52: Bryant Family Project - research phases, Murray and Rodney, April 1957-
Folder 53: Bryant Chronicle Project: Prospectus, Publicity, Publication and Correspondence
Folder 54: Articles and reprints by Murray and Rodney, 1960-1966
Folder 55: United States History - Massachusetts Medical Society Records, historical background for Doctor Peter Bryant
Folder 56: Godwin's Life of William Cullen Bryant
Folder 57: Introductory Essay, "Letters of a Kansas Farmer"
Folder 58: "Julian Bryant of Illinois", raw materials, first drafts
Folder 59: Julian Bryant's sketches
Folder 60: Bryant Material: lists of manuscripts and papers
Folder 61: Maps of Bureau County- historic and present
Folder 62: Kansas Historical background
Folder 63: Illinois Early History
Folder 64: Princeton, Illinois
Folder 65: Owen Lovejoy
Folder 66: Illinois - Early Travel
Folder 67: Illinois - Homesteading
Folder 68: Illinois - Projects of the New Country
Folder 69: Illinois - Construction of houses, barns, churches, mills, wells, smithies, et cetera
Folder 70: Illinois - Productiveness of the land, crops, et cetera
Folder 71: Illinois - churches, ministers
Folder 72: Illinois - health, conditions, doctors, diseases, nostrums, et cetera
Folder 73: Illinois - economic conditions: Prices, wages, et cetera
Box 2
Item 1: Letters on microfilm from the New York Public Library: Sarah S. Bryant,2 letters, 1836, 1840
Item 2: Justin Olds, 2 letters, 1836
Item 3: C.F. Eicheker, 3 letters, 1863-1864
Item 4: E.R. Brown, 2 letters, 1889, 1890
Item 5: Notecards on Julian Bryant
Item 6: Book of Poems by John Howard Bryant
Item 7: Cardfile index of Bryant letters included in boxfile: Newberry Library, New York Public Library and Allusions in Peter's letters

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