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William Lyle Bryan papers, 1908-1960

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8z2d2

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bryan, William Lyle, 1890-1960.
Title: William Lyle Bryan papers, 1908-1960
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 148
Extent: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:Papers of Georgia educator, attorney, insurance executive, and Emory alumnus William Lyle Bryan.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift of Roseanne Williams of The Higgler Antiques, 1978.

Custodial History

Provenance unknown.


[after identification of item(s)], William Lyle Bryan papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Atlanta history and Emory University history.


Processed by VJHC, 1978.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

William Lyle Bryan (1890 August 8, 1960), Georgia educator, attorney, and insurance executive, was born in Dalton, Georgia. He was the son of W. E. Bryan (d. 1934), a graduate of the University of Missouri, who was a teacher and school superintendent in Catoosa County, Georgia, and of Alice (Lyle) Bryan (b. February 1, 1855), a graduate of Dalton Female College. William Lyle Bryan had one brother, Richard Walker Bryan, who graduated from Emory College in 1916, received his Ph.D degree from New York University, and taught for many years at the Louisiana Polytechnic School. William Lyle Bryan married Anne Arden of Guyton, Georgia on July 28, 1915.

William Lyle Bryan spent his early years in Ringgold, Georgia where he graduated from Ringgold High School in 1908. He entered Emory College in 1908, graduating with a Ph.D. degree in 1912 as only the fourth man in Emory history to earn the distinction "summa cum laude." Bryan was a champion debater, president of Few Literary Society, a member of Alpha Epsilon Upsilon scholastic honorary, editor-in-chief of the Campus yearbook, and a member of the basketball and track teams.

Bryan taught in a high school at Cordele, Georgia from 1912-1915; from 1915-1917, he served as the superintendent of public schools in Cairo, Georgia; and in 1917, he assumed a similar post at Tifton, Georgia. In 1918, he enlisted as a private in the army and served as a field artillery instructor in Louisville, Kentucky.

After World War I, Bryan taught at Lanier High School in Macon, Georgia. He entered law school, and graduated with first honors from Mercer University with an LL.B. degree in 1920. He began law practice at Donaldsonville, Georgia, where he also served as President of the Board of Education and Seminole County Attorney. After moving to Milton, Florida where he practiced law for five years, Bryan settled in Atlanta where he was associated with several law firms. He founded and served as president of Georgia Life and Health Insurance Company.

William Lyle Bryan died at his Atlanta home on August 8, 1960, and is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Scope and Content Note

The William Lyle Bryan papers consist of three folders, two containing his letters (1908-1911) and one containing material from the files of the office of the Alumni Association of Emory University. Bryan wrote twenty-one letters, most of them addressed to his mother, during his years at Emory College. The letters are filled with anecdotes, stories of daily life at the college, descriptions of commencement and other college activities, and mentions of Emory faculty members and students. Bryan's primary concern was his academic record, yet in his junior year he began to express the wish that he had involved himself more in campus politics and athletics from the beginning of his college career. His letters also advise his family how his younger brother should prepare for entrance to Emory College and warn of becoming too involved in studying to the exclusion of all else. The Alumni Office folder contains personal information, biographical sketches, correspondence, clippings, photographs, and other miscellaneous information about William Lyle Bryan.

Arrangement Note

Correspondence arranged in chronological order.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Alumni Association file
1 2 Emory College correspondence, 1908-1909
1 3 Emory College correspondence, 1910-1911