Fairview Restoration Project [RG4262.AM]


RG4262.AM: Fairview Restoration Project (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Records: 1905-1995
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska
Size: 1.0 cu.ft.; 1 box


Construction started on the William Jennings Bryan Home, Fairview, in 1901 by William J. Bryan (1860-1925) and his wife, Mary Baird, in celebration of their 17 years of marriage. When the couple appointed Lincoln architect, Artemus A. Roberts (1841-1944) to design this residence, he built it with a strong vocabulary of Queen Anne and Classic Revival architecture styles. It is possible that the Lincoln based company, Miller and Paine, may have contributed as well to the decoration of the interior of the house. When Fairview was completed, the family moved into their new home in October 1903. They lived in it only until 1922, because soon after, they chose to move to Florida since Mary’s health was declining. Today, Fairview stands on Bryan Memorial Hospital land at 4900 Sumner Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.

William J. Bryan was an active Midwestern democrat. He might have envisioned Fairview as a political asset because it was built to accommodate large numbers of people for a variety of gatherings; some were social, others were overtly political. In 1922, Bryan donated Fairview and a portion of the surrounding land to the Nebraska Methodist Conference for the construction of a hospital, the Bryan Memorial Hospital. In addition, as of 1964, Fairview was listed on the National Historic Register. Much later, in 1992, Bryan Hospital commissioned a restoration project for the Bryan home. Fairview finally reopened in 1994 as a house museum.


This collection consists of the records of the Fairview restoration project. The records are arranged in four subgroups: 1) Fairview Restoration Project, 1905-1995; 2) Administrative Materials, 1992-1995; 3) William Jennings Bryan Background and Bibliographical Information; and 4) Educational Outreach. Each subgroup is further divided into series.

Subgroup 1, Fairview Restoration Project, is arranged into five series:

Subgroup 1, Series 1 consists mostly of a feasibility report, some related correspondence and color photographs documenting exhaustively the different stages of the restoration process and specific architectural details.

Subgroup 1, Series 2 compiles correspondence requesting information on the whereabouts of several furniture pieces or potential substitutes. An assortment of requests for contextual data and general facts on the family background while living at Fairview are also part of this series.

Subgroup 1, Series 3 contains photographic records, historical notes, and black and white line illustrations of different Miller and Paine stores and their location in downtown Lincoln. There are several black and white photographs displaying the Miller and Paine automobile fleet, the interior arrangement of one of their stores. These last pictures show rugs, living room sets, and other household accessories.

Subgroup 1, Series 4 consists mostly of a layout of Fairview farm on the site in 1919. It was drawn on two notebook sheets from memory in 1995. Also included are black and white photographs narrating life on the farm with miscellaneous annotations on separate notebook sheets. An oral history cassette tape by A. Stansburg accompanies this folder and is now located in the audio-visual collection.

Subgroup 1, Series 5 has essentially black and white photographs that document the wedding of Ruth Anne Steinkamp at the Bryan Memorial Nurses’ Home, Fairview. There are pictures of the wedding invitation cards, class group pictures and a newspaper clipping about the ceremony.

Subgroup 2, Administration Materials, is arranged into two series:

Subgroup 2, Series 1 contains a manual explaining the policies and procedures related to the use of Fairview as a house museum. This series also includes the correspondence of the Curator of the Bryan Home, Barbara Sommer with Occidental College, Alex R. Herrera, Bryan Boyhood Home Museum, Sheldon Art Gallery and the City of Salem.

Subgroup 2, Series 2 consists principally of administrative statements on Bryan Memorial Acquisition policies in regards to Fairview and some examples of the hospital’s “Instrument of Donation” forms.

Subgroup 3, William Jennings Bryan Background and Biographical Information, is arranged into one series:

Subgroup 3, Series 1 holds a book-size manuscript of WJB biography written by his daughter, Ruth Bryan. Several caricatures, cartoons and newspaper clippings describing William J. Bryan’s personality on the political scene are also included. Correspondence to identify descendants, other relatives or stories about them can also found. Lastly, there is an archival list of books written by WJB and other various documents and facts about him, curated by Occidental College.

Subgroup 4, Educational Outreach, is arranged into three series:

Subgroup 4, Series 1 has a selection of docent, volunteer and visitor literature. The volunteer manuals describe Fairview room by room and the brochures advertise the house museum.

Subgroup 4, Series 2 reports visitor attendance in three logbooks and loose leaf tally sheets from 1975 to 1990.

Subgroup 4, Series 3 is a collection of newsletters celebrating Bryan Memorial Hospital’s development after twenty, fifty and sixty years of service to the Lincoln community


Subgroup 1: Fairview Restoration Project, 1905-1995
Series 1 – Documentation of the physical restoration process, 1991-1994

Box 1

  1. Pre-restoration Photos, Oct. 28, 1991 – Nov. 12, 1991
  2. Fairview Restoration and Reuse Study, 22 June 1992
  3. David Arbogast Paint Sample, 1993
  4. Restoration Photos, 1993-1994
  5. Doug Smith Restoration Photos, 1994
  6. Fairview Grand Opening

Series 2 – Research files: Fairview’s historic interior, 1926-1995

  1. William J. Bryan Dining Room, 1926-1995
  2. Correspondence with Bryan’s Family: William, 1961-1995
  3. William J. Bryan Study, 1963-1994
  4. Correspondence with Bryan’s Family: Grace, 1992-1994
  5. Correspondence with Bryan’s Family: Ruth, 1994-1995

Series 3 – Miller and Paine

  1. Historical Background and notes
  2. Pictures of store location, displays and fleet, 1905

Series 4 – Information on Fairview’s exterior environment

  1. Hand drawn map, pictures of Fairview Farm c. 1919

Series 5 – Background information on the use of Fairview

  1. Wedding of Nurse at Fairview, 1995

Subgroup 2: Administrative Materials, 1992-1995
Series 1 – Fairview

  1. Barbara Sommer’s Files, 1992-1994
  2. Fairview Policies and Procedures, 1995

Series 2 – Bryan Memorial Hospital

  1. Acquisition Policies and Blank Donor Forms

Subgroup 3: William Jennings Bryan Background and Biographical Information
Series 1 – Stories on his life and family

  1. WJB Biography by Ruth Bryan
  2. Newspaper clippings and other notes
  3. Other relatives
  4. Occidental College’s WJB collection
  5. Bryan College: A Memorial to WJB

Subgroup 4: Educational Outreach
Series 1 – Fairview volunteer program and visitor leaflets

  1. Fairview Guide
  2. Fairview Volunteer Packets
  3. Fairview Volunteer Packets, leaflets & articles

Series 2 – Fairview visitor attendance log and miscellaneous items

  1. Fairview Guest Records, 1975-1990
  2. Miscellaneous Items

Series 3 – Bryan Hospital commemorative brochures

  1. Visitor Literature

Subject headings:

Architecture — Nebraska
Bryan family
Bryan, Mary Elizabeth (Baird), 1861-1930
Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925
Fairview (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Hargreaves, Grace Dexter (Bryan), 1891-1945
Historic buildings — Conservation and restoration
Historic buildings — Nebraska — Lincoln
Miller & Paine (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Owen, Ruth Baird (Bryan), 1885-1954

PJ/kfk 10-22-2002

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