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"Poor Billy Bryan" Lyrics, circa 1896

 File — Box: 4265.001, Folder: 11

Scope and Contents

This file contains the handwritten lyrics to a song about "Poor Billy Bryan," a "young demagogue" who intends to run for president as a Democrat against "McKinley." Notes at the top indicate that it is written "in the negro dialect" and is to be sung to the tune of "Old Uncle Ned." The narrators of the song do not support Bryan, saying that "as president to trust him we's [sic] afraid" and declaring they will vote for McKinley of Ohio, who, they sing, "will guard us in our rights by all his power." The lyrics also reference Bryan's promises of "free silver." The last page notes that the song is by Charles K. Lombard, 129 Ledgwick St., Allegheny, Pennsylvania.


  • circa 1896

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to portions of this collection has been restricted by Archives and Special Collections in order to preserve the original materials. Contact University Libraries Special Collections at or 205.348.0500 for information on access to the restricted portions of this collection.

The rest of the collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was a politician from Nebraska who ran unsuccessfully for US president on the Democratic ticket in 1896, 1900, and 1908. His opponent in the 1896 and 1900 elections was Ohio Republican William McKinley (1843-1901), who served as US president from 1897 until his assassination in September 1901.

During the 1896 election, African Americans largely supported McKinley, who had come from an abolitionist family in Ohio and had denounced lynching during his inaugural address. However, he lost their support in the 1900 election after failing to make advances in civil rights, afraid to "alienate the white South" ( Much of the 1896 campaign also focused on the question of bimetallism--whether currency could be based on both silver and gold, or only on the gold standard.

"Old Uncle Ned" was a minstrel song from 1848 by white American songwriter Stephen Foster.


From the Collection: 3.8 Linear Feet


Formerly MSS.1919

Local Identifier


Processing Information

Processed by Brittany Ray, 2007.

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266