Bryan and the Russians

William Jennings Bryan on the steps of Fairview. NSHS RG3198-30-7

William Jennings Bryan on the steps of Fairview. NSHS RG3198-30-7

During his years in Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan welcomed many foreign visitors to the city and often entertained them at his home, named Fairview. In May of 1907 his guests included two distinguished Russians who were giving public lectures to publicize unfavorable political and social conditions in their native country. Bryan was particularly interested in Russia, which he had visited several years earlier as part of his European tour undertaken in late 1903. While there, he received an audience with Czar Nicholas II and boldly reminded him of his promise to give a degree of self-government and free speech to his people.  

“Two apostles of the society of ‘The Friends of Russian Freedom’ closed a whirlwind speaking tour of the city yesterday,” said the Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on May 16, 1907. “They were Alexis Alladin, member of the Russian douma, and Nicholai Tschikowsky, a student and representative of the laboring classes of Russia.”  

Alladin and Tschikowsky addressed students at the University of Nebraska and at Nebraska Wesleyan before dining with Bryan at Fairview in the evening, after which they addressed an audience at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Read more about Lincoln’s enthusiastic response to “the two gentlemen from the land of the czar,” who praised the struggle of the Russian people for freedom, in a Timeline column on the Nebraska State Historical Society website.

Postcard view of Fairview. 7956-5446

Postcard view of Fairview. 7956-5446

Learn about a later guest, ‘Abdul-Baha Abbas, eldest son of Baha’i founder Baha’u'llah, who visited Fairview in September 1912, and left a blessing in the Fairview visitor album. – Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor for Research and Publications

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