Born in Galena, St. Mary's Parish, Jamaica, Percival Bryan (1906-1996) came to the United States in 1924 as a stowaway in search of adventure and opportunity. He settled in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., involved himself with various social and civic organizations, and was instrumental in forming the Caribbean American Inter-cultural Organization. He worked as a White House butler under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), and Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969). Bryan also served as a chauffer for Attorney General Homer S. Cummings (1870-1956) before becoming a cab driver. An autograph collector, Mr. Bryan collected over 100,000 signatures of notable individuals.
This description is for Series 3 of the Percival Bryan collection.
The collection contains 298 autograph albums. Mr. Bryan collection started in 1941 with book 1. At this time he obtained the autographs of Attorney General Homer S. Cummings and several other members of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cabinet. From that point Byran collected over 160,000 autographs from average people and celebrities alike. Within the pages of these books are general greetings, expository, poems, sketches, and even a few watercolors.
Percival Bryan Collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Rose Dyke