Bryant Slides Collection
Scope and Contents
The Bryant Slide Collection, circa 1940-1981, contains 35mm slides of various islands in the Caribbean as well as Florida and Venezuela. The slides were taken on collecting trips sponsored by the William L. Bryant Foundation, where books, music and art indigenous to the regions were gathered. They are organized by geographical location. The content of the slides vary and include landscapes, religion, houses, people and everyday life.
The collection is generally comprised of landscapes and cityscapes. The images depict the islands prior to the influx of tourism. Also featured are detailed documentation of a Haitian voodoo ceremony and numerous portraits of people including two artists, Kapo and Everald Brown, whose work is in the Bryant West Indies Collection.
The significant aspect of the slides is that they move past traveler's snapshots and into documentary photography. The portraits are especially notable because of the unique interaction between the photographer and subject.
- Created: Circa 1940-1981
- William L. Bryant (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical or Historical Information
William Junior Bryant, or June, as he preferred to be called, was born May 4, 1904 in Springfield Vermont. He attended Springfield High School and Phillips Exeter Academy, going on to graduate from Dartmouth College in 1925. He started working for Bryant Chucking Grinding Co., a machine tool company founded by his father, William Leroy Bryant. From 1928 to 1946, Bryant worked his way up through the ranks within Bryant Chucking Grinding Co. to become President in 1946. The years following were busy for Bryant, he was involved in many community related activities as well as beginning serious work in his own philanthropic areas of interest. He started the William L. Bryant Foundation in 1950, named for his father, to begin excavations in Florida, Spain and the Caribbean. The Foundation helped Bryant to pursue his interest in archeology which fueled his passion for collecting works of art, cultural and ethnic items and books.
June Bryant lived in Woodstock, VT from May until November, moving to the warmer climate of Tangerine, FL from November until May, each year, after retiring from the Bryant Chucking Grinding Co. in 1960. It was in this time that Bryant was able to dedicate more time to his other pursuits. Over the years he had started collecting works of art from areas in Spain, Florida and the Caribbean. His collection of Spanish works was eventually given to Dartmouth College, where they are now housed in the Baker Library. The papers of the William L. Bryant Foundation and the papers of William Junior Bryant and Bryant Family are housed in the Rauner Special Collection Library, also at Dartmouth College. His West Indies collection found a home in the Central Florida Museum.
The Florida and Caribbean works were collected over a period of twenty years, beginning in the early 1960s. Bryant purchased some of the collection himself, but a considerable amount of the purchasing was done by Eleanor Sleight. She was the director of the Central Florida Museum in the late 1960s and later became the representative of the William L. Bryant Foundation. A large part of the collection was gathered in the trips Sleight took to the islands from 1969-1972. Bryant also acquired materials via catalogs from both the islands and in the U.S. Some of the paintings were acquired in the same manner; however, Bryant also purchased a large part of the art collection from a dealer in New York.
The Bryant West Indies Collection was moved in 1972 from the Central Florida Museum to the library of Florida Technological University, now University of Central Florida. Bryant thought it was important to keep the collection in Florida where he felt it would be better valued due to the close proximity to the West Indies. The Bryant West Indies Collection is displayed yearly in the library and is continually used for research and teaching by the faculty and students of the University of Central Florida.
1.25 Linear Feet (1 Box)
Method of Acquisition
- Bryant Slides Collection
- Shannon Collier
- Description rules
- Language of description
Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository
Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US