Visitors to the Presidents’ House

Cover of President's Guestbook

Cover of President’s Guestbook

John Stewart Bryan was the nineteenth President of William & Mary, serving from 1934-1942.  On the event of his inauguration, his children presented him with a guestbook for use at the President’s House.  The guestbook’s cover is embossed with the college seal and titled “Guests of John Stewart Bryan at the College of William & Mary.”  Visitors from near and far passed through during Bryan’s years as President.  In addition to documenting individual visits, the guestbook also provides the signatures of folks who stopped by during specific events, including Charter Day, Homecoming, and the ceremony to reinter the remains of President Thomas R. Dew in the Wren crypt in April 1939.

Howard Chapin mentioned his collection of dog-related books in the margin where he signed his name.

Hope and Howard Chapin mentioned their collection of dog-related books at Special Collections next to their names.

The first person to sign the guestbook was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, followed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  They attended the ceremonies to mark Bryan’s inauguration, and FDR received an honorary degree.

JSB GB Roosevelts_Grayson

The Roosevelts’ signatures.

JSB GB Quartet 1

Quartet’s signatures and drawing.

Other recognizable signatures include Cary T. Grayson, John D. and Abby Rockefeller, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Some visitors just signed their names, but others, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, provided additional inscriptions, or even drew out a partial music score – twice! – as did the Kedroff Quartet.

Quartet's signatures and drawing.

Quartet’s signatures and drawing.

Georgia O'Keeffe's signature.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s signature.

Frank Lloyd Wright's signature.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature.

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