William Jennings Bryan — known as “The Great Commoner” and “Keeper of the Faith” — was a Populist, religious, conundrum. He was for the people. He was against big money. He fought, testified, and prosecuted via the Bible — in utter infamy — during the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial and died five days after the trial ended. Defending his Faith killed him.

William Jennings Bryan was a good son of Nebraska who was nominated three times on the national Democrat ticket — and he lost each time — and his failure to find a national political footing beyond his deeply religious Nebraska grassroots haunted him until his death.

I was able to purchase this fascinating photo of William Jennings Bryan, dated September 18, 1924 — he would be dead 10 months later — the caption reads:


Photo shows William Jennings Bryan pinning a badge of allegiance (David-Bryan campaign stuff) to Rose Minto’s coat lapel. She is a popular motion picture star in Hollywood who is actively interested in politics.

What is most interesting about the photograph is the use of the black editorial pen on the image.  You can see the crop indices, but there are also black ink pen “lines of emphasis” added to Ms. Minto’s hat, Bryan’s lapels and face. You can see the dullness the pen makes when you move the glossy photograph in your hand in and out of reflective light.

At first wink, those added lines look like marks of defamation until you realize, after scanning the photograph for publication here, they must have been an important part of newspaper publishing in 1924 to help the highlights and shadows be more discernable in ink on paper.

[Publisher’s Note: What you see on this page is the beginning of a publication project Dr. Howard Stein was preparing for David Boles Blogs in the year 2000 upon the celebration of the occasion of his birth — July 4 — when he was 78-years-old. We have unearthed this early draft of — The Howard Stern Journal of Memories — and we share it with you today so you may not only enjoy Dr. Stein’s wisdom, but also revel in the revision process you can see below in an image of his typewritten submission. You may view a larger size of the image on the Boles.com Howard Stein Archive Page.

Howard’s health began to nag him as the days aged, and he never returned to this project, but you may still read a lot of Dr. Stein’s work here, there and elsewhere. Howard Stein died on October 12, 2012 of heart failure. He was 90. We miss him every moment of every notion and it is amazing that 15 years after he wrote this for us, Howard is still publishing with us from the grave. Howard Stein always said he was “born lucky” — and so, too, are we lucky to have this article! — but this is his story.]

Ideally, we want to raise caring and tender children who rightfully grow into wise and smart adults.  Unfortunately, the way into adulthood is, and always had been, fraught with predators and disappointment and liars.  We prefer to pretend these evil elements are not among us — and within us — and the ability for adults to repress inherent danger in the spinning world is what particularly places children in a purposeful peril.

Unlike women, as men age, there’s a tendency to stigmatize our awful attempts at humor by branding us “creepy” or “perverted” or “just gross.”  Plant an unfunny line on a 20-year-old guy and a teenaged woman might giggle, while the same line said by a guy over 60, to the same young teen, begets the world breaking apart as the whole tone and timbre of the conversation changes to a perceived perversion.

Why is that?

Is there always some sort of unspoken sexual underpinning to every male-to-female interaction that cannot be denied or generationally negotiated?  Why doesn’t the curse cut the opposite way against older women who are labeled creepy and perverted in the same condition?