son of Samuel Smith Bryan
and Bertha Theodora Hequembourg;
husband of Marian Knighton
"Photographer J Bryan Dies - Julien H Bryan, Titusville-born photographer whose many documentary movie films gave him an international reputation, died Sunday morning in Lawrence Hospital, Bronxville, NY. He had recently submitted to surgery. He was 75 years old and lived at 200 Boulder Trail in Bronxville. Mr Bryan had been executive director since 1945 of the International Film Foundation in New York, an independent organization for producing and distributing documentary and educational films. He produced more than 30 documentaries for the State Department for use in foreign countries. Last month, Mr Bryan received medals from the Polish Cultural Ministry and the Mayor of Warsaw on the 35th anniversary of the siege of Warsaw, which, as a freelance photographer he had recorded with snapshots and films. He left Warsaw in 1939 after its occupation by the Nazis and brought back documentary films. His photographs and text were published as the book 'Siege' by Doubleday in 1940. Mr Bryan was born in Titusville on May 23, 1899, the son of Mr and Mrs Samuel S Bryan. On his 10th birthday someone gave him a camera. He was a photographer from then until the end of his life, first in high school, then in France and then around the world. He served from January to August, 1917, with the Ambulance Service of the French Army. On his return he wrote a book on his experiences, 'Ambulance 464,' published in 1918 by MacMillan. It was illustrated with his own photographs. He entered Princeton University and was graduated in 1921. After graduating, following family tradition he became interested in the ministry and spent three years at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. He specialized in social studies at this time and the social consciousness which was later to show itself in his work began to mature. Subsequently he served as a YMCA secretary for seven years. It was at this time that he started serious work with the documentary film - a career in which he was destined to reach the top. Thus began the travels with a camera that were his adventure and his life. He and his movie camera first received national attention in 1930 when he toured Soviet Russia in a party led by Maurice Hindus, the writer, and found rich material to photograph. In 1934, Mr Bryan was the first American to make movies in Siberia. He photographed the reindeer culture of the Tungus, whose way of life resembled that of the American Indians. In 1941 while on a two-month photography expedition to Venezuela and Colombia, Mr Bryan was jailed 17 times. Every time he took a picture of German-owned hotels and business places he was arrested as a fifth columnist. He was released within an hour after establishing his American citizenship. Mr Bryan returned to the Soviet Union in 1946 as an observer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to describe the serious crop shortage. He continued making his essayist travelogues until the end of his life - the most recent with the collaboration of his son, Sam Bryan. "The Ancient Chinese,' depicting Chinese village life, was released this year. 'The Changing Middle East' and 'The First Americans: Part II' are in production. A past president of the Educational Film Association, Mr Bryan received the meritorious achievement award of his Princeton class, and he was cited for the film 'Israel' by the National Council of Jewish Audio-Visual Materials. His most recent visit to Tituville was last August. Surviving, besides his son, are his widow, the former Marian Knighton, and two sisters, Elizabeth Koch and Frances Humphrey."
(Titusville Herald, Oct 22, 1974, p.3)
Marian Knighton Bryan
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