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Mary Bryan Forsyth Collection

Identifier: AC25

Scope and Content

The Mary Bryan Forsyth Collection includes correspondence with and about Mari Sandoz, materials concerning Forsyth’s interests and concerns about American Indian history and culture, her unpublished book, "Gift from the American Indian," and her sculpture.


  • 1953-1981

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research by appointment.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biography / History

Mary Sholes Bryan (1910-1986) was the grandchild of William Jennings Bryan. After graduating from high school, she studied at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and later under Frank Tenney Johnson at Grand Central School of Art in New York. In 1933, she married Alfred Smith Forsyth (d. January 11, 1985), a New York lawyer. They lived in Cappaqua, NY, for many years, moving to Pecos, NM, in 1972 and later to Santa Fe. She frequently used the name “Bryan Forsyth” in her work as an artist.

Mary Bryan Forsyth worked in several media. She painted a portrait of Crazy Horse as she thought he would look from the description in Mari Sandoz’s biography and presented this portrait to Mari Sandoz. Sandoz liked it and suggested Mary Bryan Forsyth as the illustrator for her book, "Love Song to the Plains." Forsyth maintained a correspondence with Mari Sandoz for several years. Sandoz was selected by the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1976, and Forsyth sculpted a bust of her that was dedicated by the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Other sculptures include busts of the Apache warriors Mangas Coloradas and Victorio. The bust of Victorio is now part of the New Mexico Museum of Art collection. The Art Library of the museum has information about the bust and about Forsyth’s studio.

Mary Bryan Forsyth wrote and illustrated an unpublished book entitled Gift from the American Indian. She presented her research notes, illustrations, and text for this book, other material, and her collection of Sandoz’s published books to the SAR Library.


27 folders in 3 document boxes

Language of Materials


Guide to the Mary Bryan Forsyth Collection, 1953-1981
Edited Full Draft
Cynthia Dobson, Laura Holt (2020 update by KW)
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the School for Advanced Research Repository

Catherine McElvain Library
School for Advanced Research (SAR)
PO Box 2188
Santa Fe NM 87504-2188 USA