Charles Faulkner Bryan, Jr., President Emeritus
Born and raised in McMinnville, Tennessee, Charles F. Bryan, Jr., is a distinguished military graduate of the Virginia
Military Institute. He holds a Master's degree in history from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in history from the
University of Tennessee. In 2008, Dr. Bryan was awarded an honorary doctrate of letters from Randolph-Macon College. He served two years active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army.
Dr. Bryan then served as assistant editor of the Andrew Jackson Papers, a University of Tennessee project located at the Hermitage in Nashville. He edited Jackson's correspondence during the War of 1812, which appeared as part of Volume 2 of the Papers of Andrew Jackson (Knoxville, UT Press, 1985).
In 1981, Dr. Bryan was appointed as the first Executive Director of the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville.
Five years later, he became Executive Director of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, one of the country's
richest repositories on the history of the American West, railroading, and river transportation.
In 1988, Dr. Bryan was appointed as President and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society. Founded as a private institution in 1831, the Society has developed a vast collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, artwork,
and museum objects that support the study and interpretation of Virginia's history. The Society sponsors conferences,
lectures, and exhibitions as part of its mission to promote a broader understanding of Virginia history. During his tenure,
Dr. Bryan oversaw fund-raising campaigns that raised more than $110 million. These efforts resulted in quadrupling
the size of the Historical Society's headquarters building and a significant expansion of educational programs
statewide. The Historical Society has a staff of 100 people involved in a variety of activities and has an annual operating
budget of $6.7 million. In November 2008, Dr. Bryan retired from the VHS and was named president emeritus by the board of trustees.
Dr. Bryan has considerable experience as a teacher and has held appointments as adjunct associate professor
of history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Tennessee. He has served as a visiting lecturer in
the public history program at Arizona State University. He has published extensively on
the management of history museums and on the American Civil War. With Nelson Lankford, he edited the best-seller
Eye of the Storm: A Civil War Odyssey,
and a follow-up volume
Images from the Storm, based on the diary of Union soldier,
Robert K. Sneden, published by the Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster. He was president of the
American Association for State and Local History from 2002–2004, and serves on the board of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American
History. In addition, he served as president of the Independent Research Libraries Association. Dr. Bryan is a corresponding member of the Academia de Historia de Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena, Colombia. In 2008, the Virginia General Assembly publicly honored Dr. Bryan in a joint resolution for his "many years of distinguished service and his outstanding contributions to scholarship." He is a frequent consultant and speaker at museums and historical societies throughout the United States. He is a lecturer for the Organization of American Historians' Distinguished Lectureship Program. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Richmond, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He and his wife, Cammy, reside in Richmond. They have two married children and one grandson. Their daughter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and works at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill. Their son graduated from VMI, teaches computer science at a community college in Washington State, and is married to a doctor serving in the U.S. Army.
Updated November 2008
• Press release regarding Charles F. Bryan, Jr.'s retirement
• House Joint Resolution No. 198 commending Charles F. Bryan, Jr.