John T. Bryant was born in 1864 in Champaign County and died in 1947. He went into business with W. B. Donaldson and formed the Donaldson & Bryant Company in Sidney, Ohio. Later, in 1906, he moved to Springfield and along with his brother W. H. Bryant formed the Bryant Manufacturing Company, later known as the John T. Bryant Basket Company. It appears that in their earlier years the company purchased willow, hired basket makers and made most of their baskets. During WWII it became apparent through reading the correspondence that not only workers but willow was hard to come by and the basket business suffered. In later years it seems that they became more of a “middle‐man” jobber‐type of business, buying baskets from wholesalers and then selling them.
Mr. Bryant and his brother were both involved in the organization and development of the former First Morris Plan Industrial Bank and the Commercial and Savings Bank.
He had three daughters, Marie Bryant, Ada Raup and Helen Nimmer and two sons Albert and Charles. There are letters and references to these family members found in both the business and personal correspondence.
Following John T. Bryant’s death his son Albert took over the company. His children were Joan Anderson and Barbara Johnson. Series II includes personal correspondence from them. Albert died in 1971.