Morton C. Bradley, Jr. (1912 – 2004), a noted paintings conservator and sculptor, considered himself a Hoosier even though he lived his whole life in Arlington, Massachusetts. His great-grandfather was Theophilus A. Wylie who began teaching at IU in 1837, moved into Wylie House in 1859, and died there in 1895. Mr. Bradley’s mother, Marie Boisen Bradley, grew up in Wylie House. His father attended IU, met and married Marie Boisen while living in Bloomington. His grandmother, Louisa Wylie Boisen, moved from Wylie House to Arlington in 1915 and lived with the Bradleys until her death in 1930. So Bob, as he was known to his friends and family, must have grown up hearing about Bloomington and IU from all of the adults in the household.
When he died in 2004, Mr. Bradley bequeathed his entire estate to IU, naming Wylie House as one of three beneficiary departments. Furniture, textiles, glassware and china, even a 100 year old Christmas cactus were returned to Wylie House after being housed in the Bradley home in Arlington for over 90 years. Even more exciting were the archival materials that had been saved by the family for more than a century. Old Wylie family photographs, thousands of letters written by the extended Wylie family between 1850 and 1930, and many items of ephemera. The letters are being transcribed and will eventually be edited and published. It is the ephemera that sparked the idea for this blog. Items that are of great interest but fall outside the museum’s primary period of interpretation deserved to see the light of day, and so we will periodically post here some of those items as well as other odd bits of information that we uncover. We may also include some the the peripheral research that we undertake in an effort to learn more about this very interesting family.