Morton C. Bradley, Jr. and the Wylie House Museum

Morton Clark Bradley, Jr., who went by “Bob,” was born to Marie Boisen and Morton Clark Bradley, Sr., in Arlington, Massachusetts, on 22 May 1912. His mother and grandmother, Louisa Wylie Boisen, had both grown up in the Wylie House in Bloomington, Indiana, and Bradley visited the house as a child and grew up hearing family stories of the old homestead.

Andrew Wylie, the first president of Indiana University, built the Wylie House in 1835 and lived there with his wife, Margaret, and their children until his death in 1851. The family of Andrew's younger cousin, Theophilus Wylie (father of Louisa Wylie, grandfather of Marie Boisen, and great-grandfather of Morton C. Bradley, Jr.), occupied the house from 1859 to 1913. Now a historic house museum administered by Indiana University Libraries, the home is a public heritage site and is furnished as it might have looked when the Wylies lived there during the 19th century.

Bradley graduated from Arlington High School in 1929 and then from Harvard University with a degree in fine arts in 1933. He went on to become a respected artist noted for his metal, mathematical sculptures, which are now displayed in various locations on Indiana University’s campus. He also worked as the head conservator at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and was recognized as the premier American art restorer in the 1940s and 1950s. His book The Treatment of Paintings (1950) is still considered an important reference work.

Bradley outlived his parents and sister and stayed in their family home in Arlington until his death on 26 September 2004. He bequeathed his entire estate to Indiana University in honor of his Wylie ancestors’ roles in founding and supporting the university. Upon his death, documents, furniture, textiles, glassware, china, and an ancient Christmas cactus (now in the museum’s front hall) were returned to the Wylie House after being housed in the Bradley home in Arlington for over 90 years.

IU classes from a wide variety of disciplines use the Wylie House as an immersive learning space, research its archival collections, and study it and its objects from various perspectives. The Morton C. Bradley, Jr. Education Center, maintained with funds from Bradley’s bequest, provides space for archival storage, staff offices, and class meetings on the Wylie House grounds.

Wylie Family Members

Louisa Wylie Boisen, Morton C. Bradley, Jr. (as a baby), Rebecca Wylie, Louise Bradley, and Marie Boisen Bradley on the Wylie House steps in 1912
(Wylie House Image Collection 2005.003.1108)