Collection ID: 2005.003.1848

Collection context


Wylie, Boisen and Bradley families
The families represented in this collection are all family members or descendants of Theophilus Adam Wylie of Indiana University. Many of the earliest family members were closely associated with the university themselves. The collection includes legal documents, essays and biographical writings, financial records, business records, newspaper clippings, wedding invitations, academic records, journals, programs and drawings. The collection has been collated together from ephemera discovered amongst correspondence, books from the Theophilus Adam Wylie Library and papers held by Morton Bradley Jr.
4.8 cubic feet
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[item], The Wylie, Boisen and Bradley Families Papers & Ephemera, Wylie House Museum, Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington


Scope and Content:

The bulk of this collection is artificially created from items discovered amongst correspondence, books from the Theophilus Adam Wylie Library and papers held by Morton Bradley Jr. The collection features a wide variety of materials ranging from legal documents such as wills and patent records, certificates of birth, marriage and death, financial records, correspondence, newspaper clippings, dance cards, business records, artwork, school assignments, programs and invitations and a few envelopes containing hair of family members. The majority of the collection is organized within the Papers and Ephemera series and is comprised of items created and saved by various family members. The remaining papers within the collection displayed a discernible provenance sufficient enough to be distinguished from the Ephemera series and are organized into the following series: Anton Boisen Papers, Morton C. Bradley Business Papers, Seabrook Wylie Papers, and Rebecca (Reba) Wylie Papers.

The Anton Boisen Papers contain church publications and professional correspondence related to Boisen's stay in Waubaunsee, Kansas.

The Morton C. Bradley Business Papers contain business correspondence and financial records related to the publication, sale and distribution of the 73-volume Histories of Nations. Also included are Bradley's written answers to a correspondence course on "The Art of Selling Life Insurance" offered by the American School of Insurance.

The Seabrook Wylie Papers contain a small assortment of materials—largely receipts, bills, and professional letters of recommendation—retained by Seabrook and found among her correspondence to the family.

The Rebecca (Reba) Wylie Papers contain a large collection of dance and table cards along with smaller folders of clippings, correspondence, invitations and programs.

Most of the series have been described at an item level with the exception being the occasional grouping of financial or real estate records. Since it is expected that further items will be discovered to add to this collection, new items will be placed within the Papers or Ephemera series based upon document type and function. The other series are closed and can be considered as discovered as an intact corpus of papers without any further additions.

Biographical / Historical:

Theophilus Adam Wylie (1812 - 1895), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the eldest son of the Reverend Samuel Brown Wylie, D. D. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1830, studied theology in the Seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and was licensed to preach in 1836. His half cousin Andrew Wylie offered him a teaching position at Indiana College (which soon became Indiana University) in 1837. He served as a professor here from 1837 until his retirement from active teaching in 1886 except for two and a half years spent teaching at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in the early 1850s. He was the first IU Librarian and served as president pro tem of the institution twice. He married Miss Rebecca I. Dennis of Germantown, Pennsylvania. He lived in Wylie House with his extended family from 1859 until his death. His remaining family stayed in the house until his widow died in 1913.

Rebecca Dennis Wylie (1812 - 1913) married Theophilus A. Wylie in 1838. She grew up near Philadelphia and lived in Bloomington, Indiana from her marriage until her death, except for the two and a half years that their family lived in Oxford, Ohio in the early 1850s. She and husband Theophilus had eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood. Their names were Elizabeth Louisa (called Louisa, Louise, or Lou), Richard Dennis (called Dick), Margaret (called Maggie), Susan Emma (died at age 2), Samuel Brown (died at age 3), Theophilus Andrew (called Toph), Samuel Brown (called Brown), and Theodorus William John (called Dory or Dode).

Louisa Wylie Boisen (1839 - 1930) was born in Bloomington, Indiana, the eldest child of Theophilus and Rebecca Wylie, and was educated at the Monroe County Female Seminary. When the family moved to Oxford, Ohio for two years in the early 1850's, she attended a female seminary there and upon graduation enrolled in the Glendale Female College near Cincinnati. She graduated from that institution and briefly taught there. Later, when Indiana University began accepting female students, Louisa returned to Bloomington and entered IU as a sophomore. She graduated in 1871. She taught mathematics and languages at the University of Missouri in 1872 and early 1873. She married Hermann B. Boisen in the summer of 1873 and they traveled to Germany that fall to visit his family. When Louisa was widowed in January, 1884, she brought her two children, Anton and Marie, back to Bloomington where they lived with her parents. Louisa taught drawing in the Bloomington high school. Upon her mother's death in 1913, Louisa moved to Arlington, MA to live with her daughter's family for the remainder of her life.

Hermann Balthasar Boisen (1846 - 1884) was born at Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He was educated at the Gymnasium at Plon, and at the University of Wurzburg. He did not finish the course at the University but came to this country in April, 1869. He went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where a kinsman, Major Von Minden was living. He remained in Minnesota a little more than a year, teaching part of the time in some of the German settlements there. He came to Indiana and was appointed superintendent of the Belleville schools in the fall of 1870. Through the recommendation of some of the professors at Greencastle, he was appointed to fill the vacancy in the chair of Modern Languages in Indiana University in 1870. He remained in Bloomington from 1870 - 1874, when he went to Terre Haute to take charge of the advanced course there at what eventually became Indiana State University. The course being abolished, he returned to Bloomington in 1876. He resigned in 1880 and was appointed to fill a vacancy in Williams College, Massachusetts, that fall. In 1881 he went to Boston where he taught and was also engaged in the preparation of two books for publication, First Course in German and a book of German Prose. In 1882 he was elected sub-master of the Elliot School in Boston and was also made one of the directors of the Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute. In the summer of 1883 he was elected a master in the Lawrenceville School, New Jersey. He reached Lawrenceville in September of 1883 with his family and died there only four months later.

Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876 - 1965) was the eldest child of Louisa Wylie Boisen and Hermann B. Boisen. He grew up in Wylie House following the death of his father in 1884. He graduated from IU (1897), Yale School of Forestry (1905) and the Union Theological Seminary (1911), and received a Master's Degree from Harvard (1923). After graduation from IU, he taught French for two years in Bloomington schools, and then served three years in the U. S. Forestry Service (1905 - 1908). After seminary he became a sociological investigator for the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions and spent five years in rural pastorates in Kansas and Maine; he later made extensive surveys for the Interchurch World Movement. He served as chaplain at the Worchester, Massachusetts and Elgin, Illinois state hospitals for thirty-one years and for seventeen years he was a lecturer and research associate in the Chicago Theological Seminary. He has been called the "father" of the clinical pastoral education movement.

Marie Louisa Boisen Bradley (1879 - 1965) married Morton Clark Bradley in 1900. She graduated from IU in 1900 and had two children, Louise and Morton Clark, Jr. She travelled with her son, Morton (Bob) to Europe in 1936 and an account of their travels is included in this collection.

Morton C. Bradley (1878 - 1954) graduated from IU in 1899 with a degree in mathematics. He briefly owned a publishing company in early 1900's, he then began work as an accountant for the Boston & Maine Railroad company in Boston, Massachusetts.

Morton C. (Bob) Bradley, Jr. (1912 - 2004) was a graduate of Harvard University (1933). He was a paintings conservator and collector of 19th c. paintings; sculptor; author. Though he never lived in Bloomington, he considered himself a Hoosier and bequeathed his entire estate to IU, specifically to Wylie House, the IU Art Museum and the Lilly Library. Mr. Bradley never married and lived nearly his entire life in his parents' house in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Louise Bradley (1908 - 1979) attended IU one year and graduated from Radcliff College in Massachusetts. She met and corresponded with Elizabeth Bishop (poet) from 1925 onward. Apparently they met as children at summer camp. Though as a young woman she aspired to be a writer, she ended up an industrial engineer. She never married, and lived most of her adult life in the home she grew up in at Arlington, Massachusetts.

Seabrook Wylie, formally Sarah Seabrook Mitchell Wylie (1857 - 1899) married Samuel Brown Wylie (1854 - 1890), son of Theophilus and Rebecca Wylie, in June of 1877. The couple moved to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where they raised four children including Theophilus Andrew (Theo) Wylie (1878 - ?), Samuel Brown (Sam) Wylie (1882 - ?), Rebecca Grace (Reba) Wylie (1884 - ?), and Laurence (Laurie) Seabrook Wylie (1887 - 1962). Following her husband's death in 1890, Seabrook struggled to make ends meet and raise the children on her own. She made the decision to leave Reba, Sam, and Laurence in the care of family at Wylie House in Bloomington while eldest son Theo accompanied her to live and work in Boston. While in and around Boston, Seabrook held several positions as a housekeeper and office worker. Seabrook passed away due to medical complications attributed in part to a nervous condition and heart failure.

Rebecca Grace (Reba) Wylie (1884 - ?) was the second youngest child of Samuel Brown Wylie and Sarah Seabrook Mitchell Wylie. After her father's death in 1890, she lived at Wylie House with her grandparents and her Aunt Louisa. She attended IU from 1905 - 1908 and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Around 1914 she moved to Arizona where she lived with her brother Laurence/Lawrence, near Tucson. A newspaper clipping from 1917 states that she was a trained nurse.

Acquisition information:
Processing information:

Processed by Eric Holt, Amy Jankowski, and Carey Beam

Completed in 2011


This collection is organized into six series: Ephemera (general family), Papers (general family), Anton Boisen Papers, Bradley Publishing Co. Records, Seabrook Wylie Papers and Rebecca (Reba) Wylie Papers. The Ephemera and Papers series are contained within Boxes 1 - 3, arranged according to document type and size. The Anton Boisen Papers are in Box 3. The Bradley Publishing Co. documents are held in two small boxes (Boxes 4 & 5), with legal size documents found in Box 3. The Seabrook Wylie and Rebecca Wylie Papers are within Box 6.

These series have been described at an item level. Container lists are available for each box.



This collection is open for research. Advance notice is required.


For reproduction and use policy, contact Wylie House Museum Director


[item], The Wylie, Boisen and Bradley Families Papers & Ephemera, Wylie House Museum, Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington
317 East 2nd Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47401, United States
Indiana University Bloomington