Good morning, Residents of the 93rd District! My name is Dr. Kristen Strom, and I’m Representative Weaver’s Director of Education and Agriculture Outreach. During Women’s History Month, we are going to highlight Illinois women who have made an impact in our communities. Up first is Lydia Moss Bradley!
Most Peorians and graduates of Bradley University know the name Lydia Moss Bradley, the female founder of Bradley University. Peoria, a once small farming village, grew due to the establishment of what was at first Bradley Polytechnic Institute in 1896.
Lydia Moss Bradley was a female pioneer and visionary for her time despite much personal tragedy. After the death of her husband and seven children, she looked to establish an orphanage to help raise children in the Peoria area but decided to establish an institute to educate children instead.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame honored her in 1998. She was recently voted as the #1 most influential woman in Illinois by the Illinois Top 200 project, a joint initiative of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
Her life-size statue can be found outside of Bradley Hall in the middle of Bradley’s campus. She often appears in selfies of BU students, faculty, and graduates. Lydia Moss Bradley’s legacy lives on in Bradley University, Peoria, and other philanthropic endeavors that remain strong today and were once her passion in the late 1800’s.
Click the link below to learn more about her life and legacy:
-Dr. Kristen Strom, Director of Education & Agriculture Outreach