Bertha Glidden Bradt
Bertha Glidden was the daughter of Mary and Josiah Willard Glidden, and was born December 17, 1866. Like her older sister, Annie, she benefited from her Uncle Joseph’s benevolence and attended Illinois State Normal School in Bloomington. She graduated in 1887, and taught school in Dwight, Illinois.
Shortly before Christmas of 1890, Bertha married Samuel Ellsworth Bradt. At the time, Samuel was a successful glove manufacturer, who would later become the president of First National Bank of DeKalb. The Bradts had a family of four children: Marian, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Charles, a well-known DeKalb businessman who died in 2011 at the age of 108.
Bertha’s faith was important to her and she was an active member of the First Methodist Church. She was said to be a natural leader with a great managerial mind. No doubt, this helped her in the administration of 12 neighborhood church circles. The generous hospitality of the Bradt home was renowned, with Bertha as the gracious hostess welcoming young and old with poise. All church dignitaries were entertained at the Bradt home. During the 1920s, Bertha called on all new families in town, welcoming them and inquiring if they were interested in Methodism. She was tireless in her zeal for the church’s growth.
A woman of action, Bertha was one of the women belonging to a local literary society who formed that group into the DeKalb Woman’s Club in 1896. Bertha was an officer of the club, and also held office in the Woman’s Club of Illinois. Her leadership skills served her well as a pioneer in the Illinois Parents-Teachers Association, where she was a member of the state board. Bertha was involved in various home economics education programs, and had leadership roles in the home economics department of the Illinois Farmers’ Institute and DeKalb County Home Bureau, which became the Cooperative Extension Service and Homemakers Extension Association, respectively.
Later in her life, Bertha studied genealogy, was awarded a fellowship in the National Genealogical Society, and became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She died in March of 1953, at the age of 86. A silver tea and coffee service was presented to the Methodist Church in her memory.