Myrtle T. Bradford – Pioneer in Banking and Art
Original Works of Art on Display at Bradford National Bank
Myrtle Taylor Bradford was famously known to the art world as an accomplished artist. But few know that she was unanimously elected president of Bradford National Bank in 1925 following the death of her husband, John Bradford, becoming the fourth president in the bank’s history.
She was born on August 22, 1886, in Indianapolis, IN. A graduate of Harvard University, she taught art at the University of Indiana for ten years and then at the State College for Girls in Columbus, MS before settling down in Greenville with husband John Bradford.
The Greenville Advocate reported, “Mrs. Bradford is probably the only lady in the state who has been elevated to the presidency of a bank. In any event, the case is a rare one and this distinction comes to but few women the country over. Mrs. Bradford is a gifted woman in many lines. She is versatile and has good business judgement.”
Following her retirement, she moved to Miami, Florida where she became active in the art scene and creating her own works. For 30 plus years, she was active in the arts and art education activities.
Several of her paintings were shown in Paris. In 1934, the La Revue Moderne, published by the Laureate Magazine Society National de France, classified Mrs. Bradford with world exhibition artists in the National Galleries, calling her, “A Lyric Artist.”
In 1936 she wrote U-le-lah, Florida’s Pocahontas. That same year the Miami Women’s Club established the Myrtle Taylor Bradford Gold Medal Award to be presented annually at the Women’s Club Artist and Writers Breakfast, to the artist, or writer, who is judged to have done outstanding work in the field for the community.
For the past several years, Bradford National Bank has collected several of Bradford’s original art pieces. To commemorate her remarkable life, the bank is displaying those works of art in the lobby of the main bank, located at 100 E. College.
Bradford National Bank was founded in 1867 by James Bradford and his son Samuel, as Bradford and Son’s, Bank. The bank received its national charter in 1910 to become Bradford National Bank. Today, the bank is the 10th oldest in the state of Illinois.