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Fall 2004 • Volume 10, Issue 4

Art connects two famous Peorians

Bust of Lydia BradleyFitzgerald (Fritz) Triebel, the famous sculptor known for his Defense of the Flag monument in front of the Peoria County Courthouse, and Lydia Moss Bradley are connected by a work of art. His family, native Peorians, owned a successful marble business. Triebel left his family and Peoria at the age of 16 when he began an apprenticeship in Chicago; he later went on to study art in New York and Boston. At the age of 18, Triebel began his path to fame when he received a scholarship to study art in Florence, Italy; he finished his studies in Italy and later established a studio there.

It was in his studio in Rome that Triebel used photos of Lydia Moss Bradley, another famous Peorian, and carved a bust of her out of Carrarra marble. This bust is one-third larger than life-size and was presented to Bradley University at graduation ceremonies in June 1899. At first the bust was kept veiled, except for special occasions, a practice that prompted student complaints in the December 1899 issue of The Tech. After the bust survived the 1963 fire in Bradley Hall, it was kept in the possession of the University, but was relocated. Today, Lydia Moss Bradley’s bust is uncovered and can be found in an alcove in the Founders’ Room of the Hartmann Center.