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Milton Bradley

Born: 8-Nov-1836
Birthplace: Vienna, ME
Died: 30-May-1911
Location of death: Springfield, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, MA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Educator

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Board games

Milton Bradley worked as a draftsman, patent agent, and lithographer, and owned the first color lithography shop in Massachusetts. When business slowed he devised and started printing copies of what he called The Checkered Game of Life. Introduced in 1860 and considered to be the first "family board game", it was an instant success, and in 1864 Bradley and his business partners formed Milton Bradley & Company. He bought out his partners in 1878, and re-named the business the Milton Bradley Company. The company's other early products included jigsaw puzzles, croquet rules and sets, and zoetropes -- spinning, slitted drums which, when pre-printed picture sheets were inserted, create the illusion of moving pictures.

Bradley was a firm believer in German educator Friedrich Froebel's then-radical notion of kindergarten as a cornerstone of childhood education, and pushed the idea in America with an almost evangelical zeal. He published the first English translation of Froebel's Paradise of Childhood, and established the first kindergarten in Springfield, Massachusetts -- and taught there, along with his wife. Bradley wrote several books advocating use of the six primary colors as part of early childhood education, and calling for a standardized system of color identification, enabling distant print shops to publish the same works in the same colors. During his lifetime, a major part of the Milton Bradley Company's business involved educational materials, including phonetics-based reading instruction guides, and Work & Play, an educational magazine for children.

Since Bradley's death in 1911, the business he founded has introduced such enjoyable diversions as Battleship in 1931, Chutes and Ladders in 1943, Yahtzee in 1956, Operation in 1965, Twister in 1966, and Connect Four in 1975. To celebrate the company's centennial, Bradley's original game was re-designed and re-introduced, its name shortened to The Game of Life, in 1960. The Milton Bradley Company became a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1984, and Parcheesi and Scrabble became Milton Bradley games after being purchased by Hasbro in 1989.

Father: Lewis Bradley (craftsman)
Mother: Fannie Lyford Bradley
Wife: Vilona Eaton Bradley (m. 1860, d. 1862)
Wife: Ellen Thayer Bradley ("Nellie", school teacher, m. 1869, two daughters)

    High School: Lowell High School, Lowell, MA
    University: Harvard University (attended)

    Hasbro Milton Bradley Co., Founder & President (1864)
    National Education Association (1892)

Author of books:
Color in the School Room (1890)
Color in the Kindergarten (1893)
Elementary Color (1895)
Water Colors in the Schoolroom (1900)


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