Left Window, East Side: Bradbury

The first stained glass window on the left aisle as you entered May Memorial Church from the James Street foyer, was one that depicted the white robed Jesus as the Teacher. He was seated on a stone under the overhanging branches of a tree. Its green leaves cast shadows onto the walls of an ancient building against which two men were leaning and intently listening to Jesus as he empha­sized his words with his outstretched right hand – palm up – to a young lad who stood before Him. When the north light shown through this window, Jesus’ robes were seen in a misty glow that brought out the brilliance of the men’s red and brown-gold garments, and the bright blue of the lad’s short, cord-tied tunic. The lifelike expressions in the faces of the four figures gave evidence of the maker’s skill and artistry. Especially appeal­ing was the childlike confidence of the little lad whose hand was held in Jesus’ hand and rested on His knee. The traceries of the top oval section were decorations con­sisting of three cream-white circles against a background of reds and brown mosaics. The center and largest of the circles’ motifs was of a dove in flight against a non-blue sky; the smaller circles, one on each side, were wreaths of cream colored leaves with sparkling red centers. At the lower center of the glass window is the simple cap­tion “Bradbury,” set in and framed in red and white mosaic against a deep cream background. Adjoining it, in a like frame, were the words: “In Memory of Our Teacher.”

This narrow lancet window was built in harmony with the other five “painted windows,” differing only in their several motifs. The picture scenes cover the main section of the glass and were not divided by a center mullion. The "cames" joined pieces were supported by the horizontal “tee” bars, ends fastened to the side mullions, and then secured to the window frames. The glass sections of each window were decorated with a four inch mosaic border that harmonized with the colors in its respective window. In the Bradbury window this border was of dusty reds, light browns, and cream.

Amelia Bradbury, a teacher, died in Syracuse, September 12, 1850 and was buried on the crest of the old Rose Hill cemetery in the Fourth Ward. She was born in Kennebunkport, Maine, May 1st, 1797, of parents of moderate means and of Revolutionary ancestors. Amelia attended the schools in the village, which was one of the home ports of the great Whaling fleet period. Later she attended schools of higher education elsewhere.

In her maturity, she was one of the most widely known teachers of her era, and blessed with a friendly, benevolent personality; she was a scientist of rare abilities, a botanist, and organizer of literary societies – she founded the Syracuse Lyceum – and was a lecturer. She was the first teacher known to have introduced extended study of mental and moral philosophy in her school curriculums. Her aim was to bring the miracles of nature under observation so as to make the wonders of crea­tion plainer, and to enlighten her pupils with facts and teachings.

She came to Syracuse and established her first school in 1838 in the vicinity of Montgomery and State Streets. With increasing en­rollment, she moved her school to a larger house on Vanderbilt Square, probably the site of the present University Building; and the third move was to a spacious home opposite the present St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Fayette and Montgomery Streets. It was here that she established her Academy for Young Ladies in the fall of 1840. Many of her pupils were from families living in James Street homes and she had among her students children from prominent Unitarian families, including Lewis, Wilkinson, Phelps, Cogswell, Putnam, Parker, and Wallace. A number of her former students became donors of the stained glass window. A portrait of Amelia and some other information can be found in Box 1 of the MMUUS archival material, The Rev. Storer era, delivered to the Syracuse University archives in 1998. She signed our membership book in 1844.