New Canaan Now & Then: Emma J. Bradley Burt Brown Kull


110 Forest St.

“New Canaan Now & Then” is presented in partnership with the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society.

In honor of Women’s History Month, this week’s article focuses on Emma J. Bradley Burt Brown Kull, a local businesswoman who lived at 110 Forest Street. 

Ca. 1909 photo of Emma J. Bradley Burt Brown Kull, courtesy of the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society.

Ms. Emma Josphine Hubbard was born in Walcott, Connecticut. Miss. Kull, or as she was known at the time, Mrs. Emma J. Bradley, opened the Daylight Bakery in the Oddfellows building (86-90 Main Street) in April of 1911. The bakery also served as a quasi-general store where she kept her wallpaper books for her customers’ use.  Her son, Charles Bradley drove the delivery wagon for the bakery. 

The business was applauded for its cozy cheerful atmosphere. and “cheerful green and white decor.” Only a few short months later, Mrs. Bradley sold the bakery to F.J. Brodbeck and John H. Haupt, presumably to concentrate on her decorating business. Mrs. Bradley, who was also heavily involved in the Women’s Relief Corporation, became acting secretary in December 1911, and president in the 1930s. She was also a member of the DAR, the Daughters of Liberty, Degree of Pochahontas, and the Hazel Rebekah Lodge. She held positions in all of these organizations as well.

Ms. Kull was married four times and added each of her husband’s surnames to her own. Her first husband was Wilson Bradley and they had one son, Charles. Her second husband, Julius Burt, was a blacksmith at 20 Forest Street. Julius Burt died in July 1917 and Emma was his executrix. In a September 1989 article in the New Canaan Advertiser, she is described as “a big husky woman, a decorator and paper hanger who also did outside painting.” There are many accounts of Ms. Brown’s expertise as a decorator and she is credited with redecorating some of the rooms in the Raymond Building (108-112 Main Street), the New Canaan Library, and various private homes. At the time of her death she had been in business for thirty six years, twenty six of which were in New Canaan.

In April 1919, she married Wilson R. Brown of Mt. Kisco. Their shared involvement in the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Canaan was instrumental in their relationship and the Reverend James MacMillan officiated. The New Canaan Advertiser’s “Nostalgia Corner” dated September 28, 1989 reported that the children jokingly referred to her as “Mrs. Badly Burnt Brown.” Her fourth and final husband, Samuel Kull, was unable to be located at the time of her death in 1935. The New Canaan Advertiser of January 16, 1936 and January 30, 1936 provided notice of foreclosure against Mr. Kull. Emma J. Bradley Burt Brown Kull’s obituary reads “she donned working clothes and wielded paintbrushes and hung paper with an ability unusual in her sex and supervised the men who worked for her.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *