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Bross, William (1813-1890) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Bross, William (1813-1890)

Historical Note:

Willaim Bross, 1813-1890, was a trustee of Lake Forest University from 1864 until his death in 1890.  But he had the University in mind , for by December of 1858 he had determined to give an endowment of $25,000 to the 1857-founded Lind University, the predecessor of Lake Forest University (1865-1965; so designated until 1903, after which Lake Forest College was the common parlance). By the first ecade of the 20th C. the fund had been transferred to the College, and books had begun to be published and lectures given based on the Bross Foundation's income, all relating to religion.  The first book was a reprinting of a 19th C. work of Mark Hopkins's, and Bross's late 1850s correspondence with Hopkins is shelved with these papers, relating to establishing the fund for Lind University.  A large brick Bross house for the religion professor was built in 1890-91 on Middle Campus (demol. 1965), and housed the College President, the Rev. Dr. Herbert McC. Moore, 1920-1942.

Bross was educated at Williams, under Hopkins, Class of 1838, and helped found there the Delta Upsilon fraternity.  He came to Chicago and by 1848 was one of the founders of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, serving as its president and also very likely writing and reporting on affairs at Lake Forst after 1856-57.  He served as Illinois Lt. Governor in 1865-69.  He wrote booster books about Chicago to promote the city in the east.  The Lake Forest endowment was in membory of his son Nathanial who died in chidhood, and his daughter Jessie Bross, married reformer and gadfly, former Tribune reporter, William Demarest Lloyd, living at Winnetka. Lloyd's fiery iconoclasm put him aodds with his father-in-law, but made him a name in reform era America.

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