Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ken Bradbury  

Pen Name: Freida Marie Crump

Genre: Fiction History

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1955 in Quincy, Illinois

Died: 2018 in Springfield, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Wikipedia --
-- Ken Bradbury on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bradbury was born in Quincy. He was raised in Perry and adopted Arenzville as his “other” hometown. Ken was a 1967 graduate of Perry High School and graduated in 1971 from Illinois College in Jacksonville.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ken Bradbury attended Illinois College, where he was a member of Pi Pi Rho Literary Society. He taught at Triopia Jr. Sr. High School in Concord Illinois for 35 years and was the founding director of the Green Pastures Camp for the Performing Arts, which hosted over 400 students each summer for over 30 years. After retiring from Triopia schools, Ken played the piano on the Spirit of Peoria Riverboat on the Illinois River and served as an adjunct professor of theatre for Lincoln Land Community College.

Throughout his life, Ken was a prolific playwright with over 300 published plays and musicals. He wrote and directed dozens of plays to sold out crowds in Concord and throughout the region. His works included biographical plays about people like Abraham Lincoln, Robert Earl Hughes, and Vachel Lindsey as well as area histories, which he brought to life by working with local casts intimately acquainted with the area. Ken also thrilled audiences by occasionally gracing the stage himself. Along with co-author Robert Crowe, Bradbury won the Lincoln Library Award for the play “The Shadow of Giants.”

In addition to being a popular playwright, Ken wrote two newspaper columns that ran in 14 papers - one being the Associated Press award-winning ''The Coonridge Digest''. The column was a weekly observation of Freida Marie Crump, news correspondent from fictional Coonridge, Illinois. He also authored seven books. He was the most published author of speech and forensic material for school speech competitions in the United States.

Besides his writing accomplishments, Ken earned several awards throughout his lifetime. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from MacMurray College and a Doctor of Arts from Illinois College. He received the Friend of the Arts Award from WIU, the best humor column by the Associated Press, the McGaw Citation for Excellence from Illinois College, the Studs Turkel Humanities Award by the Illinois Arts Council, and the WICS Golden Apple Award. He was named the Outstanding Teacher of the Year by Eastern Illinois University and was inducted into the Jacksonville Hall of Fame.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Coonridge Digest
ISBN: 0964468107

Consortium. 1994

Humorous and sometimes biting comments from the mythical Freida Marie Crump, news correspondent from Coonridge, Illinois. This is a series of columns from syndicated columnist Ken Bradbury.

Around the World with Freida Marie Crump
ISBN: 0964468123

Consortium Publishing Company. 1999

Freida Marie Crump (a.k.a. Ken Bradbury) and husband Herb travel around the world. The news correspondent from Coonridge, Illiois, takes on the Russians, the Aussies and everyone in between. Everyone who enjoys travel should read this book of humor. Based upon the actual travel of Mr. Bradbury.

Coonridge Devotions
ISBN: 0970717334

Consortium Publishing Company. 2001

Coonridge Devotions is book of humor and insight by Freida Marie Crump, the imaginary and imaginative news correspondent from Coonridge, Illinois. Freida (a.k.a Ken Bradbury) provides 103 observations about our life and times, then concludes each item with a Christian prayer.

ISBN: 0974883018

Consortium Publishing Company. 2005

Ken Bradbury’s fourth book, homerville, is a compelling read, a series of snapshots of the intriguing residents of a small Illinois town in years gone by. Each chapter displays fascinating stories of the lives, and deaths, of the inhabitants of this small-town America. “It’s an affectionate look at the astoundingly peculiar people I’ve known,” said Bradbury. “Nowadays we medicate or relocate or otherwise ‘cure’ our local eccentrics. Frankly, I yearn for the days when they walked the streets in all their unconventional glory. I think that anyone who’s ever lived in a small town will recognize the types and, perhaps, miss them like I do.”