Robert F. Bradford, Governor

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Robert Fiske Bradford

Birthdate: (81)
Death: 1983 (81)
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward Hickling Bradford and <private> Fisk
Father of Ann Hickling Bradford

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Immediate Family

About Robert F. Bradford, Governor

Robert Fiske Bradford (December 15, 1902 – March 18, 1983) was an American politician who served one term as the 57th Governor of Massachusetts, from 1947 to 1949.


Bradford was born in Boston, Massachusetts. The scion of an old traditional New England Yankee Brahmin family, his father was a successful physician and dean of Harvard Law School. He graduated from the elite Browne and Nichols School, and from Harvard University in 1923.

A Republican, Mr. Bradford entered politics by serving as Executive Secretary to Governor Joseph Ely, and later worked on the gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns of Leverett Saltonstall. In 1938, he was elected District Attorney of Middlesex County, and served in that position from 1939 to 1945, when he became Lieutenant Governor under Democratic Governor Maurice J. Tobin. In 1946, Bradford challenged and defeated Tobin, and served as Governor from 1947 to 1949.

As Governor, Bradford governed in the fashion of his mentor, Leverett Saltonstall, with an emphasis on fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. During his administration, he advanced balanced budgets and intervened to prevent protracted strikes, which would be deleterious to the interests of business and the broader public. His administration worked to promote public housing for veterans and prevent alcoholism through treatment and prevention programs. In 1947, he chaired the "Silent Guest" program in which Americans were encouraged to donate the cash equivalent of one setting of Thanksgiving dinner to the starving poor in post-war Europe. Bradford was defeated in his first reelection attempt.

He returned to the private practice of law, and later in life served as President of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Composer Leroy Anderson, who penned such classics as "Sleigh Ride" and "Blue Tango", wrote a piece entitled "Governor Bradford March" that was premiered on July 6, 1948 at a concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. Governor Bradford made a special appearance.

Bradford's daughter, Ann, was the wife of U.S. Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland.

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Robert F. Bradford, Governor's Timeline

Age 26
Age 81