James Bedford

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James Hiram Bedford (20 April 1893 – 12 January 1967) was a University of California psychology professor who wrote several books on occupational counseling.[1] He is the first person whose body was cryonically preserved (frozen) after legal death, and who remains cryopreserved.[2][3][4] Among those in the cryonics community, the anniversary of his cryonic preservation is celebrated as "Bedford Day".

Cryonic body preservation[edit]

In June 1965, Ev Cooper’s Life Extension Society (LES) offered to preserve one person free of charge, stating that "the Life Extension Society now has primitive facilities for emergency short term freezing and storing our friend the large homeotherm (man). LES offers to freeze free of charge the first person desirous and in need of cryogenic suspension” and Bedford offered and was accepted as this candidate. Bedford had kidney cancer that had metastasized to his lungs and was untreatable at that time.[5] Bedford also left $100,000 to cryonics research in his will, but more than this amount was spent by Bedford's wife and son defending his will and cryonics suspension wishes in court from claims by other relatives.[5]

Bedford's body was frozen a few hours after he died of natural causes related to his cancer.[5] His body was frozen by Robert Prehoda (author of the 1969 book Suspended Animation), Dr. Dante Brunol (physician and biophysicist) and Robert Nelson (President of the Cryonics Society of California). Nelson then wrote a book about the subject titled We Froze the First Man. Modern cryonics organizations perfuse cryonics patients with an anti-freeze (cryoprotectant) to prevent ice formation (vitrification), but the use of cryoprotectants in Bedford's case was primitive. He was injected with DMSO, so it is unlikely that his brain was protected. At first, his body was stored at Edward Hope's Cryo-Care facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for two years, then in 1969 moved to the Galiso facility in California. Bedford was moved from Galiso in 1973 to Trans Time near Berkeley, California, until 1977, before being stored by Bedford's son for many years.[5]

Bedford's body was maintained in liquid nitrogen by his family in southern California until 1982, when it was then moved to Alcor Life Extension Foundation, and has remained in Alcor's care to the present day.[6] In May 1991, his body's condition was evaluated when he was moved to a new storage dewar. The examiners concluded that "it seems likely that his external temperature has remained at relatively low subzero temperatures throughout the storage interval."[7]

Personal life[edit]

Bedford was married twice. His first wife, Anna Chandler Rice, died in 1917, the same year they were married. Bedford married his second wife, Rudy McLagan in 1920. They had five children: Doris, Donald, Frances, Barbara and Norman. He enjoyed traveling extensively and photography.[5]


  • Vocational interests of high-school students. University of California School of education, Division of vocational education. 1930. 
  • Youth and the world's work: Vocational adjustment of youth in the modern world. Society for Occupational Research. 1938. 
  • Vocational interests of secondary school students. Society for Occupational Research, University of California Station. 1938. 
  • Occupational exploration: A guide to personal and occupational adjustment. Society for Occupational Research. 1941. 
  • The veteran and his future job: A guide-book for the veteran. Society for Occupational Research. 1946. 
  • Your future job: A guide to personal and occupational orientation of youth. Society for Occupational Research. 1950. 
  • Your future job: A guide to personal and occupational orientation of youth in the atomic age. Society for Occupational Research. 1956. 


  1. ^ Cook, Robert Cecil, ed. Who's Who in American Education, 1928, p. 63.
  2. ^ Perry, Mike. "A Freezing Before Bedford’s". Physical Immortality 2(2) 7 (2nd Q 2004). Depressed metabolism. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  3. ^ GALEN PRESS Medical Book Extras SOULS ON ICE
  4. ^ "Dr James Hiram Bedford". Find A Grave. July 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Dear Dr. Bedford (and those who will care for you after I do)". Cryonics. July 1991. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  6. ^ Perry, R. Michael (1992). "Suspension Failures: Lessons from the Early Years". Cryonics. Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  7. ^ "Evaluation of the Condition of Dr. James H. Bedford After 24 Years of Cryonic Suspension". Alcor Life Extension Foundation. August 1991. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 

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