William Bradford Reed (1806–76) was an American politician and journalist, born in Philadelphia.
After graduating at the University of Pennsylvania in 1825 he went to Mexico as private secretary of Joel R. Poinsett, studied law, was elected Pennsylvania Attorney-General (1838), and was made professor of American history at the University of Pennsylvania (1850). In 1857, Reed became Minister to China, where he negotiated the Treaty of June, 1858, and on his return (1860) was active in Democratic Party politics and in New York journalism. For a time he was an American correspondent of The Times. Reed published many controversial and historical pamphlets and contributed essays chiefly to the American Quarterly and the North American Review. He wrote also an excellent Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, his grandfather (1847), and Life of Esther de Berdt, afterward Esther Reed, his grandmother (1853).
His brother was educator Henry Hope Reed.