Hadley was born in Springfield, Tennessee, in 1920. He attended Peabody College in Nashville, and was a graduate of and teacher at Parsons School of Design, in New York City and Paris. He trained with the South's best-known decorator, A. Herbert Rodgers.
After serving overseas in World War II, Hadley studied and taught at Parsons and then formed his own studio. He next worked at the distinguished New York design firm of McMillen, Inc. and co-founded Parish-Hadley, Associates (1962–1999). His long-time design partner was Sister Parish. Lauded with numerous international design awards for his creative output, he worked in a variety of styles, including modern, Victorian, and Georgian.
Hadley's clients included former Vice President Albert Gore and Tipper Gore, Babe Paley and William S. Paley, Oscar de la Renta and Annette de la Renta, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Ambassador and Mrs. Henry Grunwald, Dr. and Mrs. G. Patrick Maxwell, Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Mrs. Brooke Astor, and the Astor and Getty families.
- Weber, Bruce (30 March 2012). "Albert Hadley, High Society's Decorator, Dies at 91". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Christopher Mason (2005-04-05). "Too much beige: interior decorator Albert Hadley has some strong words for young designers.". New York. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
- Interior Design Hall of Fame profile