Hadley was born in Springfield, Tennessee, in 1920. He attended Peabody College in Nashville, and was a graduate of (and later a teacher at) Parsons School of Design in New York City and Paris. After graduating, he trained with one of the South's best-known decorators, A. Herbert Rodgers.
After serving overseas in World War II, Hadley studied and taught at Parsons, formed his own design studio, worked for a time at the distinguished New York interior design firm of McMillen, Inc., and then co-founded Parish-Hadley, Associates (1962–1999) with his long-time design partner, 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 various members of 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 Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine