Bridgman, a graduate of Stanford University, and former USN gunnery officer on a destroyer, received his doctorate from Stanford University in 1961 and spent his entire teaching career at the University of Washington. His particular area of expertise was modern European history. He was the recipient of the university's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1973. His popularity as a speaker earned him a position lecturing to the annual meeting of the UW Alumni Association from 1987 to 2002, and the alumni have rewarded his retirement by donating funds to endow the Jon Bridgman Professorship in History at the University of Washington.
He taught classes on topics related to his own Past and Present Society, a club for students of history and Bridgman enthusiasts. As a historical writer, he published several works such as The Revolt of the Hereros (Perspectives on Southern Africa) and The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps.
- Bridgman, Jon. (1981). The Revolt of the Hereros. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Bridgman, Jon; Hutton Jones, Richard. (1990) The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps. Areopagitica Press.
- "Jon "Jack" Marshall Bridgman", The Seattle Times, April 26, 2015
- Whitworth University Press Release: For Immediate Release April 20, 2005 University of Washington Historian to Present May 2 Lecture on German Prisoners of War Archived March 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Katjavivi, P. H. (1984). [Review of] The Revolt of the Hereros. Journal of Southern African Studies, 11, 1, 172-173.
- Isaacman, A. (1983). [Review of] The Revolt of the Hereros. Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines, 17, 1, 134-136
- Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (1984). [Review of] The Revolt of the Hereros. The English Historical Review, 99, 390, 217.
- Bates, M. L. (1982). [Review of] The Revolt of the Hereros. The American Historical Review, 87, 1, 234.
- Dale, R. (1982). [Review of] The Revolt of the Hereros. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 20, 3, 542-544.
- Stern, F. (1991). [Review of] The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps. Foreign Affairs, 70, 2, 189.
- An article on Bridgman's retirement and the creation of the endowed professorship
- "Upon Reflection: Understanding History". UW TV. 1987. An interview of Jon Bridgman on the topic of history.
- A documentary narrated by Bridgman