Robert F. Bradford

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Robert F. Bradford
Robert F. Bradford (Massachusetts Governor).jpg
57th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 1947 – January 6, 1949
LieutenantArthur W. Coolidge
Preceded byMaurice J. Tobin
Succeeded byPaul A. Dever
55th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1945 – January 2, 1947
GovernorMaurice J. Tobin
Preceded byHorace T. Cahill
Succeeded byArthur W. Coolidge
Personal details
Robert Fiske Bradford

(1902-12-15)December 15, 1902
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedMarch 18, 1983(1983-03-18) (aged 80)
Boston, Massachusetts
Resting placeMount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Political partyRepublican
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer

Robert Fiske Bradford (December 15, 1902 – March 18, 1983) was an American lawyer and politician who served one term as the 57th Governor of Massachusetts, from 1947 to 1949.


Bradford was born in Boston, Massachusetts, a scion of an old traditional New England Yankee Brahmin family, and the son of a successful physician and dean of Harvard Medical School. Through an entirely paternal line he was a descendant of Mayflower passenger William Bradford, who became Governor of the Plymouth Colony. He graduated from the Browne and Nichols School, and from Harvard University in 1923. In 1926 he received his law degree from Harvard Law School, was admitted to the bar, and practiced in Boston.

A Republican, Bradford entered politics by serving as Executive Secretary to Governor Joseph Ely and later worked on the gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns of Leverett Saltonstall. In 1938, he was elected District Attorney of Middlesex County and served in that position from 1939 to 1945, when he became Lieutenant Governor under Democratic Governor Maurice J. Tobin. In 1946, Bradford challenged and defeated Tobin, and served as governor from 1947 to 1949.

As Governor, Bradford governed in the fashion of his mentor, Leverett Saltonstall, with an emphasis on fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. During his administration, he advanced balanced budgets and intervened to prevent protracted strikes, which would be deleterious to the interests of business and the broader public. His administration worked to promote public housing for veterans and prevent alcoholism through treatment and prevention programs. In 1947, he chaired the "Silent Guest" program in which Americans were encouraged to donate the cash equivalent of one setting of Thanksgiving dinner to the starving poor in post-war Europe. Bradford was defeated in his bid for re-election in 1948 by former Massachusetts Attorney General Paul A. Dever.

After losing office, Bradford returned to the private practice of law. Later in life he served as President of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Composer Leroy Anderson, who wrote such classics as "Sleigh Ride" and "Blue Tango", wrote a piece entitled "Governor Bradford March" that was premiered on July 6, 1948, at a concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. Governor Bradford made a special appearance.

He died on March 18, 1983 in Boston, Massachusetts, and was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Magnolia Avenue, Lot 3112.[1]


Bradford's daughter, Ann, was the wife of U.S. Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland.[2]



  1. ^ "Grave Search result, Robert F. Bradford". Mount Cambridge, MA: Mount Auburn Cemetery. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Ebrahimian, Shirley (March 2005). "A Man for All Seasons". Frederick Magazine. p. A4.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Horace T. Cahill
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Arthur W. Coolidge
Preceded by
Maurice J. Tobin
Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Paul A. Dever