James E. Bradford papers, 1888-1933

Overview of the Collection

Bradford, James E.
James E. Bradford papers
1888-1933 (inclusive)
.21 cubic feet (1 box)
Collection Number
0945 (Accession No. 0945-001)
Political activist, public official of Seattle, Washington
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Material stored offsite; advance notice required for use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James E. Bradford (1868-1958) was a lawyer, public official, and politician in Seattle during the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in Minnesota in 1868 and completed his law degree at the University of Minnesota in 1894. Bradford moved to Seattle in 1900. He began working for the city's Corporation Counsel in 1906 and was elected by the City Council to finish the incumbent's term in 1911. He successfully ran for the office in 1912. As Corporation Counsel, Bradford handled the city's litigation and the assessment and condemnation of property. He evinced a special interest in enforcing the minimum wage, regulating utility rates, and fighting graft and prostitution. He held this office until 1916. Bradford unsuccessfully ran for Washington State governor in 1916 and for mayor of Seattle in 1918 as a Progressive (a reformist off-shoot of the Republican Party). He later acted as counsel for the Port of Seattle. During the Great Depression, he held state directorships of the National Recovery Act, the Federal Housing Administration, and the National Emergency Council. He retired from public service in 1936 and returned to private legal practice. He retired from the Bar in 1956, shortly before his death in Seattle in 1958.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The James E. Bradford correspondence, speeches and other materials consists primarily of letters, writings, clippings, and other ephemera relating to Bradford's work as Corporation Counsel of Seattle, his legal practice, and his work as a political activist and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workers. Dates range from 1888 to 1933. The material reflects Bradford's interests in child welfare and minimum wage regulations, municipal home rule for Seattle, Washington, and women's rights in Washington State. Correspondents include officials from the City of Everett, including W. H. Clay (Mayor) and Louis Leshi (City Clerk); the Seattle City Council; and Hiram C. Gill, Mayor of Seattle. The collection also include an offprint of the poem, "The Great Refusal," signed by its author, Gottfried Hult, and the typescript of another work by Hult, as well as the typescript of an address given by Bradford's wife, Lavena Bradford.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

See also James E. Bradford scrapbooks (F899.S453 B73 1889) in the Special Collections Division, University of Washington Libraries.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mrs. James E. Bradford, 7/10/1968

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1/1 Thibault, A.H. incoming correspondence 1933
1/1 Everett Mayor incoming correspondence 1915
1/1 Everett City Council incoming correspondence 1915
1/2 Outgoing Correspondence 1915, 1933
1/3 Clippings re: Municipal Ownership
1/4 Ephemera
1/5 Notes re: Municipal Ownership
1/6 Case, Otto A speeches and writings
1/7 Child Welfare speeches and writings
1/8 Employment speeches and writings
1/9 Home Rule speeches and writings
1/10-11 Miscellaneous Reports
1/12 Public Ownership speeches and writings
1/13 Women's Rights speeches and writings

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Child welfare--Washington (State)
  • Fraternal organizations--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Lawyers--Washington (State)--Seattle--20th century
  • Lawyers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Correspondence
  • Minimum wage--Law and legislation--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Municipal home rule--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Bradford, James E.--Archives
  • Clay, W. H
  • Gill, Hiram C., 1866-1919
  • Hult, Gottfried, 1869---Poetry
  • Thibault, A. H

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Corporation Counsel

Geographical Names

  • Everett (Wash.)--Officials and employees--Correspondence
  • Everett (Wash.)--Politics and government--20th century
  • Seattle (Wash.)--Officials and employees--Correspondence
  • Seattle (Wash.)--Politics and government--20th century

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Bradford, Lavena (creator)
    Corporate Names
    • Everett (Wash.). City Council (creator)
    • Seattle (Wash.). City Council (creator)