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Robert F. Bradford

Robert F. Bradford
57th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 1947 – January 6, 1949
Lieutenant Arthur W. Coolidge
Preceded by Maurice J. Tobin
Succeeded by Paul A. Dever
55th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1945 – January 2, 1947
Governor Maurice J. Tobin
Preceded by Horace T. Cahill
Succeeded by Arthur W. Coolidge
Personal details
Born Robert Fiske Bradford
(1902-12-15)December 15, 1902
Boston, Massachusetts
Died March 18, 1983(1983-03-18) (aged 80)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Profession Politician, Lawyer

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


  • Biography 1
  • Legacy 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Bradford was born in Boston, Massachusetts. The scion of an old traditional New England Yankee Brahmin family, his father was a successful physician and dean of Harvard Medical School. Through an entirely paternal line he was a descendant of Mayflower passenger William Bradford (Plymouth Colony governor). He graduated from the elite Browne and Nichols School, and from Harvard University in 1923.

A Republican, Mr. 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 his loss, Bradford returned to the private practice of law, and later in life served as President of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Composer Leroy Anderson, who penned 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.


Bradford's daughter, Ann, was the wife of U.S. Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland.[1]


  1. ^ Ebrahimian, Shirley (March 2005). "A Man for All Seasons". Frederick Magazine. p. A4. 

External links

  • Official Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor Biography
  • Recording of "The Governor's March"
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
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