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James E. Bradford collection

James E. Bradford Collection

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Open Finding Aid

Finding aid for the James E. Bradford Collection


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Bradford, James E., 1917-1987
Title: James E. Bradford Collection
Dates: 1943-1960
Quantity: 1.0 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains letters to and from Sergeant James E. Bradford, an Arkansan soldier in the Pacific Theatre of WWII.
Identification: MSS.03.10
Language: English


This collection is arranged chronologically according to correspondence recipient.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters to and from Sergeant James E. Bradford, an Arkansan soldier in the Pacific Theatre of WWII.

Biographical Note

James Edmond Bradford was born to John D. and Myrtle M. Bradford in Little Rock, Arkansas ,on June 6, 1917. At that time, John D. worked as a clerk at the Knox Pharmacy in Little Rock. By 1920, he established and owned the Bradford Pharmacy on West 2nd Street. Unfortunately, this was a short-lived venture, as records show that within two years someone else owned the business. John D. began to drift from job to job and and address to address in Little Rock proper for most of the 1920s. Eventually, the family moved to San Antonio, Texas, where John D. supported the family, again, as a drug clerk. In late 1930, the Bradford family returned to Arkansas. Myrtle Bradford died soon thereafter in Fort Smith at the home of her daughter, Helen Raney, wife of Dallas P. Raney. John D. Bradford died three years later, in 1933, leaving James a fifteen-year old orphan. Bradford's letters indicate that he completed high school in Little Rock and the city directories reveal that James was living with his sister and brother-in-law at their Little Rock home in the late 1930s. He resided there while attending Little Rock Junior College and Hendrix College. During Bradford's college career, he was a feature editor for the college newspapers of both schools; also, he was on the yearbook staffs for both colleges. In addition, Bradford was a member of the Delta Sigma fraternity at Hendrix College.

Bradford joined the Army after the United States entered World War II. He served as an instructor in Army radio school at Scott Field, Illinois, for over two years before being transferred to the west coast and eventually Okinawa. In the spring of 1944, James married Elsa Ruth Sanders, daughter of prominent Little Rock couple, Beatrice and Fred W. Sanders. Bradford was en route to Okinawa when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki, Japan. With the end of the war and after nearly four years of service, he looked forward to leaving the Pacific Theater and the Army. Bradford's almost daily letters spanning four months during this time are the foundation of this collection. The letters to Elsa end as Bradford is expecting to receive his return orders. After the war, Bradford's marriage to Elsa eventually dissolved. Current research reveals that James E. Bradford died in the village of Belknap, Johnson County, Illinois on December 19, 1987.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Bradford, James E., 1917-1987
World War, 1939-1945 -- Arkansas.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James E. Bradford Collection, MSS 03-10, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Howard Norton, 2003

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