Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 9515
Bradley, James C., 1910-1984, interviewee
James C. Bradley Oral History Interviews, 1974-1978
James C. Bradley (1910-1984) was a Smithsonian administrator responsible for planning and development of programs and facilities. After receiving a B.S. in civil engineering from the Catholic University of America in 1931, he served as an engineering administrator for the District of Columbia Government from 1935 to 1945. He worked as a budget and legislative analyst in the Bureau of the Budget from 1945 to 1950. Bradley then joined the Department of the Interior as principal assistant to the Under Secretary from 1950 to 1953, and as engineering and administrative assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1953 to 1959.
In 1959, Bradley came to the Smithsonian as Assistant to the Secretary and in 1960 he was appointed Assistant Secretary. Bradley was responsible for administrative, fiscal, and legislative planning for the Institution. His special responsibilities included securing legislation authorizing a National Portrait Gallery (NPG); securing authorizations and appropriations to renovate the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries; securing appropriations for the wings of the Natural History Building; securing appropriations for a National Air and Space Museum (NASM); establishing administrative procedures for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO); securing legislation and appropriations for the capital improvement program for the National Zoological Park (NZP); securing authorizing legislation and appropriations for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG); preparing Congressional testimony; negotiating the Hillwood bequest; establishing the Office of Audits; and securing a site, authorization, and appropriations for a Museum Support Center.
Bradley received a Smithsonian Achievement Award in 1963 and the Smithsonian Exceptional Service Award in 1966. When the Board of Regents created the title of Under Secretary in 1970, Bradley assumed that position. After his retirement in 1972, he continued to serve the Institution as Consultant to the Secretary for Management and Planning and was an honorary Research Associate of the Institution until his death.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
James C. Bradley was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his central role in the Smithsonian administration for over twenty years.
Bradley was interviewed by Miriam S. Freilicher and Pamela M. Henson in nineteen sessions from 1974 to 1978. The interviews cover Bradley's career at the Smithsonian, especially his administrative, fiscal, and legislative responsibilities for programs and capital improvements.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Bradley, James C., 1910-1984
- Carmichael, Leonard, 1898-1973
- Ripley, S. Dillon (Sidney Dillon), 1913-2001
- Henson, Pamela M., interviewer
- Freilicher, Miriam S., interviewer
- Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Consultant for Management and Planning
- Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Assistant to the Secretary
- National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)
- Hillwood Museum (Washington, D.C.)
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Smithsonian Institution. Museum Support Center
- National Air and Space Museum (U.S.)
- National Zoological Park (U.S.)
- National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)
- Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Smithsonian Institution. Assistant Secretary
- Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Under Secretary
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9515, James C. Bradley Oral History Interviews