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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9515

Bradley, James C. 1910-1984 interviewee

Oral history interviews with James C. Bradley, 1974-1978

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Bradley, James C. 1910-1984 interviewee
Title: Oral history interviews with James C. Bradley
Dates: 1974-1978
Quantity: 26 audiotapes (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9515
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These interviews of Bradley by Miriam S. Freilicher and Pamela M. Henson cover his responsibilities for administrative, fiscal, and legislative planning at the Smithsonian from 1959 to 1978, especially for program development and capital improvement of the National Collection of Fine Arts, the Hillwood Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum Support Center, National Air and Space Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Zoological Park, and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and his work with Secretaries Leonard Carmichael and S. Dillon Ripley.

Historical Note

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.

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Introduction

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.

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Descriptive Entry

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.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9515, Bradley, James C. 1910-1984 interviewee, Oral history interviews with James C. Bradley

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Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview 1: 9 April 1974

Box 1 of 1
Covers his education, and early career, c. 1910-1965, including work in the with the District of Columbia Government
career at the Bureau of the Budget;
work at the Department of the Interior; his early career at the Smithsonian Institution as Assistant to the Secretary and Assistant Secretary; his work with SAO, NASM, and the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries; Smithsonian administrative procedures; and reminiscences of Leonard Carmichael.
Transcript, pp 1-30, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 2: 17 April 1974

Box 1 of 1
Covers the administrative procedures of the Office of the Secretary, c. 1959-1968, including the establishment of the Office of the General Counsel; Leonard Carmichael's role as Secretary, especially in the development of the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT) and the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries; and the long range planning and growth of the Institution.
Transcript, pp 31-49, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 3: 27 November 1974

Box 1 of 1
Covers his three initial assignments at the Smithsonian, c. 1959-1965, including establishing administrative procedures for SAO; securing appropriations for a NASM; work with the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries, focusing on securing and renovating the Patent Office Building and securing legislation for the NPG.
Transcripts, pp 50-62, of audio recordings, 1 hour.

Interview 4: 11 March 1974

Box 1 of 1
Continues covering his Smithsonian career, c. 1959-1975, including the National Portrait Gallery Commission and securing executive level positions from the Civil Service Commission for the NPG; the public versus private nature of the Smithsonian; administrative impetus for new projects; role of the Board of Regents;and the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board.
Transcript, pp. 63-84, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 5: 26 March 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers management policies, c. 1959-1972, including policies for federal appropriations, trust funds, and contracts and grants; Civil Service Commission rulings concerning trust fund employees;and the development of SAO headquarters in Cambridge, especially management procedures.
Transcript pp. 85-124, of audio recording 1.5 hours.

Interview 6: 1 April, 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers his administrative responsibilities for the SAO, c. 1959-1972, especially the development of a contract relationship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Transcript pp. 125-144, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 7: 9 April 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers his administrative responsibilities for the SAO, c.1959-1973, including the development of the Mount Hopkins Observatory; the formation of the Office of Contracts and Grants; and the merger of SAO and the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) into the Center for Astrophysics (CFA).
Transcript pp. 145-160, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 8: 16 April 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers the negotiations for the SAO/HCO merger into the CFA, c. 1959-1973.
Transcript pp. 161-171, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 9: 30 May 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers the CFA, c. 1959-1973, including the development of the multi-mirror telescope.
Transcript pp. 172-182, of audio recordings, 0.5 hour.

Interview 10: 4 June 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers SAO, c. 1959-1975, including the development of the Multiple-Mirror Telescope with the University of Arizona; and the early planning for NASM.
Transcript pp. 183-198, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 11: 27 June 1975

Box 1 of 1
Covers the development of NASM, c. 1959-1975, including the hearings held by the Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Library and Memorials in July of 1970.
Transcript pp. 199-224, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 12: 10 March 1976

Box 1 of 1
Covers the July 1970 hearings on the Smithsonian held by the Subcommittee on Library and Memorials, c. 1959-1972, including the Museum Support Center (MSC); NASM; the HMSG; the General Accounting Office audit; disposition of art works by the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA); and a proposal for parabolic receiver and transmitter for the SAO.
Transcript pp. 225-246, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 13: 6 April 1976

Box 1 of 1
Covers the establishment of the HMSG, c. 1964-1976, including:
the negotiations with Joseph H. Hirshhorn and Lyndon Baines Johnson;
removal of the Armed Forces Museum of Pathology from the site;
redesign due to increased construction costs;
and the relocation of the sculpture garden.
Transcript pp. 247-265, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 14: 4 May 1976

Box 1 of 1
Covers the legislative history of the HMSG, c. 1964-1972.
Transcript pp. 266-279, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 15: 5 August 1976

Box 1 of 1
Covers Bradley's role in museum development, c. 1959-1976, including the construction of the NMHT; the establishment of the NPG;and preliminary work on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Transcripts pp. 280-289, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 16: 30 November 1976

Box 1 of 1
Covers the capital improvement program for the NZP, c.1959-1975.
Transcript pp. 290-302, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 17: 3 February 1977

Box 1 of 1
Covers the bequest by Marjorie Merriweather Post of her Hillwood estate to the Smithsonian, c. 1961-1977.
Transcript pp. 303-321, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 18: 12 May 1977

Box 1 of 1
Covers more of Bradley's administrative duties, c. 1959-1972, including the establishment of the Office of Audits; securing appropriations for the Natural History Building Wings; and early planning for the MSC.
Transcript pp. 322-342, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 19: 7 November 1978

Box 1 of 1
Covers the development of the MSC, c. 1959-1978, including the site acquisition; authorizing legislation; and authorizing appropriations.
Transcript pp. 343-363, of audio recording, 2 hours.

Recordings of Interviews

Session 1: 9 April 1974

Box 1 of 1
Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 2: 17 April 1974

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 3: 27 November 1974

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 4: 11 March 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 5: 26 March 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 6: 1 April 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 7: 9 April 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 8: 16 April 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 9: 30 May 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 30 minutes
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 10: 4 June 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 11: 27 June 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 12: 10 March 1976

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 13: 6 April 1976

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 14: 4 May 1976

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 15: 5 August 1976

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 16: 30 November 1976

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 17: 3 February 1977

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette tape

Session 18: 12 May 1977

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Session 19: 7 November 1978

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassette tapes