Robert Fiske Bradford
Painting: by Elmer Westley Greene, 1948

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1947-1949

Born in Boston, Robert F. Bradford's father served as Harvard Medical School's dean and was a successful physician. Bradford attended preparatory school at Brown and Nichols, graduating from Harvard in 1923, and its law school in 1926. He entered politics serving as Executive Secretary to Governor Ely and worked on the gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns of Leverett Saltonstall.

In 1938, Mr. Bradford was elected District Attorney of Middlesex County and won reelection serving until he was elected Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Bradford, a Republican, served under Governor Maurice Tobin, a Democrat, who he challenged and defeated at his first opportunity in 1946. He took office in 1947, and in the fashion of Governor Saltonstall, Bradford governed with an emphasis on fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.

Governor Bradford advanced balanced budgets during his administration. He 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 first reelection attempt. In his later life he served as the President of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.