Martin R. Bradley papers: 1918-1961
Summary Information
Title: Martin R. Bradley papers
Creator: Bradley, Martin R., 1888-
Inclusive dates: 1918-1961
Extent: 2 linear feet
Democratic state representative from Menominee County, Michigan, 1923-1925 and 1927-1935. Correspondence, subject files, and clippings and scrapbooks primarily relating to his legislative career, his participation on the Michigan Legislative Council, and Upper Peninsula political and economic subjects.
Call number: 8572 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Helmi Raaska, November 1984

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was received from Russell W. Bradley (donor no. 7108) in September 1984.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Martin R. Bradley papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Martin R. Bradley was born at Newberry, Michigan, in 1888. While still a child, his family moved to Huron County. He attended Ferris Institute and Central State Teachers College, and then taught in rural schools in Huron County. In 1910 he went to Hermansville, Menominee County, as superintendent of schools, and remained in that position until 1914 when he became an agent for the Reliance Life Insurance Company. Mr. Bradley was also postmaster at Hermansville from 1914 to 1923.

A five-term Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, Mr. Bradley was first elected for one term in 1922, and then was elected to four successive terms beginning in 1926. He was elected speaker of the House for the 1933-1934 session, the first Upper Peninsula representative to be so honored. A bill providing for creation of the Michigan Legislative Council was introduced under Mr. Bradley's sponsorship, and he served as chairman of the Council in 1933-1934. The bipartisan Council met between sessions to formulate a legislative program for submission to the next session.

In 1935 Bradley was appointed collector of customs for Michigan, a post to which he was reappointed several times. From this time on he made his home in the Detroit area, but maintained an active interest in matters relating to the Upper Peninsula.

Collection Scope and Content Note

While the collection dates from 1918-1961, the bulk of the papers are from 1923-1935 and relate to Mr. Bradley's legislative career. The collection has been arranged into four series: Biographical, Correspondence, Topical files, and Scrapbooks. This is a small but rich collection relating to Michigan politics, with special emphasis on Menominee County and the Upper Peninsula. Because of the correspondence, legislative files, proceedings of the legislative council, Bradley-Doyle folder, and the scrapbooks, the years 1933-1934 are especially well documented.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Menominee County (Mich.)
  • Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1922-1928.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1929-1938.
  • Taxation -- Michigan.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1837-1950.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Democratic Party (Mich.)
  • Detroit (Mich.). Dept. of Street Railways.
  • Michigan. Legislative Council.
  • Michigan. Legislature.
  • Michigan. Legislature. House of Representatives.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Biographical Information [series]
Box   1  
Correspondence [series]

The Correspondence series relates mainly to politics and legislative issues at the state and local level.

Box   1  
Box   1  
1923 (4 folders)
Box   1  
Box   1  
1927 (3 folders)
Box   1  
Box   1  
1929 (3 folders)
Box   1  
Box   1  
1933 (5 folders)
Box   1  
1934 (2 folders)
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
1950-1952, 1961
Topical Files [series]

Topical Files, 1918-1952, are arranged alphabetically. These files consist of clippings, speeches, miscellanea, and papers relating to Mr. Bradley's insurance business and investment in the Hiawatha Fur Farm. Also included in the topical files are papers relating to Bradley's dispute with William Doyle, Republican state senator from Menominee. The two men disagreed on the major issues of the time, Doyle being a vocal critic and Bradley a loyal supporter of Governor Comstock's administration. Another significant topic is the Detroit Street Railway Labor Dispute of 1949. Bradley was a member of the arbitration team which settled the dispute. A large portion of the topical files consists of legislative files for 1922-1923, 1927-1929, and 1933-1934. These files consist of papers relating to issues confronting the legislature and literature distributed by various organizations and special interest groups. Among the issues represented in these files are capital punishment, taxes (especially the introduction of the sales tax), agriculture, repeal of prohibition and liquor control, and education. Included also are proceedings of the Michigan Legislative Council during Mr. Bradley's chairmanship.

Box   1  
Bradley-Doyle Dispute 1933-1934
Box   1  
Box   1  
Detroit Street Railway Labor Dispute Arbitration 1949 (2 folders)
Box   1  
Hiawatha Fur Farm 1934-1952
Legislative Files
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Proceedings of Michigan Legislative Council July 1933-September 1934
Box   2  
Box   2  
Meyer Township War Chest Fund 1931, 1935-1936
Box   2  
Box   2  
Reliance Life Insurance Company 1918-1950 (scattered dates)
Box   2  
Scrapbooks [series]

The Scrapbooks have been taken apart and placed in folders. Scrapbooks from 1933-1934 contain clippings relating to Michigan and Menominee County politics and issues, and the Bradley-Doyle debate. The 1949 scrapbook contains clippings relating to the arbitration of the Detroit Street Railway labor dispute.

Box   2  
Box   2  
1934 (2 folders)
Box   2