Marjorie A. Blackistone and Horace Ferguson Bradfield papers: 1931-1978
Summary Information
Title: Marjorie A. Blackistone and Horace Ferguson Bradfield papers
Creator: Bradfield family (Detroit, Mich.)
Inclusive dates: 1931-1978
Extent: 0.2 linear feet
Extent: 1.6 GB (online)
Marjorie Bradfield was the first African American librarian in Detroit, working for the Detroit Public Library and as head librarian for Detroit Public Schools. Horace Bradfield was an African American Physician at Providence and Hutzel hospitals, and out of offices on East Grand Boulevard in Detroit. The collection contains Marjorie Bradfield's autobiography, audio recordings of interviews with Horace Bradfield, and photographs of the Bradfields.
Call number: 2014084 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 Devon Proudfoot in May 2017

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Trudy Bradfield Taliaferro (donor no. 11115) and David Martin Bradfield (donor no. 11116) in May 2014 and May 2017.

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open without restriction.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Marjorie and Horace Bradfield papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. [URL]


Marjorie Adele Blackistone Bradfield was born in Washington D.C. in 1911. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts in French. As an undergraduate, Bradfield was a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Nu chapter, the first Black sorority on campus. Following her graduation, Bradfield attended Columbia University where she graduated in 1936 with a Bachelor of Science in Library Services. Her first job out of graduate school was as a librarian at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana. In 1938 Bradfield became the first African American librarian hired by the Detroit Public Library, where she played a role establishing a collection of books by and about African Americans. While employed by the Detroit Public Library, Bradfield returned to the University of Michigan, graduating with a Master of Library Science in 1940. Bradfield left the library in 1950 to raise her children, but came back in 1964. In 1968 she worked for Detroit Public Schools as the head librarian. Bradfield retired in 1980.

Horace Ferguson Bradfield was born in Denver, Colorado in 1913. In 1919 his family moved to Detroit, where Bradfield attended the College of the City of Detroit. Bradfield transferred to the University of Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Science (both in Chemistry) in 1934 and 1935, respectively. Following his graduation, Bradfield taught adult education in Detroit, but returned to school in the mid-1940s. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1948 as a Doctor of Medicine. Bradfield became the fifth Black intern at Detroit Receiving Hospital before coming to Providence and Hutzel hospitals in Detroit to work as a physician. He eventually moved to an office on East Grand Boulevard, where he remained until his retirement in 1989. Bradfield also served on the board of Wayne County Community College, and the board of directors for the Detroit Urban League in the 1960s-1970s.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Marjorie and Horace Bradfield papers consists of autobiographical material and photographs.

In her autobiography, Marjorie Bradfield describes her first library jobs, and the events that led her to the Detroit Public Library. It highlights Bradfield's professional accomplishments, as well as challenges she faced as an African American woman in the library field. The autobiography includes an appendix with citations of essays and articles written by Bradfield.

Also contained within the collection are recordings of a 1978 interview with Horace Bradfield, facilitated by his daughter, Trudy Bradfield Taliaferro. The first part of the interview, Bradfield discusses his time as a student at the University of Michigan between 1931 and 1935. Throughout the interview, Bradfield describes his experience as an African American student at the University of Michigan during the 1930s. The second part of the interview covers his struggles finding a job as an African American physician in Detroit following his graduation in 1935.

The collection insludes a small number of photographs in the collection, primarily portraits of the Bradfields, and a photograph from their wedding day in 1938. One of these photographs is available online as a digital file.

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.

  • African American librarians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American physicians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American women -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American women librarians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African Americans -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Librarians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Physicians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Women librarians -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Photographs.
  • Digital file formats.
  • Bradfield, Horace Ferguson.
  • Bradfield, Marjorie A. Blackistone.
  • Detroit Public Library.
  • University of Michigan -- Students.
  • Bradfield, Horace Ferguson.
  • Bradfield, Marjorie A. Blackistone.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Marjorie and Horace Bradfield papers [series]
Box   1  
Autobiography of a Negro Librarian, 1938 to 1967
Box   1  
Bradfield Photographs 1931-1938
Marjorie Bradfield Portrait [access item]
Dr. H. F. Bradfield Audio Life History

(These audio recordings were originally recorded in 1978 onto cassette tapes and later transferred on to CD. The access copies provided were copied from the CDs.)

Part 1 1978 [access item]
Part 2 1978 [access item]