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Thomas Bradford family papers (1802-1869, bulk 1802-1852)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, December 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Thomas Bradford family papers
Creator: Bradford family
Inclusive dates: 1802-1869
Bulk dates: 1802-1852
Extent: 1 linear foot
The Thomas Bradford family papers contain the incoming correspondence of the Philadelphia lawyer's family. The collection includes personal letters written by a variety of acquaintances, professional letters related to Bradford's financial affairs, and correspondence from his son Thomas, a Presbyterian minister.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1992, 2000. M-2886, M-2891.2, M-4115.2.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Thomas Bradford Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Thomas Bradford, Jr., a descendant of Philadelphia printer William Bradford (1663-1752), was born on September 11, 1781, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He studied law with William Todd and was admitted to the bar in October 1802. He subsequently became a prestigious lawyer in the Philadelphia area. He and his wife, Elizabeth Loockerman (1779-1842) of Dover, Delaware, were married on May 8, 1805, and had five children: Vincent L. (b. 1808), Elizabeth L., Benjamin Rush, William, and Thomas Budd (1816-1871). Thomas Bradford, Jr., died on October 25, 1851. Vincent became a lawyer and married Juliet S. Ray. They lived in Niles, Michigan, and Vincent was elected to the State Senate in 1837, before returning to Philadelphia in the 1840s. Thomas Budd Bradford graduated from Williams College in 1833 and became a Presbyterian minister, moving temporarily to Michigan. In 1840, he returned to the Philadelphia area, where he presided over a congregation until moving to the Loockerman family estate in Dover, Delaware, in 1850. He had no children with his first wife, Henrietta Singer (d. 1851), and had four surviving children with his second wife, Lucinda Porter: Thomas Budd, Lucinda Hall, Robert, and William Hall. Elizabeth L. Bradford married Reverend William T. Dwight of Portland, Maine, and they had several children, including Henry E. Dwight.

Samuel Bradford, Jr. (1803-1885) worked with several Philadelphia-based railroad companies throughout the 19th century. He and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts, had two surviving daughters: Elizabeth and Annie. His relationship to the Thomas Bradford family is unclear.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Bradford family papers contain the incoming correspondence of the Philadelphia lawyer's family. Many of the earliest letters in the collection relate to Thomas Bradford's personal finances, and much of the collection consists of letters written to Thomas and his wife Elizabeth by their children. Vincent L. and Juliet S. Bradford frequently wrote of their daily lives while living in Niles, Michigan, in the 1830s, where he worked as a lawyer. Thomas Budd Bradford also sent news to his father about his life in Michigan and about the Presbyterian Church in Warminster, Pennsylvania, after his return to Philadelphia. He frequently mentioned religion. Elizabeth Bradford, who married William T. Dwight, often wrote from her home in Portland, Maine, sharing family news. Other personal correspondence includes several letters of condolence written in March 1841, following a child's death, and a late letter from Thomas Bradford's grandson, Henry E. Dwight, who gave his opinion on American military action in Mexico (December 1, 1846). The collection also holds two drafts of an unsigned letter to President John Tyler, recommending William Bradford for the head of the Philadelphia Post Office (August 14, 1843).

Also included is a selection of personal correspondence addressed to Elizabeth Ann Bradford, wife of Samuel Bradford, Jr., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, throughout the 1840s. She primarily received letters from female friends. Samuel and Elizabeth Bradford's relationship to the Thomas Bradford family is unclear.

Subject Terms

  • Children--Death.
  • Finance, Personal.
  • Lawyers--Pennsylvania.
  • Newburyport (Mass.)
  • Niles (Mich.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--History--19th century.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.
  • Portland (Me.)
  • Presbyterian Church--Pennsylvania.
  • Presbyterians--Pennsylvania.
  • Bradford, Juliet Ray.
  • Bradford, Thomas, 1781-1851.
  • Bradford, Thomas Budd, 1816-1871.
  • Bradford, Vincent L. (Vincent Loockerman), 1808-1884.
  • Dwight, Elizabeth Bradford.
Genre Terms:
  • Letters (correspondence)

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Correspondence [series]
Box   1 Folders   1-40
 August 1802-August 1843 (208 items)
Box   2 Folders   1-33
 October 1843-November 1869, and  undated (169 items)

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The American Science and Medicine collection holds two items related to Thomas Budd Bradford: July 23, 1832 and July 31, 1832


Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware. Vol. 1. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: J. M. Runk & Co., 1899.

Jordan, John W. Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1921.

Purple, Samuel Smith. Bradford Family: Genealogical Memorials of William Bradford, the Printer. New York: 1873.