Wednesday, March 7, 2012
FLORENCE R. BRADLEY (1885-1972)
Florence Bradley’s mother, Frances Sage Bradley (1866-1949), was a physician who worked for the US Children’s Bureau. Her father, Horace James Bradley (1862-1896), was an artist and a founder of the Art Students League in New York City.
While Florence Bradley worked for both the Atlanta Carnegie Library and NYPL, her major contributions to the library profession were based on her work in special libraries.
Bradley began working in the Atlanta Carnegie Library after graduating from high school in 1904 and completed that library’s Training School in 1906. Bradley worked as an Assistant in the Atlanta Carnegie Library, 1906-1910. Bradley left Atlanta for two years to work at NYPL, 1911-1912, and then returned to Atlanta to become the head of Circulation. In 1915 she resigned after being passed over for promotion to become head of the system.
Following her resignation, Bradley returned to NYPL and served as First Assistant at the Tompkins Square Branch. In 1918 she was promoted to be head of Tompkins Square. Bradley held that position for two years before taking a leave of absence and never returned to NYPL.
Bradley became head librarian at the National Organization for Public Health Nursing, 1920-1923, and then spent the next 25 years as head librarian at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. As a corporate librarian she worked to improve the status of librarians in a business setting and also developed programs to train paraprofessionals to work in a special library.
Bradley helped form the New York chapter of the Special Libraries Association, served as Vice-President of SLA, 1929-1930, and edited Special Libraries in the 1930s. She also authored at least 10 articles on special libraries. Bradley was elected to the SLA Hall of Fame in 1960. Her obituary in Special Libraries described her as a "lovely lady with a gentle wit and true southern charm" who had “a particularly creative and distinguished career.”
It appears that Bradley lived with Esther Johnston, who also worked at NYPL, from 1927 until 1968 when Johnston died.