Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Bradley mss., ca. 1902-1997, consist of the papers of director and film historian David Shedd Bradley, 1920-1997. Bradley was born in Winnetka, IL and attended the prestigious Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, IL, arriving a year after the departure of the school's most famous student, Orson Welles. Bradley went on to Northwestern University and served in the Signal Corps in World War II, both times with his friend Charlton Heston.

Before and after the war, Bradley was a pioneer in amateur filmmaking. He directed the then seventeen-year-old Heston in his first major role, the title character in Peer Gynt (1941). Bradley's directorial credits went on to include: Sredni Vashtar (1943); Macbeth (1947); Julius Caesar (1950), starring Heston again, as Mark Antony; Talk About a Stranger (1952), starring Nancy Davis, and Bradley's only film for a major Hollywood studio (MGM); Dragstrip Riot (1958); 12 to the Moon (1960); and an infamous B-movie, The Madmen of Mandoras (1963), rereleased with newly directed footage a few years later as They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968).

Bradley became best known, however, as a film collector and historian. He built an extensive collection that covers the silent film era to 1990s releases. He was a popular film history instructor at a number of colleges and universities, including UCLA.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Film Elements; II. Photographs; III. Correspondence; IV. Scripts; V. Publicity; VI. Business Records; VII. Pamphlets; VIII. Course Materials; IX. Subject Files; X. Journals and Notebooks; XI. Writings; XII. Biographical; XIII. Audio-Visual; XIV. Miscellaneous.

The Film Elements series consists of incomplete films, audio tapes, soundtracks, and replacement footage. Some film elements are currently unavailable. Photographs contain mostly film stills as well as personal photos of David Bradley.

Correspondents include: James Agee; Lindsay Anderson; Kenneth Anger; Thomas Blair; Mr. and Mrs. A. Ballard Bradley; Kenneth Brownlow; Alberto Cavalcanti; Homer Dietmeyer; William Donnachie; Kent D. Eastin; Roy Eggert; William K. Everson; Peter Frank; Jean Gaborit; Emile Gauguin; Grosvenor Glenn; Dwight Green, Jr.; John Griggs; John Hampton; Charlton Heston; Charles Higham; Theodore Huff; Philip Jenkinson; Fritz Lang; Lou Lindsay; Louis McMahon; George Mitchell; Jules Nayfack; Raymond Rohauer; Warren J. Rothenberger; Dore Schary; John Serrano; Marie Seton; Frank Sinatra; George Stevens, Jr.; Preston Sturges; Howard Suber; Charles van Wissinck.

Scripts include screenplay drafts, cast lists, plot synopses, and other production materials for films directed by David Bradley, including Noa Noa, an unproduced motion picture about the life of Paul Gauguin, with an original screenplay by James Agee. Publicity materials include articles, reviews, and flyers for Bradley's work. Business Records contain mainly the financial documentation of Bradley's early films (namely Macbeth) by Mesirow and the Willow Corporation. Course Materials include syllabi, evaluations, and other class-related documents for courses taught by David Bradley at primarily UCLA and Santa Monica College. The Journals and Notebooks series consists primarily of Bradley's production notes for Oliver Twist, Peer Gynt, Macbeth, and Sredni Vashtar. Writings include papers and essays written by David Bradley in high school and college. Biographical materials include a short biography of Bradley's father, A. Ballard Bradley, and David Bradley's original 1975 will that donated his collection to UCLA. The Miscellaneous series includes distribution records of Bradley's films and several scrapbooks.

The full-length films in the collection have been separately and individually catalogued. The titles may be searched through IUCAT, Indiana University Libraries' online catalog.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2002

Collection size: 21,500 items

Related manuscripts: Bradley mss. II

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.