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Bradbury Thompson papers

Call Number: MS 1794

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, design work products, publications, and visual materials documenting the professional career of Bradbury Thompson.


  • 1945-2002
  • Majority of material found within 1945 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Bradbury Thompson has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Deen Dodge Thompson, 2003 and 2005.


Arranged in thirteen series and one addition.


127.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, design work products, publications, and visual materials documenting the professional career of Bradbury Thompson.

Biographical / Historical

James Bradbury Thompson, prominent graphic designer, was born in Topeka, Kansas, on March 25, 1911. He began designing books in high school, where he designed yearbooks, and designed his college yearbook at Washburn College, where he obtained a B.A. in economics in 1934. Thereafter he worked in New York City as a designer, and served as art director for the Office of War Information's publications division from 1942-1945. Thompson was well-known for his long association with the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company (Westvaco), for which he designed the American Classic Book Series. He was art director of Mademoiselle for fourteen years, and throughout his career, he designed or redesigned more than thirty five magazines, including Business Week and the Smithsonian Magazine. In 1969, Thompson was commissioned by Marshall Field IV to design a Bible similar to the Gutenberg folio edition. Four hundred copies of The Washburn College Bible were published in 1979 by Oxford University Press, and it became an instant classic. Thompson received many awards and honors during his lifetime, including gold medals from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the National Society of Art Directors. For many years he was a visiting critic and visiting professor at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. He married Della Deen Dodge in 1934 and they had four children. Bradbury Thompson died on November 1, 1995.

Preliminary Guide to the Bradbury Thompson Papers
Under Revision
compiled by staff of Manuscripts and Archives
April 2002
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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