Frank R. Bradley Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Frank R. Bradley Papers


  • 1914-1973 (Creation)


4.0 cubic feet (10 boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Frank R. Bradley was born in LaClede, Illinois. He received his medical degree from Washington University in 1928 and served as head of Barnes Hospital for 22 years, from 1939 to 1962. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of hospital administration. During his tenure as director of Barnes, the institution grew from 400 beds to 959 beds. The David P. Wohl Jr. Memorial Clinics building, Wohl Hospital building, and the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital building were all erected during this time and came under his administration. McMillan Hospital and St. Louis Maternity Hospital also became a part of the Barnes complex during Dr. Bradley's years as director.

Dr. Bradley brought about many "firsts" at Barnes Hospital:

  1. Barnes was one of the first general hospitals to accept patients with communicable diseases. During a poliomyelitis epidemic in 1943, Dr. Bradley observed that with proper infection control, persons suffering with the disease could be cared for in a general hospital. This principal later was accepted by other St. Louis hospitals and allowed the city to close an institution which previously served only this type of patient.

  2. Barnes was one of the first general hospitals to accept psychiatric patients.

  3. Dr. Bradley guided Barnes when it became one of the first university-affiliated hospitals to organize and operate diagnostic laboratories along centralized lines of control.

  4. In conjunction with key physicians at the Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Bradley established one of the first hospital blood banks gathering and typing blood routinely, rather than on a "crisis" basis.

  5. Dr. Bradley recognized the potential for the use of computers in data processing and Barnes was one of the first hospitals in the country to use computers in its business operations.

After retiring from his position at Barnes Hospital in 1962, Dr. Bradley continued to develop Washington University's graduate program in Hospital Administration. He served as Professor of Hospital Administration at Washington University School of Medicine from 1946 to 1968. A former president of the American College of Hospital Administrators (1946-1947), Dr. Bradley was president of the American Hospital Association from 1954-1955. He served as vice chairman of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1960, and that same year was president of the American Protestant Hospital Association and the National Society of Medical Administrators.

A former president of the St. Louis Hospital Council, Dr. Bradley was active in the St. Louis Medical Society and the St. Louis Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was chairman of the Blue Cross Hospital Advisory Committee from 1957 to 1960. National activities included his appointment as the first chairman of the Citizen's Consultant committee of the National Joint Commission for Improvement of Patient Care, a consultant for the Atomic Energy Commission at Los Alamos, a member of the Hoover Committee Task Force in 1948-1949 (Medical Services Committee of Commission on Organization of Executive Branch of the Government), and Consultant to both the offices of Surgeon General of the Army and Surgeon General of the Navy.

Dr. Bradley was chairman of both the Missouri Conference for Improvement of Patient Care and the Missouri State Health and Hospital Survey Committee. He was chairman of a subcommittee of the Health and Hospital Advisory Committee to the Mayor and Director of Public Welfare of St. Louis in 1950. Other community activities included the Community Health League of St. Louis, the Community Chest of Greater St. Louis, the Tuberculosis and Health Society of St. Louis, the Commission on Religion and Health of the Metropolitan Church Federation, the Rotary Club of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.

The author of many papers and publications, Dr. Bradley also was a historian with a particular interest in the history of Barnes Hospital. His unfinished manuscript titled "History of Barnes Hospital" is included in his collection of papers.

Scope and content

The Frank R. Bradley Papers cover the years from 1914 to shortly before his death and consist of nine series. A history of Barnes Hospital by Dr. Bradley is an important series in this collection. He died before completing his final revision of the manuscript. Also of interest is the series on the development and use of the airline-style food services for patients at Barnes Hospital. Dr. Bradley and Henrietta Becker, administrative dietician at Barnes, adapted the hot and cold food cases used to serve airline passengers for use in the hospital. This creative way to keep hot food hot and cold food cold and to control food handling and portion size through greater use of a central food preparation area aroused the interest of hospital administrators and dietitians nationwide. Bradley needed a form letter to reply to all those eager for information about the new-style food service.

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Dr. Bradley’s son, Dr. Richard V. Bradley, gave his father’s papers to Washington University Medical Library in 1973.

Immediate source of acquisition

FC024 (Frank R. Bradley papers): Diaries and scrapbooks, 1940-1960, 5 linear ft. Transfer; Becker Library copy:Barnes Hospital (gift, as authorized by Dr. Richard V. Bradley, 13 August 1973). 19920319. 1992-052.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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