E. Sculley Bradley papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Edward Sculley Bradley (1897-1987) was a scholar, author, educator, and administrator at the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Philadelphia to Stephen Edward Bradley and Annette Evelyn Palmer, he received a B.A. in 1919, M.A. in 1921, and Ph.D. in 1925, all from the University of Pennsylvania. Bradley began his teaching career at Penn as an instructor of English, from 1919 to 1926. He was assistant professor from 1926 to 1937, associate professor from 1937 to 1940 and professor from 1940 to 1967. He served as vice provost of undergraduate education from 1956 to 1963. Bradley held several visiting professorships: at Duke University during the summers of 1932, 1937, and 1941; at Northwestern University in 1938; and at the University Southern California in 1940. He served as lecturer at the Ogontz School from 1926 to 1932; at Rosemont College from 1930 to 1933; at Upton School Drama in Philadelphia from 1930 to 1934; and at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in 1945.
Sculley Bradley was a prolific writer and editor, serving as assistant literature editor of the Philadelphia Record from 1930 to 1931 and editor of the General Magazine and History Chronicle in Philadelphia from 1945 to 1956. He published biographies of literary figures George Henry Boker and Henry Charles Lea, as well as several editions of the important and popular anthology, The American Tradition in Literature. He also published editions of works by Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman. Bradley was considered an international expert on Whitman, editing several important editions of the poet's Leaves of Grass, including the 1949 Rinehart edition, the Comprehensive Reader's Edition in 1965, a Norton Critical Edition in 1973 and A Textual Variorum in 1980. He was also a general editor and contributed to the 14-volume Collected Writings of Walt Whitman from 1961 to 1984.
While at Penn, Sculley Bradley maintained a long association with many important writers of his day. He was instrumental in the University acquiring numerous important literary collections, including the Walt Whitman collection, the James T. Farrell papers, the William Carlos Williams research collection, the George H. Boker papers, the Henry Charles Lea papers, and the Theodore Dreiser papers. He was a trustee of the Walt Whitman Foundation, and a member of the Franklin Inn Club, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, and Alpha Chi Rho. He was a fellow of the Society of American Studies and the American Association of University Professors, and chairman of the American Literature Group of the Modern Language Association from 1937 to 1938. He was a member of the Society of Friends and was a founding member of Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting, and served on the board of Germantown Friends School and Friends Hospital. He was married to Marguerite C. Bradley and had two daughters, Deborah B. Oberholtzer and Alison B. Wilhelm.
The E. Sculley Bradley papers include his personal and professional correspondence dating from 1923 to 1962, material from several literary censorship cases for which he testified, corrected drafts of his manuscript for the Variorum edition of Leaves of Grass, ephemera and graphics associated with Walt Whitman, and a small amount of material on other authors.
The correspondence consists of letters to Bradley (and sometimes copies of his replies) from colleagues and noted authors of his day, mostly on the topic of literature. Many of the letters concern the correspondents' publication in the General Magazine and History Chronicle, but also includes invitations to lecture at Penn or participate in conference programs. Researchers will find literary manuscripts included with the correspondence when they exist. Material in this series is filed by correspondent. Occasionally a secretary, wife or daughter would write on behalf of a correspondent; these have been filed under the name of the (usually) better known literary figure. Many of the files contain only a single letter from the correspondent, while others, especially those of James T. Farrell, David McCord, and Peter Viereck, are more extensive. Bradley's correspondence with Farrell spanned 14 years and is the largest single component of this series.
Bradley's association with James T. Farrell began when Bradley testified in support of Farrell's books in a Philadelphia censorship trial in 1948. Through the course of their professional and personal relationship, Bradley took a keen interest in Farrell's writing and published several of his works in the General Magazine and History Chronicle. Farrell often spoke of his money problems leading to his need for giving paid lectures (and which Bradley frequently helped to secure). There was significant discussion of Farrell's literary papers, which he had originally hoped would go to the Newberry Library in Chicago. Farrell decided to give (or sell) them to the University of Pennsylvania, and the correspondence is rich with descriptions of materials periodically arriving at Penn. During this period, Farrell and his second wife Hortense Alden divorced and he reunited with his first wife, Dorothy Butler. Bradley was involved in Farrell's son Kevin's decision to attend Penn, and there was periodic discussion of Kevin's academic progress as well as financial difficulties associated with his tuition.
From 1948 through 1966, Sculley Bradley was involved in a series of literary censorship trials, acting as a witness on the side of the authors, publishers, and/or booksellers. His first case involved the seizure of over 2,000 books confiscated from 50 different bookstores, department stores, and newsstands in Philadelphia, PA in 1948. Among the books seized were Studs Lonigan and A World I Never Made by James T. Farrell; Sanctuary and The Wild Palms by William Faulkner; God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell; Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr.; and Never Love a Stranger by Harold Robbins. This case was notable as the first in Pennsylvania to be concerned with current literature in book form. In the following years, other censorship cases arose in Fall River, MA (focusing on the book Duke, by Hal Ellison), Detroit, MI (The Devil Rides Out, by John H. Griffin), Youngstown, OH (Down All Your Streets, by Leonard Bishop), and additional cases brought in Philadelphia, PA as well as several other cities (for The Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller). Bradley also signed on to an amicus curiae brief prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in defense of Ralph Ginzburg, who published the erotic journal Eros and other works which were confiscated in the mail in 1962. Some of the cases Bradley was involved in made their way to the United States Supreme Court. In the files for these censorship cases, Bradley collected correspondence concerning his testimony, newspaper and magazine clippings, receipts for his consultative charges, and, in some cases, copies of legal briefs.
The series of Walt Whitman material begins with drafts for the three editions of Leaves of Grass that Sculley Bradley worked on: the Comprehensive Reader's Edition (1965), the Norton Critical Edition (1973), and the Textual Variorum (1980). Drafts for the first two are less complete than for the Variorum and focus mainly on the "Excluded Poems and Passages" section. Drafts for the Norton Critical Edition are grouped into sets labelled "copy 2" and "copy 3 and 4" following Bradley's original organization of the papers.
The Variorum edition subseries contains an extensive run of corrected drafts. In 1955, on the 100th anniversary of the first printing of Leaves of Grass, the Collected Works of Walt Whitman was announced. It was to be published by New York University Press under the general editorship of Gay Wilson Allen and Sculley Bradley. Preparation of a Variorum edition of Leaves, which would collate and trace the six printed editions (and numerous impressions) issued during Whitman's lifetime, was overseen by Bradley and Harold W. Blodgett. Allen and Bradley produced a Critical Reader's Edition of Leaves in 1965, but the Variorum was delayed and was not published until 1980. In the end, Bradley and Blodgett were not able to see it through to completion and the edition was completed by editors William White and Arthur Golden.
The Whitman ephemera assembled by Bradley includes brochures, printed maps, typed inventories and bibliographies, newspaper and magazine clippings (including a copy of Whitman's "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads" published in The Critic in 1884), correspondence about Whitman, book reviews and book publication notices, manuscript texts and printed articles of other scholars, cards, invitations, a photostat of Whitman's manuscript of "Good-Bye my Fancy," and two Whitman family autographs (envelopes addressed in the hand of Whitman's mother and Whitman himself, respectively). Also included are notes by Bradley on Whitman.
The series of Whitman graphics includes engravings, photographs, and reproductions of paintings of Whitman, buildings associated with Whitman, and monuments to the poet. Also included are some negatives and postcards.
The final series on authors other than Whitman includes works of Ernest Hemingway translated into Japanese, copies of the American Literary Review in Japanese, a collection of American poems in French edited by Jacques Catel, clippings on Robert Frost, and a galley proof of three poems of e.e. cummings, with the poet's own annotations. Also in this file is an inventory of autograph manuscripts once owned by Bradley.
Gift of E. Sculley Bradley.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- John Anderies
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 June 17
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.