Edward H. Bradford

1911 – 2003
School of Textiles NC State University

Edward H. Bradford 1911 – 2003
Years of Service NCSU Textiles 1955 – 1976


Edward Hosmer Bradford was born June 29, 1911 in Andover, Massachusetts, the son of Roy H. and Bertha Swanton Bradford. He graduated from Punchard High School, Andover, Mass, in 1930. He graduated from Lowell Technological Institute, now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell with a Bachelor’s degree in Textile Engineering in 1935. During the summer, he worked at Pacific Worsted Mills as a drawing frame operator. After graduation, he held managerial positions in the textile industry at Manville­Jenckes Corporation from 1936 ­1945 in Rhode Island, where he rose to the position of assistant superintendent of yarn manufacturing. He moved to Crown Manufacturing Co., Pawtucket, Rhode Island from 1945­1952. There he served as assistant superintendent and became “Director of Education” and led “Crown College”, an in­house extension educational project. The “Crown College” Capers, an in­house newsletter showed how seriously the company treated people and training. He moved again to High Rock Knitting Mills, Inc., Philmont, Columbia County, New York, where he was superintendent.

“Crown College” Capers 1948. Ed is bottom center in dark suit

Graduation Day,­ Ed is on left hand side
Courtesy Gary Smith

In 1955, he moved his family to Raleigh, NC to become a research associate at North Carolina State University in the School of Textiles processing, screening and evaluating experimental synthetic fibers. He began teaching in 1967, where he eventually became an Associate Professor. His specialty was short and long staple spinning. As a beloved member of the teaching faculty he was honored by the students and was named an honorary member of the Phi Psi Textile Fraternity and in the next year, 1976, he was named Man of the Year by Kappa Tau Beta Society, an honor normally given to a leading industrialist for service in recognition of his many contributions to textile education. Also in 1976, he was honored by the Tompkins Textile Council at their annual Lint Dodger’s Ball. He was presented with a Wolfpack Red sports jacket. This was a special first­time project that year to honor him for his firm belief in “one­to­one business” with students. He was visibly tickled by the double honors. His relationship with his students, characterized by warmth, understanding and openness, was his primary concern in teaching. “I feel like I can help people a lot better on this basis,” he said, “The students to some extent are like my own son and daughter.”

Photos courtesy Gary W. Smith

Tompkins Textile Council Wolfpack Jacket award 1976

Roland Snider Presents KTB Man of the Year 1976 to Ed

Teaching Style

Although Professor Bradford’s lecture style was not as outgoing as Dr. Robinson’s, students paid attention to him because he talked about real life. In a similar way to Dr. Robinson, Professor Bradford would either stand and lecture to students in an informal way or sit on the desk at the front of the room ­ but in a unique way – he would sit on the table and cross his legs like a North American Indian in front of a campfire. When he was not in class, he was always available to help students either by taking them to machinery in the labs and clarifying concepts that the students did not understand (see Photo above left). He also had a unique characteristic that always impressed students. For example, if a student was required to calculate the number of teeth in a draft gear for a particular machine, Ed would take the student to his office on the 3rd floor of Nelson, walk over to his desk (which had a number of tall stacks of various papers and machinery diagrams) and within seconds pull out the diagram of the machine that the student required. This ability always impressed students. (2)

Outside the classroom, he was a long time member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church, a member of the Adult Church School class and a former leader in Keenagers, a retirement group sponsored by Raleigh Parks and Recreation. He also served as Scoutmaster at the troop located at White Memorial. In retirement he enjoyed volunteer positions as President of SHHH, Self­Help for the Hard of Hearing, and Hospice of Wake County. Later as a resident of Abbotswood, he served as president of the resident’s association and volunteered with the YMCA after school programs at Durant Elementary School.

He was married to Eleanor Brown Bradford, also of Andover, Mass., and had a son, Steven Bradford of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and daughter, Mrs. Susan Bradford Fairfax of Raleigh.

Ed Bradford died December 24, 2003.



  1. Obituary, Raleigh News and Observer, December, 24, 2003.
  2. Gary W. Smith, personal communication, May 2012.