William Bradford

Bradford, William, 1722–91, American Revolutionary printer and patriot; grandson of William Bradford (1663–1752). He learned printing from his uncle, Andrew Bradford, in Philadelphia, and in 1742 he set up his own shop. He established the successful anti-British Weekly Advertiser, which competed for many years with Benjamin Franklin's newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. He also printed a number of books and published (1757–58) the American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle. In 1754 he established the London Coffee House in Philadelphia; this became the seat of the merchants' exchange. Bradford opposed the Stamp Act and took an active part in opposition to British measures, becoming a leader of the Sons of Liberty. He advocated and became official printer to the First Continental Congress. Sacrificing his business, he became a major in the Continental Army and took part in the campaign in New Jersey. At Princeton he was badly wounded and his health shattered. His son, Thomas Bradford (1745–1838), carried on the business and published the Merchants' Daily Advertiser.

See J. W. Wallace, An Old Philadelphian (1884).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Libraries, Books, and Printing: Biographies