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Roark Whitney Wickliffe Bradford (August 21, 1896 Lauderdale County, Tennessee — November 13, 1948 New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American short story writer and novelist.


He attended University of California, Berkeley, and served as a first lieutenant in the Coast Artillery during World War I.[1]

He married Lydia Sehorn, divorcing her in July 1933 after having only son Richard Bradford. He then married Mary Rose Sciarra Himler, also a writer, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He was night city editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Bradford continued to produce well-received work during the 1930s and early 1940s. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Bureau of Aeronautics Training during World War II. In 1946, he accepted a position as visiting lecturer in the English department at Tulane University in New Orleans.

On November 13, 1948, he died of amebic dysentery, believed to have been contracted while he was stationed in French West Africa in 1943. His cremated remains were spread over the waters of the Mississippi River.

At the time of his death, Bradford’s writings were very popular. Since the 1940s, however, much of his body of work has been reevaluated. Many criticize his work as patronizing and demeaning in its portrayal of black characters.[2]

Marc Connelly adapted Ol' Man Adam and his Chillun for the stage as The Green Pastures, which won a Pulitzer Prize.[3]

His stage adaption of John Henry appeared in New York City in 1940.[4][5][6]

His work appeared in Collier's,[7] Harper's,[8] and Virginia Quarterly Review,[9]


  • 1927 O. Henry Award



  1. Eva Mae Burkett, ed (1978). American English dialects in literature. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8108-1151-5. 
  2. url=
  3. "Southern Writers". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  4. Federal Writers' Project (1947). Louisiana: a guide to the state. US History Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60354-017-9. 
  5. "Out of Sight". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  6. "The Sound of Broadway Music : A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  7. "Roark Bradford colliers - Google Search". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  8. "Roark Bradford". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  9. "The Virginia Quarterly Review". Retrieved 25 February 2015. 

External links[]

  • Roark Bradford at Library of Congress Authorities, with 22 catalog records

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