UW-Madison Department of Geology & Geophysics

The Science and the Art of Charles C. Bradley: An Exhibition
May 3-31, 2005
The Steenbock Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Science Arts and Letters
1922 Old University Avenue
Monday - Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (608) 263-1692

Mapping field trip,1934. Charles Bradley is second from the right,
next to Professor F.T.Thwaites.


Squall over Thunder Bay, Adak. Watercolor on paper.


Charles Bradley (1911-2002) grew up in Madison, the son of UW-Madison Professor Harold C. Bradley and Mary Josephine Crane. His childhood was rich and diverse, from trips to China with his ambassador grandfather, to summers and winters outdoors, sailing, hiking and skiing, to a year spent on a Montana ranch.

He received a Bachelors degree at UW-Madison in Geology in 1935, and proceeded to become a skilled photographer at the White School of Photography in New York.

During World War II he was an instrumental part of the North Pacific Combat School in the Aleutian Islands. At the end of his life, he would chronicle the war years adventures in his book Aleutian Echoes, illustrated with his watercolor and oil paintings and masterful color photographs.

After the war, he returned to UW-Madison for graduate degrees (in Geology), M.S. in 1947 and Ph.D. in 1950. He was the foundation of the Montana State College geology department, and was loved by the students for his personal style of teaching.

His research expanded to include snow and avalanches, as well as groundwater studies. He was concerned about human impact on the environment, spoke out publicly for conservation, and was a founder of the Montana Wilderness Association.

He retired from teaching and administration in 1976, moving to Baraboo Wisconsin with his second wife Nina Leopold (his first wife Maynie died in 1969), to become active in environmental research and education at the Leopold Memorial Reserve there. He began to write articles for the popular press on the outdoors, ecology and environment, and his own personal interactions with Aldo Leopold.

In 1988, he and Nina Leopold Bradley were honored for their work with a joint Doctor of Environmental Studies award from UW-Madison.

In 2000 Charles received a Distinguished Alumni award from the Department of Geology and Geophysics. He died in 2002.

Thanks to the Bradley family for their support and for their generous loan of the personal papers of Charles Bradley, to the Denver Public Library Archives, the C.K. Leith Geology Library, to Randall Berndt at the Wisconsin Academy of Scieces Arts and Letters, and to the University of Wisconsin Department of Geology and Geophysics.

—Mary Diman (608-262-5358) and John Fournelle (608-262-7964)