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Bradbury Thompson

Artist and designer. Born: 1911. Died: 1995.

Bradbury Thompson grew up in Topeka and attended Washburn University from which he graduated in 1934. Interested in art from the time he was a boy, he worked in all manner of art and design. He even designed Washburn's "Icabod" mascot in 1938, which is still in use today.

That same year he headed off to New York City where he was soon offered jobs at Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines and at an advertising agency. He took the ad job and a year later he was employed to design and edit a company magazine. During World War II Bradbury worked for the Office of War Information at the U. S. State Department in Washington, D. C. While there he designed two OWI magazines.

After the war he returned to New York City and for 15 years was the art director of Mademoiselle magazine. In 1950 he and his wife moved to Connecticut where he set up his own studio in their ocean side home. Thompson designed or redesigned nearly 40 magazines including Art News, Business Week, Harvard Business Review and Progressive Architecture. He also created the design for the highly prestigious Smithsonian magazine.

Thompson taught graphic design for many years at Yale using his book, Bradbury Thompson: The Art of Graphic Design, as the text book. Thompson's most widely circulated works were the over 100 million U. S. Postal Stamps sold by the Postal Service that he designed in whole or in part. He was the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas' Distinguished Kansan of the Year in 1982.

Entry: Thompson, Bradbury

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: November 2012

Date Modified: August 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.