James Chapin Bradford (born 1945 in Michigan) is a professor of history at Texas A&M University and a specialist in American maritime, naval, and military history in the early national period of American History.
Raised in Bear Lake, Michigan and Traverse City, Michigan, he attended Traverse City Central High School. He earned his B.A. in 1967 and M.A. in 1968 at Michigan State University, then went on to the University of Virginia, where he earned his Ph.D. in history in 1976 with a thesis on Society and government in Loudoun County, Virginia, 1790-1800.
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Before completing his doctorate, Bradford began his academic career by working as a research assistant at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation in 1972-74, where he assisted in editing Thomas Jefferson's account books. In 1973, he was appointed assistant professor in history at the United States Naval Academy. He remained at the Naval Academy until 1981, when Texas A&M University appointed him to its history faculty.
Bradford has also taught at the University of Maryland in 1974-81; MARA Institute of Technology/Texas International Education Consortium in Malaysia in 1987-88, the Air War College in 1997-98, and the University of Alabama in 1996-97. In addition, Bradford has led numerous study abroad programs in the British Isles, Italy, France, and Germany.
Active in a number of professional organizations, he served as executive director of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 1996-2004, and was elected president of the North American Society for Oceanic History to serve from 2008. He has served in a wide variety of editorial and advisory roles, including being Book Review editor of the Journal of the Early Republic, 1979-97. Since 1999, he has been series editor for the U.S. Naval Institute Press's "Library of Naval Biography" and since 2000, series co-editor of "New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archeology" with the University Press of Florida.