Artist Biography

1879 - 1977

May Bradford was born in Moberly, Missouri on May 11, 1879. Her childhood was spent in the mining regions of New Mexico and on the family farm in Carthage, Missouri. In 1898 she moved to California to attend Stanford University where she studied art under Bolton Brown and then continued in Paris under Richard Miller. A few years were spent in a surveyor's office with her father in Tonopah, Nevada where she was appointed United States Deputy Mineral Surveyor (the first woman in Nevada to hold that post). While there, she met engineer William Shockley whom she married in 1908. Upon settling in Palo Alto, California, the Shockleys were neighbors and close friends of the Herbert Hoovers. After Hoover became president, one of her oils hung in the White House during his tenure. A few years were spent in Hollywood during the 1930s and shortly after World War Two erupted she returned to Palo Alto where she remained until her death on March 7, 1977. Mrs. Shockley was inspired by the beautiful Santa Clara Valley and painted many landscapes of that area as well as a few still lifes. An oil painter until the 1940s, she then switched to watercolor. Member: Palo Alto Art Club (charter member).

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