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Shockley, May Bradford, 1879-1977


May Bradford was born May 11, 1879 in Missouri. Her parents named her Cora May, but she almost always went by the name May. Growing up, she lived in mining camps in New Mexico, Colorado, and Oregon, where her father worked. She graduated from high school in Carthage, Missouri. She attended Stanford and studied art and mathematics, earning her degree in 1902. She then taught high school for one year in Seattle, Washington to earn the money to go to Paris and study art and was able to spend the next year in Paris.

In 1904, May Bradford formed a surveying and engineering partnership with her father S.K. Bradford, in Tonopah, Nevada. She was appointed U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor in 1906. She traveled throughout Europe in 1906 and 1907 before returning to Tonopah. In 1908, she met William Hillman Shockley, and the couple married on January 20, 1908 in San Francisco, California. After their marriage, they lived in Tonopah for a year. The couple then traveled extensively in Europe and lived in London for several years. In 1910, she gave birth to her son, William Bradford Shockley. In 1913, the Shockleys moved to Palo Alto, California.

May Bradford participated in community organizations and continued to make art. Her paintings were shown throughout the west coast of the United States, as well as in New York and Washington, D.C. She later lived in Los Angeles, before returning to Palo Alto. She passed away on March 7, 1977 at the age of 97.