Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

The Case of Anne Bradley

anne bradley.jpg

Dublin Core


The Case of Anne Bradley


The tumultuous love affair between former Utah senator Arthur Brown and his mistress, Anne Bradley.

In the twenty-first century we consider political scandals and courtroom drama to be characteristic of modern times. But a hundred years ago, things weren’t all that different. In December 1906, Utah woman Anne Bradley sat alone in a Washington, D.C. jail cell. Her crime? The fatal shooting of her long-time lover, former Utah senator, Arthur Brown.

Anne Bradley was a prominent young woman, active in groups like the Salt Lake City Woman’s Club and the Utah Woman’s Press Club. She met Arthur Brown in 1892 through her work with the Utah Republican party. The two began a lengthy love affair that went public when Brown was elected in 1896 as one of Utah’s first two senators after statehood.  Anne Bradley had two sons with Arthur Brown and expected him to marry her as soon as he divorced his wife. Bradley had a long wait for a divorce that never came. Then, in 1905 Brown’s wife died, leaving him free to marry Bradley. Still, nothing happened. Repeated delays prompted Bradley to follow Arthur Brown to Washington D.C. in 1906, where she found evidence that Brown was having another affair with Annie Adams, mother of famous actress Maude Adams, also from Utah. Bradley confronted Brown in his hotel room and in a fit of rage shot him point blank. Brown was taken to the hospital where he later died. Salt Lakers were “shocked but not surprised” by Bradley’s crime of passion.

At her murder trial, Bradley pleaded “emotional insanity” and public sympathy swayed in her favor when it was discovered that Brown had written Bradley and their two sons out of his will. Anne Bradley was acquitted in Washington, D.C. and returned to Utah. She opened an antique shop in Salt Lake City that she operated until her death in 1950. On her death certificate she is listed as a widow. Her deceased husband? Arthur Brown. 


Heidi Orchard for Utah Humanities © 2012


Image: Anne Bradley's Trial, November 18, 1907. Illustration printed in the Salt Lake Tribune covering Anne Bradley's trial. The image shows a scale labeled "Justice" with a smoking gun on the left side. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

Thatcher, Linda, “The Shooting of Arthur Brown, Ex Senator from Utah,” History Blazer, November 1995 (accessed 2/15/11); “Two Women Weep for Arthur Brown,Deseret News, 14 December 1906. (accessed 2/15/11); http://images.archives.utah.gov/data/81448/2224904/2224904_0001452.jpg (accessed 2/16/11); Linda Thatcher, "The 'Gentile Polygamist': Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator from Utah," Utah Historical Quarterly 52 (1984).


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