The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

James S. Brady/Shirley M. Sandage Papers, 1980-1995


Size: 0.5 linear ft.

Provenance: Received from Dr. Scott Sandage, November 8, 2013

Access: Open

Collection Summary: Contains speeches, articles, correspondence, and photographs of James S. Brady during his tenure as vice chairman of the National Organization on Disability.


Subject(s): Disability History, Politics and Government


Related Collections: Shirley M. Sandage Papers, 1927-1998 (bulk 1964-1997), Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries


Processing Note: 


Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.


Completed by: Tamara Jones, December 2013; updated August 2014



Biographical Sketch


James Brady was born August 29, 1940, in Centralia, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962, majoring in communications and political science. He also attended the University of Illinois College of Law, and took courses in the doctoral program in public administration at Southern Illinois University.


Brady’s involvement in politics began before he finished college. Beginning in 1961, he worked on the staff of Senate Majority Leader Everett M. Dirksen, and remained with Dirksen’s staff until 1962. In the summer of that year, Brady also served as an Honor Intern with the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, he served in a variety of non-political positions as well, including staff director of the Public Affairs Research Bureau at Southern Illinois University and executive vice president of James and Thomas Advertising and Public Relations.


In 1973, Brady went to Washington, where he served as communications consultant to the House of Representatives. He was also a special assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1973-1975), special assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (1975-1976), and assistant to the Secretary of Defense (1976-1977), among other positions. Brady eventually became assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary in January 1981. Two months later, he suffered a gunshot wound to the head when John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Regan. Brady survived, but the attack affected his speaking ability and caused partial paralysis that required him to use a wheelchair. Although he retained the title of Press Secretary until the end of Regan’s administration, his duties were taken over by Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater after the assassination attempt.


In March of 1989, after eight years of rehabilitation, Brady became vice chairman of the National Organization on Disability (NOD), a Washington-based non-profit dedicated to promoting acceptance and full participation in society of people with disabilities. His “Calling on America” campaign – which aimed to increase awareness of and opportunities for people with disabilities – was directed by Shirley Sandage, director of programs development at NOD. Sandage also wrote Brady’s speeches and produced brochures, pamphlets, and newsletters for the organization. She continued to work with Brady after retiring from NOD; the James S. Brady Center for Fellows in Public Policy is one result of this collaboration. In addition to overseeing Brady’s work, Sandage dedicated over forty years of her life to advocating for citizens often overlooked by society, including children, migrant workers, and older women.    


James Brady passed away on August 4, 2014.     

Scope and Content Note


The James S. Brady/Shirley Sandage Papers consist of nine folders. Biographical Information details Brady’s years of service up to 1989, the year he joined NOD. Congressional Bills consists of one copy each of H.R. 1025 (better known as “the Brady Bill”) and S. 414, both of which address handgun purchases. Correspondence contains a small number of letters; approximately half of these letters express condolences for an illness Brady suffered in 1995. Illustration contains a political cartoon addressed to Brady and drawn by Dana Summers of the Orlando Sentinel. Magazine Articles contains three stories discussing Brady’s rehabilitation after his injury as well as his support of people with disabilities living in the United States.  Photographs consist of several prints of Brady, some of which were used for publication. Some photographs are also included in the Magazine Articles folder. Speeches consist of three folders of remarks Brady gave to various groups between 1989 and 1991. Several of them were given as part of the “Calling on America” campaign.  


Folder List







Biographical Information



Congressional Bills: H.R. 1025 and S. 414 , 1993



Correspondence, 1989, 1994-1996



Illustration, “Brady Bill Passes,” 1993



Magazine Articles, 1989, 1991, 1994



Photographs, 1990-1991, n.d.



Speeches, 1989



Speeches, 1990



Speeches, 1991