Norton Moore Bedford, the son of Cornelius David and Mary Moore Bedford was born on November 11, 1916, in Mercer, Missouri. He attended Benton High School in St. Joseph, Missouri, graduating in 1934. After graduation, he worked full time for the local newspaper, the St. Joseph New Press Gazette, for three years. While working he was motivated to attend the local junior college after meeting a girl on a tennis court who later was to become his wife. He left St. Joseph in 1938 to attend Tulane University in New Orleans. He received a bachelor's (1940) and a master's (1947) degree from Tulane University, and a doctor's degree from The Ohio State University in 1950. He was certified as a CPA in 1947 (Louisiana).
After receiving his bachelor's degree, he was employed as the executive secretary of the New Orleans Stock Exchange (1940). He served as an auditor for the State of Louisiana (1940-41) and as a member of the staff of the Budget Department of New Orleans Public Service (1941-42) before serving in the United States Army, 1942-46. He was an instructor at Tulane University (1946-47) and at The Ohio State University (1947-50) while he pursued his master's and doctor's degrees, respectively. During the period 1950-53 he was an assistant and associate professor at Washington University and on February 1, 1954, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois as an associate professor. He was appointed the Weldon Powell Professor in 1969, a distinction he held until 1974 when he was appointed the Arthur Young Distinguished Professor of Accountancy and Business Administration. He held this title until he retired from the university in 1987 as Professor Emeritus of Accountancy.
At the University of Illinois, he has served on numerous committees including chairman of the Search Committee for new Chancellor (1983-84) and Search Committee for new Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1985-86). He also served the department of accountancy as coordinator of Professional Programs (1986-87), member of the Advisory Committee (1983-84), chairman of the Educational Policy Committee (1986-87) and chairman of the Ph.D. Examination Committee (1983-84). During the period 1974-81 when he was head of the department of accountancy, he was instrumental in the establishment of four named professorships and three joint-degree programs.
An educator dedicated to the development of the conceptual base for accounting thought, he has served as the major supervisor of over 50 doctoral dissertation committees at the University of Illinois, and he has served as a reader on several such committees of foreign universities. Since joining the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1954, he has been an invited lecturer or visiting professor at approximately 100 colleges and universities.
He has authored or co-authored over 70 articles and 11 books including Management Control Systems (1984), Accountants Handbook (1970), and Advanced Accounting: An Organizational Approach (1961). Several of his books have been translated into Japanese including Income Determination Theory (1965), Extensions of Accounting Disclosure (1973), and The Future of Accounting in a Changing Society (1970). He has contributed in a significant way to 34 books of which he was not an author, written over 20 book reviews, and made over 250 professional speeches. During the period 1957-69 he was a consulting accounting editor for McGraw-Hill Book Company. He has served on the Board of Editorial Advisors of The Journal of Auditing, Finance, and Accounting (1979-81) and since 1986 has been on the Editorial Board of the Hong Kong Journal of Business Management.
He has been active in professional organizations including president of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy (1978), and the AAA (1969-70), and vice-president of the NAA (1979-80) and the AAA (1961). He also served as a member of the NAA's Executive Committee (1981-84) and Board of Directors (1962), and chairman of its National Committee on Education (1980). He was also president (1957-58) of the Sangamon Valley (Illinois) chapter of the NAA. He was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (1974-77) and the Board of Trustees, Financial Accounting Foundation (1978- 80). A consultant to many companies, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the U. S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1969-70), and a trustee of the Accounting Research Association (1972-74) and Illinois Wesleyan University (1984-87). He was a member of the Board of Directors of the AICPA (1971-74), and a member of a number of that organization's committees including the Distinguished Awards Committee (1980), Ph.D. Grants Committee (1978-79), and Long-Range Objectives Committee (1959-65). He has served on many committees of the AAA including the Committee on the Future Structure, Content, and Scope of Accounting Education which published its report in 1986.
He has been presented the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award of the AAA (1980), the Illinois Society of CPAs (1986), and the AICPA (1987). Other professional honors include Outstanding Alumnus Award, Beta Alpha Psi, The Ohio State University (1981); Accountant of the Year, National Beta Alpha Psi (1976); Scholar of Excellence, University of Illinois (1973); Distinguished Service Award, The Ohio State University (1970); School of Business Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Tulane University (1963); and Fulbright Scholar (1972). In 1983 the Office of Accounting Research was established at the University of Illinois in honor of Bedford and fellow Hall of Fame member, Robert K. Mautz. He is a member of Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Gamma Sigma.
He married Helen Grace Horn on March 19, 1943; they have two children. In his leisure time he enjoys traveling, swimming, jogging, and golfing.