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Bonomi (John) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Bonomi papers
    Dates: 1940-1944
    Collection number: 2006.22
    Creator: Bonomi, John, 1910-1972
    Collection Size: .25 linear feet (1 box)
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: John Bonomi worked for the Brunswig Drug Company and supplied pharmaceutical materials to Japanese Americans in concentration camps. This collection contains correspondences from various Japanese Americans who requested medicine and household materials, discussed payment methods, shared camp life, and friendly inquires. This collection also includes postcards and holiday greeting cards from Japanese Americans.
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum, 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90012


    By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Bonomi papers. 2006.22, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of John Carl Bonomi and Lillian Clara Bonomi, 2006.

    Biography / Administrative History

    John Bonomi grew up in Los Angeles, California and worked for Brunswig Drug Company shortly before World War II. Bonomi, a representative for Brunswig, sold wholesale drugs to Pharmacists in Little Tokyo before the war. When his pharmacist clients were taken to camp, Bonomi continued to keep in contact with them, and providing basic supplies for ailments throughout the war. Bonomi traveled to Manzanar several times to drop off medicine, and also sent supplies to clients in various camps (Poston, Gila River).
    Bonomi moved to Monterrey Park during the war years as there was not much of a market left in Little Tokyo. Bonomi moved to the Long Beach area following the war.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The John Bonomi Papers contain correspondences from various senders including envelopes, postcards, and holiday greeting cards. Many of his clients wrote to Bonomi on the letterhead of the concentration camp's hospital and asked for certain medicines to be sent to camp. One of the letters asked Bonomi to send a tube of lipstick for her birthday. The letters not only talked of the supplies needed, but also the conditions of the camp, the health of their families, their personal feelings about the war, and discussed payment methods. The letters show little the doctors, pharmacists, and nurses had to start up hospitals in the camps. The men and women were asking for such basic supplies to treat such simple ailments and relied upon Mr. Bonomi to provide them what they needed.


    The collection is broken down into the following series:
    Series 1: Correspondences from Frank Kumamoto and M. Nobe, 1942 (9 Correspondences. This series contains five correspondences from Frank Kumamoto (aka Match), four correspondences from Nobe, and one Christmas card.
    Series 2: Correspondences from Masuoka Pharmacy, 1942 (5 Correspondences). This series contains one Christmas card, one postcard, and five correspondences.
    Series 3: Correspondences from David S. Miyamoto, 1942-1944 (11 correspondences). This series contains one New Years greeting card and eleven correspondences from Miyamoto.
    Series 4: Correspondences from Toshiyuki, 1942 (3 correspondences). This series contains three correspondences from Toshiyuki.
    Series 5: Correspondences from various senders, 1940-1944 (6 correspondences. This series contains one Christmas card, one order sheet document, a postcard, and six correspondences.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bonomi, John, 1910-1972
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    Japanese Americans
    World War II
    Los Angeles (Calif.)