Information for Researchers
System of Arrangement
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Bohnett-Evans family papers
Date (inclusive): 1853-1994
Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/388 c
Bohnett, John Bevens
Bohnett, Ruth Evans
Bohnett, Lewis D.
Evans, George S. (George Spafford), 1826-1883
Number of containers: 16 cartons, 13 boxes, 14 volumes, and 8 oversize folders
Linear feet: 30
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
The Bohnett-Evans Family Papers, 1853-1994, are comprised of correspondence, legal files, and the memorabilia of two early
California families, the Bohnetts of San Jose and the Evanses of San Francisco. The inclusive dates span more than a century
and touch on such noteworthy topics as the California Gold Rush, Indian Wars, Progressive Party politics, and the urbanization
of the San Jose area. A significant amount of information about women's history and the homefront during World War II may
also be garnered from the correspondence and memorabilia in the collection. The best represented figures in the collection
are General George S. Evans, Lewis D. (L.D.) Bohnett and his wife, Ivadelle (Bevens) Bohnett, their son, John B. Bohnett,
and his wife Ruth Evans Bohnett.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information
on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head
of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94270-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The
Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright
owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.
[Identification of item], Bohnett-Evans Family Papers, BANC MSS 99/388 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California,
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Santa Clara County Progressive: oral history transcript/Lewis D. Bohnett; tape-recorded interview conducted by Helene M. Brewer
and Willa K. Baum in 1964; Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California,
BANC MSS 69/168 c
Motion Picture Collection 920, The Bancroft Library
The John Bevens Bohnett, Ruth Evans Bohnett, Joan Evans Bohnett, and Barbara L. Bohnett collection of family photographs,
circa 1850- circa 1960. BANC PIC 2000.027
Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Progressive Party (1912)
Indians of North America--Wars--California
Women--United States--History--20th century
Willow Glen (San Jose, Calif.)
California--Politics and government--1850-1950
San Jose (Calif.)--History
The Bohnett-Evans Family Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Joan Bohnett and Barbara Bohnett on October 13, 1999.
No additions are expected.
Processed by Michele Morgan and Preethi Balakrishnan in 2002.
General George S. Evans
General George S. Evans came to California in 1849 by way of Michigan and Texas, where he served in the Texas Rangers. Over
the next ten years he was involved in mining, business, and eventually government work for both Tuolumne County and the State
of California. He married Fannie Markham of Sonora in 1857. On October 16, 1861, he joined the California Volunteers at
Camp Alert in San Francisco and was commissioned as a major, and later a lieutenant colonel, in the Tuolumne Rangers, Company
E, Second Cavalry. Over the next two years he led three companies on Indian campaigns in Southern California and Utah. In
1863 he resigned his commission and returned to California, where he was involved in politics, serving as a state senator
and the mayor of Stockton. In the 1880's he made an unsuccessful bid to be the Republican Party's gubernatorial candidate.
He moved to San Francisco with his family in 1880, when he was appointed the State Harbor Commissioner. He remained there
until his death in 1883.
George Spafford Evans
George and Fannie Evans had six children, four daughters and two sons. Their eldest son, George Spafford Evans, Jr., was
born in 1874. He went to work as Leland Stanford's office boy in 1887, and remained with Southern Pacific Railroad for 57
years. In 1898 he married Hattie Milliken, and they built their home on Castro Street in San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake.
They had one daughter, Ruth, born in 1913.
Ruth Evans Bohnett
Ruth Evans Bohnett grew up in San Francisco. As a young woman she corresponded with numerous friends and relatives and created
elaborate scrapbooks, a hobby she apparently learned from her mother. In the early 1930's Ruth attended the University of
California, Berkeley. She graduated in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in economics. During her time at the university she
was president of her sorority, Phi Omega Pi; Women's Manager of the
Blue and Gold; a member of the Women's Executive Committee; and a member of the Prytanean Society. In December, 1937, she married John
(Jack) Bevens Bohnett of San Jose. They settled in San Jose, where they had two daughters, Joan and Barbara. Ruth became
a member of the San Jose Women's Club and served on the advisory board for the San Jose Nursery. She was also a member of
at least two social clubs, the Philanthropic and Educational Organization (PEO) and To Kalon. Before her death in 1994, Ruth
published a book about her paternal grandfather, called The Saga of General George S. Evans, 1886-1883: Civil War Brigadier
General, '49er and Noted Californian (Linrose Publishing Company, Fresno, California, 1992).
Lewis Dan (L.D.) Bohnett
Lewis Dan (L. D.) Bohnett was born in 1880 on a farm near Campbell in Santa Clara County. He entered the University of California,
Berkeley in 1902, and graduated in 1906. In 1907 he was admitted to the California State Bar, and he worked in Sacramento
as a clerk for the California State Assembly. In 1908 he was elected to the Assembly on the Republican ticket. He served
in the Assembly from 1908 to 1914, most of that time as a Progressive. In 1914 he ran for United States Congress on the Progressive
Party ticket and was defeated by Everis Anson (E.A.) Hayes. Afterwards, he started practicing law in San Jose. In addition
to his law practice L. D. was involved in the Santa Clara Water Conservation District and served as a member of the Board
of Directors of San Jose State College, now San Jose State University, for 43 years. He died in 1970.
Ivadelle (Bevens) Bohnett
In 1908, L. D. met Ivadelle Bevens at her initiation into the Order of the Eastern Star. They were married in 1910 and lived
primarily in Sacramento, until they returned to San Jose after he lost the congressional election in 1914. They had two sons,
John Bevens Bohnett and Lewis Dan Bohnett, Jr. Ivadelle Bohnett was born in Michigan in 1886. She was raised in Yuba City,
California. After she finished grammar school, her family moved to San Jose, where she attended San Jose High School and
San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University). She was certified as a grammar school teacher in 1908, and she taught
in Redwood City, San Luis Obispo, and San Jose, until her marriage to L. D. Bohnett. She was involved in several social organizations,
including the Young Women's Club of San Jose, the Order of the Eastern Star, and To Kalon. When her son, Jack, entered the
University of California, Berkeley and became a member of the Abracadabra Fraternity, she joined the Abra Mothers' Club.
In addition to her other activities Ivadelle corresponded with friends and family and entertained in the gardens of the family's
San Jose home. She died in 1970, six days before her husband passed away.
John (Jack) Bohnett was born in 1914. He spent most of his childhood in San Jose and entered the University of California,
Berkeley in 1931. He graduated in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in political science and briefly attended Boalt Hall Law
School. In 1937 he married Ruth Evans, who he met while both were traveling on the East Coast in 1932. Eventually, he finished
his law studies at the University of Santa Clara (now Santa Clara University), passed the California Bar Exam in 1940, and
joined his father's law firm. In 1944, Jack joined the United States Navy. He trained at the U. S. Naval Training Center
in Farragut, Idaho, and then was sent to San Diego to train as a radio operator. He was assigned to a troop transport ship,
Napa which participated in the war in the South Pacific. He remained on active duty until the end of the war, and returned to
his family and legal practice in San Jose in December, 1945. He died in 1983.
System of Arrangement
Arranged to the folder level.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Bohnett-Evans Family Papers are comprised of correspondence, legal files, and the memorabilia of two early California
families, the Bohnetts of San Jose and the Evanses of San Francisco. The inclusive dates span more than a century and touch
on such noteworthy topics as the California Gold Rush, Indian Wars, Progressive Party politics, and the urbanization of the
San Jose area. A significant amount of information about women's history and the homefront during World War II may also be
garnered from the correspondence and memorabilia in the collection. The best represented figures in the collection are General
George S. Evans, Lewis D. (L. D.) Bohnett and his wife, Ivadelle (Bevens) Bohnett, their son, John B. Bohnett, and his wife,
Ruth Evans Bohnett.
The bulk of the correspondence in the collection was written and saved by the women, and many of the letters were exchanged
among family members. Of particular interest are the letters sent by General Evans to Fannie Markham during their courtship,
and while he was commanding the Second Cavalry of the California Volunteers during the Indian Wars in California and Utah
in the 1860's. There are also some letters sent by L. D. Bohnett to Ivadelle Bohnett during his unsuccessful campaign to
become a member of the United States House of Representatives on the Progressive Party ticket in 1913. Perhaps the most unusual
exchange of correspondence is the World War II letters among John Bohnett and both his wife, Ruth Bohnett, and his mother,
Ivadelle Bohnett. This is one of the few instances in the collection in which the women's correspondence was preserved by
one of the men. Other immediate family members, particularly of the Bohnett family, are also represented in the correspondence.
The legal files are primarily from L. D. Bohnett's early practice in San Jose. In addition to his business dealings they
include information on his involvement in the Santa Clara County Water Reclamation District, San Jose State College, and his
Progressive Party political career. There is also a significant amount of information on the district of Willow Glen, before
it became incorporated into the City of San Jose.
Items in the personalia series include diaries, scrapbooks, autograph albums, account books, and a wide variety of other miscellaneous
papers concerning the personal and professional lives of family members. There are a number of women's club programs from
To Kalon, Order of the Eastern Star, and the Philanthropic and Educational Organization (PEO) among Ivadelle Bohnett's papers.
Some general memorabilia and personnel records of John Bohnett's service during World War II are of interest. Among Ruth
Bohnett's personalia are eight copies of
The Journal from San Francisco Girls High School, and 15 scrapbooks created over the course of almost 30 years, ranging from her childhood
to shortly after her marriage to John Bohnett.
The Bohnett-Evans Papers provide a remarkably detailed window into the lives of two upper-middle class families descended
from some of California's American pioneers. Researchers who are interested in women's or family history, social history,
or the history of the San Jose, and particularly Willow Glen, area will find the papers to be particularly useful. Also,
the correspondence pertaining to the Indian Wars, Progressive Party politics and World War II affords some unique perspectives
on larger historical events, as seen through the eyes of these participants.