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Bonney (Thérèse) papers
BANC MSS 83/111 z  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Thérèse Bonney papers document her photojournalism during World War II and her contributions to war relief efforts in Europe, her life as an art collector, writer, and publicist, and her lifelong interest in French culture and work promoting Franco-American friendship. The collection is divided into seven series: Correspondence; Biographical Materials and Personalia; Writings; World War II; Chain d’Amite and Franco-American Friendship; Art, Fashion, and Photography; and “Project Fromage.”
Background
Mabel Thérèse Bonney was a pioneering photographer and war correspondent. She was born July 15, 1894 in Syracuse, New York to Anthony Le Roy and Addie Bonnie. She moved to California with her mother when she was five. Bonney graduated from the University of California in 1916, got an M.A. in Romance Languages from Radcliffe College, and received her Docteur des Lettres degree from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1921. Bonney wrote a number of guides to Paris and French culture (some with her sister Louise) in the late 1920s and early 1930s. She founded and directed the Bonney Service, the first American illustrated press service in Europe, from 1923-1938, supplying text and photographs to magazines and newspapers in 33 countries. Exhibits of photographs she collected garnered Bonney a reputation in the art world, and in 1935, she moved to New York to become director of the new Maison Française, a gallery dedicated to fostering better cultural understanding between the United States and France. Bonney took up photography herself in the late 1930s. She published a behind-the-scenes look at the Vatican for Life in 1938, and traveled to Finland in 1939 to photograph preparations for the Olympic Games. She was the only photojournalist there when Russia invaded, and gained wide acclaim for her coverage of the Russo-Finnish War. Bonney then returned to France, where she documented the German invasion and, later, the liberation of France. In 1940, back in the States, Bonney exhibited her photos showing how the war affected noncombatants at the Library of Congress and the Modern Museum of Art. The Carnegie Corporation gave her a grant to return to Europe to further document the effects of the World War II on the civilian population. Her photographs of the war’s effects on children were particularly moving, and a compilation became her best known project, “Europe’s Children.” During the war, she was also involved in missions for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and worked with the French Red Cross. Bonney’s war correspondence and photojournalism earned her The White Rose, Finland’s highest honor, and France’s Croix de Guerre. Bonney founded a number of organizations dedicated to improving Franco-American relations. Chain d’Amite (Friendship Chain) encouraged French families to open their homes to American G.I.s. It eventually spread to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Project Patriotism encouraged airmen and parachuters who were shot down in France to help the French people who had rescued them. Late in life Bonney advocated for the rights of the elderly and lobbied to extend Medicare rights to American citizens living in Paris. She died in Paris on January 23, 1978.
Extent
32.85 Linear Feet (14 cartons, 1 cardfile box, 3 oversize boxes, 14 volumes, 2 oversize folders, 1 microfilm reel)
Restrictions
Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. 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 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Availability
Collection is open for research.