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Bonney (Thérèse) papers
BANC MSS 83/111 z  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Accruals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • System of Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Related Collections
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Separated Materials
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Bonney (Thérèse) papers
    Creator: Bonney, Thérèse, 1894-1978
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 83/111 z
    Physical Description: 32.85 Linear Feet (14 cartons, 1 cardfile box, 3 oversize boxes, 14 volumes, 2 oversize folders, 1 microfilm reel)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1904-1982
    Abstract: 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.”
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English and French.
    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.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.


    No future additions are expected.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The Thérèse Bonney papers were given to The Bancroft Library in 1978 by the estate of Thérèse Bonney.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Microfilm copy of vol. 10


    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Thérèse Bonney papers, BANC MSS 83/111zc,The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Marjorie Bryer in 2018.

    Related Collections

    Thérèse Bonney photograph collection (BANC PIC 1982.111)
    Thérèse Bonney papers relating to her photographic work (BANC MSS 70/91c)
    Thérèse Bonney [electronic resource] : the architectural photographs / by Claire Bonney
    Papers of Thérèse Bonney (A-96, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University)
    The Thérèse Bonney collection at St. Bonaventure University
    Other collections of Thérèse Bonney photographs in the United States include the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York Public Library and Library of Congress. In France, related collections are housed at the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) and the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris.

    Scope and Content Note

    The Thérèse Bonney papers document her photojournalism during World War II; her contributions to war relief efforts in Europe; her life as an art collector and historian; her career as a writer and publicist; her lifelong interest in French culture; and her 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.”
    Bonney’s original folder titles were retained in the language in which she wrote them. The collection is in English and French. Bonney wrote on and revised documents for multiple purposes, so there are many different versions of the same (or similar) writings. Also, newspaper clippings in the cartons may duplicate those collected in scrapbooks.

    Separated Materials

    Photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bonney, Thérèse, 1894-1978 -- Archives.
    Artists -- France.
    Photography -- History
    Women war correspondents -- Europe.
    Women photographers -- Europe.
    Women journalists
    Russo-Finnish War, 1939-1940
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Children.
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief -- Europe.
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Europe.
    World War, 1939-1945 -- France -- Alsace.
    University of California, Berkeley -- Alumni and alumnae.
    Bonney, Thérèse, 1894-1978