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Collection Number: 03865

Collection Title: John Henry William Bonitz Papers, 1863-1973

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 9 items)
Abstract John Henry William Bonitz was a German immigrant who came to Goldsboro, N.C., in 1859. He married Mary Stegner (1845-1921), also a German immigrant, in 1862, and moved to Wilmington, N.C., in 1887. He was proprietor, with his brother Julius, of the Goldsboro, N.C., Messenger and the Wilmington, N.C., Messenger newspapers, a hotel, and a farm. The collection includes three scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings of columns written 1902-1912 by Bonitz and his wife, Mary, concerning past days, 1859-1887, in Goldsboro; clippings, mainly 1891-1912, of similar columns by J. M. Hollowell; and items about the Bonitz family, especially Julius August Bonitz (1841-1891), and other German Americans, and about events of the 1890s at Wilmington. Also included are manuscript memoranda on family matters, and a volume entitled "Some Bonitz Families: A Genealogical Survey," written in 1973 by John H. W. Bonitz Jr. (1930- ) of Greensboro, N.C., concerning Bonitz family members in East and West Germany and the United States. Photographs include two of African Americans: Wilmington editor Alexander Manly, 1898; and a man identified only as "Drake," who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Wilmington in 1897.
Creator Bonitz, John Henry William, 1839-1913.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the John Henry William Bonitz Papers #3865, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Fred W. Bonitz of Charlotte, N.C., in August 1968, and John H. W. Bonitz Jr. of Greensboro, N.C., in June 1974.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Henry Bonitz of Hanover, Germany, sent three sons to America around 1855: Henry Bonitz; William (or John Henry William); and Julius August Bonitz. On the ship, they met Henry C. Prempert and his wife, formerly married to a Dr. von Stegner as his second wife. With the Premperts were two girls, Lisette Stegner, daughter of Dr. Stegner and his first wife, and Marie Stegner, daughter of Dr. Stegner and Mrs. Prempert. Henry Bonitz married Lisette Stegner and moved to Washington, D.C.

John Henry William Bonitz secured employment in Baltimore, Md., and later in Washington, D.C., before moving in 1859 to Goldsboro, N.C., where the Premperts had settled. He married Marie (Mary) Stegner on 10 June 1862. He went into business and was later joined by Julius; among their enterprises was the the Goldsboro Messenger.

In 1887, William and Julius went to Wilmington, N.C., and ran, unsuccessfully, the Wilmington Messenger. Julius died in 1891. William bought and renovated the Carolina Hotel on Market Street and operated it as the Bonitz Hotel. The Premperts also moved to Wilmington.

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The collection includes three scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings of columns written 1902-1912 by journalist, editor, and businessman John Henry William Bonitz and his wife, Mary Stegner Bonitz, concerning past days, 1859-1887, in Goldsboro, N.C.; clippings, mainly 1891-1912, of similar columns by J. M. Hollowell; and items about the Bonitz family, especially Julius August Bonitz (1841-1891), and other German Americans, and about events of the 1890s at Wilmington, N.C. Also included are manuscript memoranda on family matters, and a volume entitled "Some Bonitz Families: A Genealogical Survey," written in 1973 by John H. W. Bonitz Jr. (1930- ) of Greensboro, N.C., concerning Bonitz family members in East Germany, West Germany, and the United States. Photographs include two of African Americans: Wilmington editor Alexander Manly, 1898; and a man identified only as "Drake," who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Wilmington in 1897.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973.

9 items.

Scrapbooks of the Bonitzes and a genealogical volume. The scrapbooks chiefly contain clippings of newspaper columns, circa 1909-1912, by John Henry William Bonitz and his wife, Mary Stegner Bonitz, concerning life in Goldsboro, N.C., 1859-1887. The columns include information about the Bonitz family; personal recollections; biographical and narrative accounts of Goldsboro people and events, and, to some extent, other North Carolinians, especially German Americans; incidents of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period; and local business enterprises in Wayne County.

Other clippings include notices of members of the Bonitz family, their friends, marriages, parties, and obituaries in Goldsboro and Wilmington. There are also items about North Carolina public affairs, Wilmington events and general articles and poems. Mary Bonitz's name does not appear in the newspapers in connection with her pieces which are signed "Priscilla" or "An Old Goldsboroian." Her authorship has been indicated by a member of the family on these copies. She also contributed a series, "Letter from the South," written from Wilmington, N.C., in 1893 to a German language newspaper in Chicago (possibly Die Western or Deutsche Zeitung).

Photographs 1-4 were removed from volume 2; photograph 5 remains mounted in the volume.

Folder 1

Volume 1: 1863-1864, 1981-1917, 1960; 25 pages #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." Folder 1

Bonitz newspaper columns of reminiscences; clippings about Julius August Bonitz and North Carolina politics and public events; printed forms, 1863-1864, certifying physical unfitness for military duty; and Fred W. Bonitz's examination papers for the Sprague Correspondence School of Law, Detroit, Mich.

Folder 2-3

Folder 2

Folder 3

Enclosures from Volume 1 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." Folder 2-3

Folder 4

Volume 2: 1891-1912; 364 pages #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." Folder 4

Bonitz columns of reminiscences; Hollowell columns of reminiscences; Hollowell's obituary notice, 1912; several pieces by J. H. W. Bonitz on "Life History of Julius A. Bonitz"; two addresses delivered by Fred W. Bonitz at North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College as student orator and alumni speaker; miscellaneous items concerning the Civil War and North Carolina topics of the 1890s; and one albumen print of an unidentified woman (P-3865/5). Pages 287-290 are manuscript pages of personal recollections of John H. W. Bonitz about his coming to Goldsboro in 1859.

Folder 5

Volume 3: 1893-1910 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." Folder 5

Same material as above, but also a German language column written by Mary Bonitz for a Chicago newspaper, 1893; manuscript notes on family matters; and dates of marriages of her children, births of her grandchildren, and some deaths.

Folder 6

Volume 4: 1973, 110 pages #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." Folder 6

"Some Bonitz Families: A Genealogical Survey" by John H. Bonitz.

Image P-3865/1

Mounted albumen print (trimmed cabinet card) of (Shoemaker?) Drake, circa 1897 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." P-3865/1

Image P-3865/2

Mounted albumen print (trimmed cabinet card) of Alexander Manly, circa 1870-1890 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." P-3865/2

Image P-3865/3

Cabinet card of the office building of the Messenger, Goldsboro, N.C., circa 1880-1890 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." P-3865/3

Image P-3865/4-5

P-3865/4

P-3865/5

Cabinet card of an unidentified young woman, circa 1880-1890 #03865, Series: "Volumes and Photographs, 1863-1973." P-3865/4-5

P-3865/5 remains mounted in Volume 2.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996

Encoded by: Roslyn Holdzkom, June 2007

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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