Yale University Library

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Beinecke Digital Collections

Thérèse Bonney

Therese Bonney wearing medal, February 1942 Thérèse Bonney (born Mabel Bonney, Syracuse, New York, July 15, 1894 - Paris, France, January 15, 1978) was an American photographer and publicist.

Bonney was best known for her images taken during World War II on the Russian-Finnish front. Her war effort resulted in her being decorated with the Croix de guerre in May 1941 and one of the five degrees the Légion d’honneur. She published several photo-essays and was the subject of the 1944 ''True Comics'' issue "Photofighter."

Bonney received a bachelor-of-arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1916 and, in the year subsequent, a master's degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She settled in Paris and studied at the Sorbonne from 1918–19, publishing a thesis on the moral ideas in the theater of Alexandre Dumas, père, receiving a docteur-des-lettres degree in 1921, and thus became the youngest person, the fourth woman, and the tenth American of either sex to receive the degree from the institution. She was also the first American to receive a scholarship from the Sorbonne.[http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/Biographies/theresebonney/] After graduation she received the Horatio Stebbins Scholarship; The Belknap, Baudrillart, and Billy Fellowships; and the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation Oberländer grant in 1936 in order to study Germany's contributions to the history of photography.[http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/Biographies/theresebonney/]

From ca. 1925, she thoroughly documented the French decorative arts through photography. An ardent self-publicist, Bonney acquired the images directly from the Salon exhibitions, stores, manufacturers, architects, and designers of furniture, ceramics, jewelry, and other applied art as well as architecture. However, at this time, most of the photographs were not taken by Bonney herself, but rather she gathered them from sources such as other photographers, photo agencies, architects, designers, stores, and various establishments. She sold the photographic prints to various client-subscribers primarily in the U.S. (a small-effort precursor to today's illustrated news agency) and charged fees for reproduction rights in a more traditional manner.[http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/Biographies/theresebonney/] She typed captions and glued them to the backs of the photographic prints. Her own photographs as well as those of others, sometimes reconnoitered without permissions, were widely published — both with and without published credits.

She attended the 1930 "Stockholmsutstäliningen" (Stockholm Exhibition) and gathered photographs there and, while in the Netherlands, images of contemporary Dutch architecture.

After her decade-and-a-half activities in publicity and the photography of the decorative arts and architecture by others, Bonney took up photography herself and became a photojournalist. Based on her concerns with the ravages caused by World War II, her images focused on civilians, at first on the Russian-Finnish front. For the endeavor, she was granted the Order of the White Rose of...
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 for search: 'Bonney, Therese, 1894-1978', query time: 0.19s
View: List list Grid grid


Expand Your Search

Search our local catalog, finding aids, and more.

Need assistance?

Ask a librarian.