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Bonner, Monsignor John J. Papers

Identifier: MC 49

Scope and Contents

The documents in this collection consist mainly of correspondence, prayers, sermons, speeches, etc. which were amassed by Msgr. Bonner during his career associated with the city of Philadelphia Catholic School System.


  • Creation: 1909-1945

Biographical / Historical

Monsignor Bonner was born in Philadelphia on November 2, 1890. He received his primary education at St. Agatha's and Our Lady of Sorrow's Schools. He graduated from Roman Catholic High School, entered St. Charles Seminary and transferred to the North American College in Rome where he studied at the Pontifical Atheneum of the Urban College "de Propaganda Fide".. He was ordained in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, in Rome on June 2, 1917, by Cardinal Pompili. Upon returning to America, he was appointed assistant rector (1917-1918) of St. Bridget's Church, left this post to serve as a U.S. Army chaplain (1918-1919) and, after his discharge from the army, was appointed vice-rector of Roman Catholic High School. Between 1923 and 1926, he served at St. Bernard’s of Easton, Pa. and taught at Immaculata College. In 1926 Monsignor Bonner was appointed Philadelphia Diocesan Superintendent of Schools and remained in this position until his death in 1945. In 1929, he was appointed Domestic Prelate, Rt. Rev. Monsignor by Pope Pius XI. During his career he received honorary degrees from Villanova College and St. Joseph's College. During his term as Philadelphia Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, Monsignor Bonner earned a nationwide reputation as an educator, orator, teacher and administrator. He was in great demand by educators who sought advice on problems of both teacher and pupil, He was an outstanding figure in these discussions. Monsignor Bonner's interests were not limited to scholastics. He was also involved in sports in which he was one of the founders of the Catholic Schools League and its first president. As school superintendent, he made sports an integral part of the schools' program. Monsignor Bonner died on November 27, 1945. Although his health was a source of concern for several years to his friends and colleagues, his passing was sudden and a great shock to all who knew him.


2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Repository

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149