The James C. Bonner papers contain 20.9 cubic feet of seven series of 37 file boxes, plus three individual oversized boxes containing maps, posters and Confederate and German currency, six artifact boxes of notecards, and a storage box of published materials and research. The materials span the years from 1811-1984, with the most concentration in the years 1930 - 1973. Contents include published and unpublished manuscripts written by Bonner, drafts of his journal articles, photographs, scrapbooks, genealogical material, awards, 19th century letters, Civil War materials and newspaper clippings of events in areas of professional and personal interest.
The collection contains small gaps in both personal and professional correspondence. There is both personal and professional material in the form of correspondence; minutes of meetings and other official records from his 25 years as a Professor of History, Chairman of the Department of History and Chairman of Faculty Research and Graduate Study at the Woman's College of Georgia; and his achievements while teaching.
Series 1 (Boxes 1-8) contains personal correspondence with friends and family, with the highest concentrations to and from his parents and his wife. The folders are arranged in chronological order within each subseries.
Series 2 (Boxes 1-6) consists Bonner's professional correspondence. This includes correspondence with publishers, former and current students, the Southern Historical Association, and professional colleagues.
Series 3 (Box 1) consists of materials concerning his tenure and work with institutions beyond Georgia College, including West Georgia College, Emory University, Georgia Military College, and Randolph Macon Woman's College. Information relating to grades found in the Emory University file is currently restricted.
Series 4 (Boxes 1-4) contains all materials relating to Bonner's tenure at Georgia State College for Women / Georgia College. This includes faculty data and personnel data, annual reports from the Department of History, class notes and exams, information relating to his book The History of Georgia College, and materials from lectures and talks given while a professor at the school. Box 4 contains grade books from Bonner and colleagues and is currently restricted. This series also includes placement history information that is currently restricted.
Series 5 (Box 1) contains materials from his service on both statewide and local committees concerning education. This includes work on the Georgia Historical Commission and committees concerning graduate work across the state.
Series 6 (Boxes 1-16) contains all of Bonner's research, publications, notes and notecards, primary documents, and other materials. Boxes 1-4 contain manuscript material related to Milledgeville: Georgia's Antebellum Capital, as well as other publications, such as the Georgia Story. Notable people within this series are Bonner's colleagues Fletcher M. Green and E. Merton Coulter. Boxes 11-13 contain Bonner's field notes from his hand-written notebooks, and boxes 14-15 and the individual notecard boxes include notecards relating to his research. Notecard Box 1 contains 189 cards related to Bonner's research notebooks. Notecard Box 2 contains 960 cards, E-Z with names, ranks, some with date, place and cause of death and biographical background of soldiers in the Civil War in alphabetical order. Box 16 includes copies of Bonner's publications, as well as other publications he used for research.
Series 7 (Box 1-2) is the Bonner Family History, a scrapbook and personal correspondence with family members regarding the family history, as well as the manuscript of the chapters of a book entitled Migration Patterns of the Descendants of Thomas Bonner. Bonner family genealogy information is also included in this box. This also includes financial information, legal information, Bonner's educational history, and information on his children. Two boxes pertaining to the health information of Allen and Page are restricted.