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Stephen Bonsal
Sketch of Stephen Bonsal 1898
Born (1865-03-29)March 29, 1865
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died June 8, 1951(1951-06-08) (aged 86)
Nationality American
Occupation journalist, war correspondent, diplomat, translator
Years active 1885–1951

The United States - Mexico Commission. Standing from left to right are: Stephen Bonsal, Attache of the State Department and Advisor to the American Commission; American Secretary of State Robert Lansing; Eliseo Arredondo, the Mexican ambassador designate, and L.S. Rowe, the Secretary to the American Commission. Sitting from left to right are John Raleigh Mott of New York City; Judge George Gray of Wilmington, Delaware; Secretary of the Interior Franklin Knight Lane; Luis Cabrera Lobato, chairman of the Mexican delegation and Secretary of the Treasury of Mexico, Alberto J. Pani, President of the National Railways of Mexico; and Ignacio Bonillas, Minister of Communications and Public Works.. The image was taken at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on September 9, 1916.

Stephen Bonsal (March 29, 1865 – June 8, 1951) was an American journalist, war correspondent, author, diplomat and translator, who won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for History.

Early life

Bonsal was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He continued his studies in Germany at Heidelberg, Bonn and Vienna.[1] Bonsal traveled extensively. He claimed that he had visited all the countries of Europe, Asia (with the exception of Persia), and South America.


Bonsal was later a special correspondent of the New York Herald (1885–1907), reporting the development of military conflicts including

He was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times in 1910–1911.


In 1891-1896, Bonsal served as secretary and chargé-d'affaire of the US diplomatic missions in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. He also served for at short time at the US embassy in Madrid.[1]

World War I

During World War I Bonsal served in the American Expeditionary Forces with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Afterwards he was President Woodrow Wilson's private translator during the 1919 Peace Conference in Paris.[2]

Unfinished Business (1944), a diary describing his experiences during the Paris Peace Treaty negotiations, describing all the Allied infighting and waxing lyrical about the plight of the wounded veterans and their families won him the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for History.[3]

"No one else has presented the plight of the plain people of Europe, in relation to the strained secrecy of the Conference, and few have written of their agony as does Colonel Bonsal in terms so hardheaded and so poignant." (Time Magazine)

Selected works

In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Stephen Bonsal, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 70+ works in 180+ publications in 6 languages and 4,400 library holdings.[4]

  • Morocco as It Is (1894, W. H. Allen, London)[5]
  • The Real Condition of Cuba Today (1897, Harper, New York, NY)[6]
  • The Fight for Santiago (1899, Doubleday & McClure, New York, NY)[7]
  • The Golden Horseshoe (1906, Macmillan, New York, NY)[8]
  • The American Mediterranean (1912, Moffat and Yard, New York, NY)[9]
  • Edward Fitzgerald Beale (1912, Putnam, New York, NY)[10]
  • Heyday in a Vanished World (1937, Norton, New York, NY) (autobiography)[11]
  • Unfinished Business (1944, Doubleday, New York, NY) (1945 Pulitzer Prize for History)[12]
  • When the French Were Here (1945, Doubleday, New York, NY)
  • Suitors and Supplicants (1946, Prentice-Hall, New York, NY)
  • The Cause of Liberty (1947, M. Joseph, London)



  • Leonard, John William and Albert Nelson Marquis. (1906). Who's who in America. Vol. 4. Chicago: A.N. Marquis. OCLC 1141571

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