By the middle of the eighteenth century the Carter family were well established in Portsmouth and held civic office there despite the fact that they had been a non-conformist family since the marriage of John Carter I to Mary White in 1710. Their son John II was elected a burgess of the town in 1732, became an alderman in 1744 and Mayor three years later. He held the latter office seven times in all. He married Susannah one of the daughters of William Pike whose other daughter Ann married John Bonham of Petersfield thus linking the two families. John's son, another John, became Mayor of Portsmouth nine times and High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1784. He was knighted by George III. The fourth John Carter was elected M.P. for Portsmouth 1816 and married in the same year Joanna Maria Smith whose father William was M.P. for Norwich and whose sister Frances married William Shore Nightingale.
In 1826 Thomas Bonham of Petersfield died. He was the younger son of John and Ann Bonham (see above) and was thus a cousin once removed of John Carter IV. Neither he nor his brother Henry married and he had made John his heir on condition that he assumed the additional name of Bonham.
The majority of the personal papers in this collection are those of John Bonham Carter and of one of his sons in particular, Henry (Harry) who married Sibella Norman. Harry Bonham Carter was closely involved with the work of his cousin Florence Nightingale on her return from the Crimea in setting up training schemes for nurses and establishing better conditions in hospitals. Many of her letters to him are concerned with the former and there are also many published works by her on related topics.
Harry and Sibella had twelve children, eleven sons and one daughter. It was the second son Gerard who appears to have been responsible for collecting the family diaries and letters and to have added them to his own records of farming at Beaulieu and Bramshaw in the period 1907-1933.
This collection of Bonham Carter family papers falls into several distinct groups, namely personal papers of Henry Bonham Carter and his family (see pedigree 2); estate papers of the senior branch of the family relating to East Meon; estate papers of Gerard Bonham Carter concerning property in Beaulieu and Bramshaw; papers of the Carter family of Portsmouth and of Thomas and Henry Bonham of Petersfield; correspondence, printed works and other papers of and concerning Florence Nightingale.
Bonham Carter family estate papers in Beaulieu, 1907-12; Bramshaw, 1912-32; Buriton, 1878-45; Chalton, 1927; Clanfield, 1900-18; East Meon, 1668-1908; Fareham, 1928; Langrish, 1908; East Meon, 1757-1914, Petersfield, 1893-1907; Sheet, 1900; Steep, 1866-1891; sale particulars, 1852-1958.
Family papers of: John Carter II, 1715-94; Sir John Carter, 1741-1808; John Bonham Carter I, 1788-1837; Joanna Maria Bonham Carter, 1791-1884; John Bonham Carter II, 1817-1884; John Bonham Carter III, 1852-1906; Harry Bonham Carter, 1827-1921; Sibella Charlotte Bonham Carter, 1837-1916; Herman Bonham Carter, 1863-1945; Gerard Bonham Carter, 1865-1956; Walter Bonham Carter, 1866-1947; Norman Bonham Carter, 1867-1917; Edgar Bonham Carter, 1870-1956; Reginald Bonham Carter, 1872-1906; Octavius Bonham Carter, 1873-1901; Philip Bonham Carter, 1874-1891; Frederick George Bonham Carter, 1877-1960s; Maurice Bonham Carter, 1880; Joanna Frances Bonham Carter,1864-1919; Alfred Bonham Carter, 1825-1910; Hugh Bonham Carter, 1832-1896; Joanna Hilary Bonham Carter, 1821-1865; Frances Maria Bonham Carter, 1823-70; Alice Bonham Carter, 1829-1912; Eleanor Mary Bonham Carter, 1837-1923; Philip Bonham Carter, 1874-91; Frederick George Bonham Carter, 1877-1970; Maurice Bonham Carter and his wife Violet, 1880-1978; Joan Bonham Carter, 1884-1947.
Papers of the following related families: Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910; Pike, 1766-1911; Norman, 1899-1954; Smith, 1736-1951; Bonham, 1737-1824; Wren Carter, 1874-1900.