Bonzano, Maximilian F. | Tulane University Special Collections

Name: Bonzano, Maximilian F.

Historical Note: Maximilian Ferdinand Bonzano (1821-1895) was a physician, minter, and administrator. Born in Ebingen, Germany, he arrived in New Orleans in 1835, working first in a printing office as a roller boy and then as a printer. He then became a druggist apprentice and a pharmacist. In 1843, he began to study medicine at Charity Hospital, and upon graduation was appointed a visiting physician. In 1848, President Polk appointed him melter and refiner of the New Orleans mint and was later appointed assayer, a position that he kept until the Civil War. Bonzano opposed slavery and secession and fled to New York City until New Orleans was captured by Union Forces. He returned to New Orleans in 1862 as superintendent of the New Orleans Mint. He also became a lighthouse engineer and inspector. He was elected from his district as a delegate to Louisiana's 1864 constitutional convention where he chaired the committee on emancipation and wrote the ordinance that freed the state's slaves. Louisiana's first Republican convention elected him as a delegate to the party's 1864 national convention. He was elected to Congress but Congress refused to seat the state's delegation. In 1872 he chaired the state's Republican electoral college and the following year received an appointment as surveyor-general of the port of New Orleans, giving up that position in 1874 to become superintendent of the mint until the mint became an assay office in 1875. After the extension of silver coinage in 1878 and the reinstatement of the mint, he took the position of coiner and also served as melter and refiner until he retired in 1883. He was defeated the same year as the Republican nominee for state treasurer. He retired to a plantation in St. Bernard Parish.
Sources: Manuscripts Collection 829
Note Author: LAC Group

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