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Spotlight: St. Bonaventure University

The St. Bonaventure archive contains a wide variety of content, including the schools newspaper (The Bona Venture), financial statements, documents of the church, account books and more.

St. Bonaventure University was founded on October 4, 1858. The University is a private Franciscan university located in Allegany, New York.


“The St Bonaventure Archive contains such a wide variety of content, and it is a great tool for the staff, alumni, and community.”

~Brady Donohue, Advantage Archives

St. Bonaventure University’s founding is closely tied to the Franciscan tradition and the Catholic Church. In 1854, Nicholas Devereux, a prominent Catholic layman in New York, wrote to the Vatican seeking help to establish a college in Allegany, New York. His request was directed to the Franciscan Order.

In response, the Vatican tasked Father Pamfilo da Magliano, an Italian Franciscan, with this mission. Father Pamfilo arrived in the United States with several other Franciscan friars to establish a higher education institution. They chose a site in Western New York, which was then a remote and rural area, for the college.

The cornerstone for the first building, a simple wooden structure, was laid on October 4, 1856, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. The college was named after St. Bonaventure, a medieval Franciscan scholar. The school officially opened on October 4, 1858, with 13 students and a curriculum that included philosophy, theology, Latin, Greek, and various other subjects in the arts and sciences.

Initially, the college served primarily the sons of Irish and Italian immigrants who were part of the Catholic minority in the area. Over the years, St. Bonaventure expanded its academic offerings and grew in size, eventually becoming a significant institution of higher education, known for its strong Franciscan values and commitment to the liberal arts and sciences.

The St. Bonaventure Archive contains a variety of content from 1837-2022.

“The Bona Venture,” the student newspaper of St. Bonaventure University, has a rich history as a key part of the university’s student life and communication. Established in 1926, it has been a platform for students to express their views, report on-campus events, and discuss issues relevant to the university community.

The newspaper is primarily run by student journalists, editors, and staff members. It provides a practical learning experience for students interested in journalism, writing, editing, and other aspects of newspaper production.

Traditionally, “The Bona Venture” has been published on a weekly basis during the academic year.

The newspaper covers a wide range of topics, including university news, student and faculty achievements, sports events, editorial opinions, and features on various aspects of campus life. It serves as a historical record of the goings-on at St. Bonaventure University.

Advantage believes strongly in building lasting partnerships, which is why we enter into them with the intent of shouldering our fair share. We take the burden off of the community for the ongoing costs associated with storage, hosting, development, and maintenance of their Community History Archive. We are proud to participate actively in the community’s efforts to make their collective history more accessible.

If you are outside of St. Bonaventrue and would like to see YOUR local history online, please contact your local library, newspaper publisher, genealogical society, historical society, or educational institution, and encourage them to learn more about creating a Community History Archive like the one the Coe College has created for theirs. Ask them to e-mail us at, or have them contact us at (855) 303-2727.

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