August G. Tonnies, president of the Colorprint Label Company of St. Louis, was born January 13, 1844, in Welsede, in the Province of Hanover, Germany, a son of Christian and Susanna (Hovenkohl) Tonnies. The father was a forester and spent his entire life in his native land. Both he and his wife were born in Duingen, Germany, and in 1850 removed to Dissen, Germany.
August G. Tonnies was educated in the public schools of Duingen, Aschendorf and Rothenfelde and also the high school at Dissen, and while a student in the last named institution specialized in the study of foreign languages, becoming proficient in English, French, Latin and other tongues. In 1858, at the age of fourteen years, he came to America, making his way direct to St. Louis where he arrived on the 28th of September. On the 27th of March, 1859, he secured employment in the book store of John W. McIntyre and later entered the same line of business on his own account, con tinuing successfully in that field until 1875, his store being located at the corner of 14th and Clinton streets. On the 24th of October of the latter year he became manager of the Eden Publishing House at Eighteenth and Chouteau avenue, successfully conducting the affairs of the business for twenty years. This company was engaged in the publication of religious books for the Evangelical Synod. Since 1910 Mr. Tonnies has been president of the Colorprint Label Company which he organized and which is one of the largest of the kind in the west. They turn out work of the highest degree of skill and efficiency and their patronage is now very extensive.
On the 11th of April, 1867, in St. Louis, Mr. Tonnies was married to Miss Henrietta Louisa Peters, a native of Rothenfelde, Germany. They have become parents of six sons and two daughters: Fred L.; George F. deceased; August H.; Susanna W.; Henrietta; Louis G., who has passed away; Alfred K.; and Harry A.
Mr. Tonnies is a member of the Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital Society. In politics he is a stanch republican having for many years supported the party. His military service was with the Missouri Militia from 1862 until 1864 as a member of Company B and of Company F of the Eleventh Missouri Regiment. He is much interested in philately or stamp collecting, and has a very fine display of stamps from every corner of the globe. For almost two-thirds of a century Mr. Tonnies has been a resident of St. Louis, sixty-three years having passed since he came to the city, a poor boy but with courage and determination bravely to face conditions of life and make the best of his opportunities. Thomas Arnold has said, “The difference between one boy and another lies not so much in talent as in energy.” The latter quality Mr. Tonnies possessed in large measure and his untiring industry has carried him steadily forward, industry that has been guided by the sound judgment that comes from wide experience, so that today he is ranked with the successful men of St. Louis and is controlling one of the important printing establishments of the city in which he is a large stockholder.