Thursday, September 1, 2011

James Bond RIP

Deaths – Philadelphia Daily News
February 16, 1989

James, Feb. 14, 1989, of Chestnut Hill, Pa., husband of Mary F. W. (Nee Porcher) Bond. Relatives and friends are invited to the Memorial Service, 11 A.M. at ST. Martin in the Fields

James Bond, 89, Spied on Birds

By Jim Nicholson

James Bond, world famous ornithologist, author and a former curator of the ornithology department of the Academy of Natural Sciences, died Tuesday. He was 89 and lived in Chestnut Hill.

A widely published and respected authority on birds of the Caribbean, Bond had devoted his life to the study of birds since 1926.

He was also known beyond ornithological circles as the man after whom Ian Fleming named his 007 spy, James Bond.

In the past six decades, Bond visited more than 100 islands. In the early days he could live there on as little as 25 cents a day, living with the islanders, eating their food and, to the despair of his friends in the medical profession, drinking unboiled water.

“He got along with the native people so remarkably well,” said his wife, Mary Fanning Wickham Bond, “This was the strength of his research work down there, because the island people are very close to the earth, theyknow their medicines and voodoo and everything about their birds and animals around them. He got close to that.”

For nearly a century the scientific community accepted the belief that birds of the Caribbean were of South American origin. Then, in 1934, Bond shook the foundation of biogeography when he presented the theory that the birds of the region actually originated in North America. He supported his theory over the years in more than 100 scientific papers.

As a measure of the acceptance of his theory, his peers now call “Bond’s Line,” that line dividing the Caribbean birds of North American ancestry from those of South American. The line lies between Grenada and Tobago.

Born in Philadelphia, Bond attended St. Paul’s in New Hampshire and then went to Cambridge to obtain a bachelor of arts degree in 1922. He began a career in banking but quickly changed to natural history.

In 1974, in a biographical sheet written for the Academy, Bond noted, “All of my life I have been interested in natural history. And as a young boy, I collected butterflies. Following graduation from college I worked for nearly three years in the Foreign Exchange department of the old Pennsylvania Company, resigning in 1925 to accompany Rudolphe de Schauensee on an expedition to the Lower Amazon in search of mammals and birds. On my return I decided on my life work – a survey of the avifauna of the Antillean subregion, and subsequently of extralimital island of the Caribbean.”

He said part of his choice was the realization that “probably more Antillean birds were in danger of extinction than in all the rest of the world.” Some of the field data he gathered can never be duplicated.

In 1936 he authored the book, “Birds of the West Indies.” It was this book, now in its sixth edition, that spy-thriller author Ian Fleming was reading in the early 1950s when he began writing his 007 stories. In the early 1960s, Fleming corresponded with Bond’s wife and explained how he appropriated her husband’s name.

Fleming wrote that he was at his house in Orcabessa, Jamaica, and about to be married. He said to take his mind off the apprehensions of matrimony he decided to write a thriller.

“I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous as possible,” wrote Fleming. “Even his name should be the reverse of the kind of ‘Peregrine Carruthers’ whom one meets in this type of fiction. At that time, one of my bibles was and still is ‘Birds of the West Indies’ by James Bond, and it struck me that this name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed and so James II was born.”

In relaying his regards, Fleming added in his letter, “I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming for any purpose he may see fit! Perhaps one day he will discover some particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion.”

In 1952 Bond received the Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. In 1954 he was awarded the Brewster Medal, the American Ornithologist Union’s highest honor. And in 1975 he received the Leidy Medal of the Academy of Natural Sciences, only the second academy scientist in the 52-year history of the award to receive it at that time.

Mary Bond, his wife of 36 years, is also an author of poetry, short stories and numerous magazine articles, and two novels, “Device and Desire” and “The Petrified Gesture.” Last spring her “autohistory” was published by Dorance and Co., entitled, “Ninety Years At Home In Philadelphia.”

Of her marriage to Bond, she said, “It was a wonderful life for me to go around to these places. He was a relaxed and charming person.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a step-daughter, Mary E. Eiseman, a nephew, and six step-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Martin in the Fields, Chestnut Hill.

Contributions may be made to the Academy of Natural Sciences, 19th Street and the Parkway, Philadelphia., 19103.

Mary Fanning Wickham Bond

Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday December 17, 1997

On Dec. 13, 1997, MARY FANNING WICKHAM age 99 of Chestnut Hill, wife of the late James Bond and Shippen Lewis; step-mother of Polly Eiseman. Memorial Service, Fri. Dec. 19, 3 P.M. at St. Martin in the Fields Church, St. Martin’s Lane and W. Willow Grove Ave. Chestnut Ave., In lieu of Flowers, memorials may be made to The All Saints Fund, St. Martin in the Fields Church, Chestnut Hill. Community Association or the charity of your choice. JACOB F. RUTH

Mary Fanning Bond, 99;
Writer, artist and socialite

By Andy Wallace

Mary Fanning Wickham Bond, 99, best-selling author, artist and a socialite who learned to play craps on the marble steps of the Bellevue Stratford and became the wife of the legendary James Bond’s namesake, died of congestive hear failure Saturday at her home in Chestnut Hill.

Mrs. Bond was indeed the wife of James Bond whose name Ian Fleming made famous as Agent 007, but her James Bond was not the international spy. He was an ornithologist , and author of the book Birds of the West Indies.

It was that book that later caused problems for Bond and his wife, because Fleming considered the author’s name “the dullest name in the world,” and appropriated it for his secret agent, who was supposed to be “an uninteresting man to whom things happened.”

While the name was just right for the spy, it was not just right for Mrs. Bond, to whom the wrong things happened. She didn’t mind when people pestered her husband during the day, she once wrote, but she did object when “soft female voices called up at 2 or 3 in the morning, asking, “Is James there?....I finally put an end to such conversations by answering sharply: ‘Yes, James is here, but this is Pussy Galore, and he’s busy now.’”

Mrs. Bond learned how Fleming stole her husband’s name in a magazine article in 1964, and she wrote him a sarcastic letter to which he sent an equally sarcastic reply, offering to let Bond us his name, “for any purpose he might think fit.”

She later arranged a meeting between her husband and Fleming, and they became friendly, meeting from time to time in the Caribbean. She then wrote a book about the whole affair, “How 007 Got His Name.

In her own way, Mary Wickham Bond was as formidable a character as Fleminjg’s agent. “She was just not a maternal kind of person,” said her step granddaughter, Cary Page. “She was extraordinarily smart and talented.”

She did needlepoint, painted and was interested in politics and, until two weeks ago, played the piano. At one time, she could play for four hours by memory, Page said.

“Her first job was selling at Wanamakers – to her father’s horror,” Page said. “She was like that. She did what she wanted to do. She was outrageous and a lot of fun. Until I sw her about five minutes after her death, I never saw her still.”

A trim, athletic women with red gold hair and bright blue eyes, she was born in to a privileged world of private schools (Miss Landstreet’s in Chestnut Hill), horseback riding, and debutante balls. She was accepted into Bryn Mawr College, but decided not to attend because she wanted to explore “what lay outside in the real world.”

At the time, the real world was at war, and for a time she was an emergency aid, one of the women who volunteered as nurses, truck drivers, air raid wardens, bandage makers and the like.

It was during that time, she related in an article about the Bellevue Stratford published in 1977, that some of her old friends, returning from training camp, taught her to shoot craps on the same circular staircase at the Bellevue where she and other debutantes made their entrances not long before.

As a girl, she studied piano was looking forward to a musical career, but after having a sonnet published in a newspaper and selling a poem to a magazine for $7, she changed her mind. She became a writer.

In the 1920s, she began writing novels – seven in all with such titles as The Titled Cup, Cerique, and Gloom Creek. They were never published.

“They were just awful,” she told reporter Barbara Barnes of the Bulletin in 1950. “They’re stones under the building now.”

But Mrs. Bond, who had won the Philadelphia Browning Society’s gold medal for a sonnet in 1926, continued writing poetry, short stories, girls’ out-West adventure stories, and magazine articles on sports and nature.

When she got back to wring novels in the late 1940s, she wanted to write books people would read, so she made a mental list of things people were interested in: “violence, and power, babies, dogs and nature.”

She then went to the library where, in a book, Unusual and Eccentric Wills, she found a potential plot, a story about a rich Viennese gentleman who left each of his nine relatives $25,000 – only if they would stay away from his funeral – but with the stipulation that anyone who did show up would get his entire estate.

In Devise & Desire, A Novel of Bad Manners, she transferred the story to contemporary Philadelphia and the result was a local best-seller that a reviewer called “a good humored satire on social pretensions.”

She had one other popular book, To James Bond With Love, published in 1980 when she was 82. It was about life with the real James Bond, the ornithologist whom she married in 1954 and whom she accompanied on birding expeditions unti they were in their 60s. He died nine years ago.

It was her second marriage. Her first, in 1930, was to Shippen Lewis, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer who was a widowed with three children. He died in 1952.

Her last book, Ninety Years at Home in Philadelphia, a reflection on Philadelphia society from the early years of the century up to the present, was published just before her 90th birthday, June 8, 1988.

She is survived by a stepdaughter, Mary “Polly” Eiseman: six step children; and 14 great-stepgrandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at the Church of St. Marin-in-the-Fileds, St. Martin’s Lane and Willow Grove Avenue.

The Gates to Goldeneye, Orcabessa, Jamaica

Goldeneye, the Jamaican home of Ian Fleming, is where he wrote all of his 007 novels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Gates to Goldeneye, Orcabessa, Jamaica

Ian Fleming's home in Orcabessa, Jamaica is set back off the coast road a few miles east of the popular tourist town of Ocho Rios on the North Shore.

As are all of the large Great Houses built by English aristocrats, most of the Jamaican homes have names - and Fleming called his "Goldeneye."

Goldeneye Gate

As can be seen the "Goldeneye" name is inscribed on the gate's pilar.

Goldeneye side yard

At the time I visited the house was owned by Christopher Blackwell, the son of Fleming's mistress Blanch Blackwell, said to have been the person from whom Fleming based his Goldfinger character "Pussy Galore."

Chris founded Island Records, discovered Bob Marley and introduced Jamaican music and reggae to England and the world.

When Fleming died his widow refused to sell the property to Blackwell, so he reportedly had Marley buy it in his stead and later took possession himself.

When I arrived I found the gates to Goldeneye invitingly open, as did James and Mary Bond when they stopped by unexpected in the winter of 1964, shortly before Fleming died.

There were a few servant women around who were washing and drying their clothes on the line, and they permitted me to walk around the grounds and take some photos.

James Bond Meets Ian Fleming

James Bond meets Ian Fleming -
(Photo compliments of Mrs. Bond)

Ian Fleming wrote all of his James Bond books and short stories while in residence at Goldeneye, where he stayed most of January and February of every year.

Of all those individuals who claim that Fleming based his protagonist on other real persons, there is only one person in the world who Fleming himself acknowledged and that is James Bond, the American ornithologist from Philadelphia.

Fleming claimed to have taken the name James Bond from the author of the book "Birds of the West Indies," which he said was his "bible" and kept handy so as to identify the many species of birds that frequented his backyard and private beach.

After Mrs. Bond read some of the books, she wrote to Fleming to say that she noticed some of the places and situations Fleming placed the fictional 007 were familiar to her and her husband, who frequently traveled the Caribbean. Fleming responded that he hoped that Bond would was not upset at the "theft of his identity."

Then in the winter of 1964, while in Jamaica on a bird hunting expedition, Mrs. Bond convinced her husband to take a road trip along the North Shore, and while doing so, they stopped at Goldeneye to pay an unexpected visit.

When Bond knocked at the door, Fleming's cook Violet answered the door and when she asked "Who shall I say is calling?" Bond replyed, "James Bond," Mrs. Bond said Violet looked like she saw a ghost.

To document the moment, Mrs. Bond snapped a photo when Fleming arrived at the door and you can see Violet, in her flower print dress in the door. Since Bond is standing on the ground and Fleming on the steps, it appears that Fleming is taller than Bond, but actually Bond is taller than Fleming.

Fleming invited James and Mary Bond to stay for lunch, and they also met Fleming's friends Mr. and Mrs. Hilary Bray, who were down on the beach with Fleming's copy of Bond's book "Birds of the West Indies."

There was also a Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) film crew there to interview Fleming, and I've often wondered if they included any segments of James Bond in their documentary.