Date Published: 1855 to 1959
Binding: No binding & hard cover
POND WAS ONE OF THE FIRST LITERARY AGENCIES IN AMERICA
James Burton Pond (familiarly known as Major Pond; 1838-1903) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. For his actions during the Battle of Baxter Springs, he received the Medal of Honor. In 1874, Pond purchased the Lyceum Theatre Lecture Bureau, moved his company to New York City, and embarked on a career managing lecture tours for famous authors and celebrities such as Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Henry Morton Stanley, P. T. Barnum , Booker T. Washington , Frederick Douglass , Arthur Conan Doyle , Ellen Terry , and Henry Ward Beecher. After Pond’s demise, his son, James B. Pond, Jr. (“Bim Pond”; 1889-1961), took on the responsibility of the literary agency.
The collection contains 40 items, dating from 1855 to 1959 specifically, 4 books, 13 photographs, over 50 pages of ts. and ms., 14 letters, 2 advertising brochures, 1 news letter journal, news clippings, and other various related ephemera.
7 Typescript Signed (tss), Typescript (ts), and Carbon Typescript (cts)
• [James B. Pond, Jr.], “They Didn’t Show Up”. 2 tss. with different texts, n.d.: ts., 11,  pp.; carbon ts., 11 pp., n.d. James B. Pond, Jr. explains about his father in one of his typescript titled “They Didn’t Show Up,” as follows: “ ‘Eccentricities of Genius’ was the somewhat intriguing title which my father, Major J. B. Pond , took for the book of reminiscences he wrote just before he died. Often regarded as, next to Barnum, being America’s greatest showman, Major Pond not only wrote about his experiences managing world celebrities, but he also did quite a bit of lecturing about them. This lecturing, which was started when he was younger, was, however, done under the title ‘Other Men’s Brains.’ When I was 13 my father died and I became the ‘Major Pond.” It used to puzzle me as a youth why my father had changed the title of his memoirs from the Brain’s one to the Eccentricities one. As years have passed and I have bought dearly the wisdom my father could not hand on to me, I have come to understand. Once he thought of genius in terms of brains. Later, as he got to know genius better, the brains part melted away and he thought of them in the light of their eccentricities.”
• [James B. Pond, Jr.], “An Idea for a Series of Syndicate Articles Covering an Entirely New Field of Universal Appeal in the United States ‘James B. Pond Presents’”, n.d., with biographies of William Beebe, Carveth Wells, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Lowell Thomas, and Branson De Cou: ms., 5 pp., written in pencil on 3 8 × 11 inch sheets with carbon; ts., 6 pp.; and combination ts., carbon ts., and ms.,  pp., including a hand-drawn sketch of a sample layout (William Beebe) of a series of newspaper appearances titled “We Have With Us Tonight – Close ups of Platform Personalities by America’s Famous Lecture Impresario, J. B. Pond”.
• [James B. Pond, Jr.], “Chautauqua In Town Tonight”, carbon ts., 7 pp., n.d. “In the field of lyceum and Chautauqua management there is only one name that is nationally and internationally known, that of ‘POND.’ It is to this world that the name ‘Barnum’ is to the show world. In fact, Major J. B. Pond , the lyceum pioneer, is often credited with having done many things that his friend and one-time lecturer, P. T. Barnum , did. The first man to take celebrities on tour, Major J. B. pond built up a universal fame for himself and the people whom he presented to America. Not only did he manage such great Americans as Mark Twain , Henry Ward Beecher , T. De Witt Talmadge , Bill Nye , James Whitcomb Riley , Walt Whitman ; he originated the idea of bringing British celebrities to America and lured here such men as Sir Henry M. Stanley , Matthew Arnold , Conan Doyle , Oscar Wilde , -- all the great lights of the 80’s and 90’s. The Major Pond business, the Major Pond tradition, was carried on after his death by his son, James B. Pond. Having the same name, many people did not know the founder had died and the Pond tradition for celebrity management has continued without a break. The younger Pond has presented to America the celebrities of the 20th Century; Rear-Admiral Byrd , Sir Phillip Gibbs , John Masefield , John Galsworthy , Hugh Walpole , Helen Keller , Mrs. Pankhurst , Ruth Draper , Annie Besant , Cornelia Otis Skinner , Blasco Ibanes , Maurice Maeterlinck , W. B. Yeats , Lady Gregory , William Beebe , Admiral Peary , Sven Hedin – the list is a veritable ‘Who’s Who.’”
• [James B. Pond, Jr.], “The Devil’s Well A Story of Hades”, ts. of poem,  pp., n.d.
5 Autographed Letter Signed (ALS), TLS, CTL and 2 books:
• Vaka, Demetra (Mrs. Kenneth Brown, Greek American author).
ALS to B. James Pond, Jr., The Arundel, Kennebunkport, ME, June 19, 1920, and TLS to Pond, July 5, 1920, suggesting that Pond should arrange lecture dates for her in the following January and February. “Only I like to stipulate that you will receive commission only on engagements that have come directly through you.” She also asks him: “How are prices? What shall I charge?” Pond replies, laying out his terms and reporting that he already has a customer interested in a course of lectures from her on “current world topics”. The minimum fees would be $50 to $75, but "the total amount for the series will not be bad." Vaka writes back rather sternly on July 5: "Under no circumstances do I wish my name associated with any courses of `Current Topics’ or `Current Events,’ and I am sorry that you should have suggested me to people without having first consulted me about it." She writes that she can give a course on "International Politics" or "The Use and Abuse of International Diplomacy". "I do not care, however, to speak for less than $100...I cannot speak for less when I shall have to pay you 25% out of it...."
Also present is a carbon copy of Pond's reply (28 June 1920) to the June 19th letter and one of Vaka’s fliers (hole at the top) listing the subjects of her lectures, of which she mailed Pond a hundred copies under separate cover when she sent the July 5 letter.
The exchanges with Pond are also enhanced by additional 2 books written by Vaka. A Child of the Orient. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914. Green cloth in chipped, smudged dust jacket. Signed presentation for Dan Platt Caulkins, captain of the 1925 Princeton football team, “and his Anne Fay” on the front free endpaper. 2 news clippings (obituaries of Vaka) affixed to the fly leaf. In the Heart of German Intrigue. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914. Red cloth in slightly chipped pictorial dust jacket; leaflet of the Library War Service, American Library Association, loosely inserted. "In the autumn of 1916, Demetra Vaka left American for Greece, her native country, in an attempt to reconcile Venizelos and King Constantine and save Greece for the Allies. In London she saw Mr. Lloyd George, and, with the aid of the high authorities, finally succeeded in reaching Greece. There all doors were open to her. She had many intimate interviews with King Constantine, his ministers and his generals, who were at that moment playing their highest cards to swing Greece to the side of the Teutonic Allies. She was also admitted equally to the confidence of Venizelos. The book is a vivid, illuminating narrative of her adventures in the very heart of the most important campaign of intrigue the Germans have initiated. Her account of what happened at the secret interview between Kaiser Wilhelm and King Constantine in March, 1914, alone would make the book of epoch-making importance, and this is only one of the far-reaching revelations."
6 Typed Letter Signed (TLS)
• Van Namee, George R. (Secretary to Alfred E. Smith, Governor of New York) TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., December 11, 1919, re Smith’s inability to attend the reception for the Belgian poet (Mauruce Maeterlinck).
• Ames, Winthrop. (American theatre director and producer, also a playwright and screenwriter). TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., December 11, 1919, re adding Ames’s name to a committee welcoming Maurice Maeterlinck.
• Coudert, Frederic Rene. (American lawyer, special assistant Attorney General of the U.S. and legal advisor to the British Embassy, 1915-1920). TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., December 31, 1919, re Coudert’s attendance to Maurice Maeterlinck’s opening lecture at Carnegie Hall.
• Johnson, Burges (author and humorist). TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., April 29, 1921, re Johnson giving lectures. TLS carbon from Pond to Johnson, April 27, 1921, inviting Johnson to give lectures on the recommendation of Ellis Parker Butler. Leaflet about Johnson’s lectures and informal talks.
• Kennedy, John B. (American radio journalist and Associate Editor of Collier’s Magazine). TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., August 30, 1926, re soliciting a lecture platform on literary subjects.
• Sabin, Charles H. (President of the Guaranty Trust Company, the largest institution of its kind in the USA). TLS to James B. Pond, Jr., December 15, 1919, re adding Sabin’s name to a committee welcoming Maurice Maeterlinck
• Believed to be Major Pond’s copy of the book he wrote about the lecture tour of Henry Ward Beecher that he managed, titled A Summer in England with Henry Ward Beecher. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1887. Brown cloth, top of spine slightly frayed, corners bumped. Apparently Pond’s own personal copy. Front flyleaf has a pencil note “The Scotch nurse’s song.-p 21. ‘Glasgow Reception’! ‘Ireland her harp’- p. 119.” There are a few other pages with markings in pencil or ink (for example, p. 57 of section entitled “Sermons and Prayers”).
• Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers; Experiences of Art and Nature. New York: J.C. Derby, 1855. Red patterned cloth, tears along the spine at various places, corners bumped, fraying at the spine and extremities. A few pages loose. Hidden ownership signature on the front pastedown: “J B Pond | His House | New York | April 13, 1889” with James B. Pond, Jr.’s bookplate over his father’s inscription.
• B&w photo of Major Pond’s son Bim (James Pond, Jr.) as a baby, circa 1889 (no later than 1890) taken by Rockwood, 47 Union Square , New York. 4 × 6 inches mounted on a card that has been trimmed to 6½ × 8½ inches. Top margin of card with old glue, not affecting the photograph.
• 11 b&w snapshot photos, housed inside an envelope marked “Bermuda 1899” in ink on one side, and “Bermuda 1890” in pencil on the back. 4 of the pictures apparently show 3 men who probably were lecturers (one of which is holding a large envelope that may have contained a lecture), one of the men is wearing a tribal headdress of some kind in one of the pictures one was taken at a military band performance, 2 are of the Bermuda House of Assembly, and others of Bermuda natives and scenery.
• Original artist proof b&w photo of Bim Pond circa 1910 by Vilur of Jersey City, approx. 5 × 7 inches. Verso has pencil note “J.B. Pond Jr. Upon death of JB Pond Sr. S.L.C. and others established trust/college fund for JB (Bim) Pond Jr. Bim lectured about S.L.C. up until his death in 1960.”
• Photos of 3 letters Rudyard Kipling’s wrote to Major Pond, dated 1894-99, 5 pp.in total
• Skinner, Cornelia Otis (actress and author). James B. Pond presents Cornelia Otis Skinner: unfolded brochure for Skinner’s character sketches and her performance in The Wives of Henry VIII. The Pond brochure is also enhanced by additional Skinner material. TLS addressed “Dear Andrew”, 24 April 1948, thanking him for the photographs, her touring Lady Windermere’s Fan, Family Circle and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, and her returning to Long Island. ALS to Lewis Funke, [theatre critic], with envelope (1975), apologizes for leaving so abruptly after their interview. ALS to Miss Ford, n.d., thanking her for her charming note about her radio program. ALS on card, post-marked 20 February 1978, with envelope, re never tried out for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, met Vivien Leigh once in London. Post card photo, signed “To Ray Cavau | with best wishes | Cornelia Otis Skinner”. B&w photo of Skinner in dramatic pose, signed, copyright Peter North, n.d.
• Original blank “Contract of J.B. Pond Lyceum Bureau” with 2 original “Duplicate Contract” and a blank sheet of Pond Bureau stationery.
• 2 Helen Keller related items: Pond’s BLANK stationery with “Sole Managers for Helen Keller and Mrs. Macy” along the bottom; and Pond’s BLANK stationery with “Attractions for 1915 Helen Keller and Mrs. Macy in their Joint Lecture March 15 to April 10”
• Pond Lyceum Bureau BLANK letterhead with “Sole Managers for the lecture sensation of the season Story of Alcock & Brown’s Non-Stop Trans-Atlantic Flight,” with 2 order forms for tickets to “The First American Lecture by Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, at Carnegie Hall, Tuesday Evening, October 7, 1919.”
•. Pond Lyceum Bureau BLANK letterhead, quotations on Lyceum attractions listing more than 60 authors and celebrities, July 1, 1919.
•. Pond Lyceum Bureau BLANK letterhead with “Sole Managers for Maurice Maeterlinck—Sir Arthur Whitten Brown—Lord Dunsany—Vincente Blasco Ibanez”, n.d.
•. News clippings, postcard on Mark Twain, and articles related to Bim Pond (for example, “Mark Twain’ Slept Here? Bim and Joan Pond Aren’t Quite Sure, They Think So”, The Woodstock Press, November 26, 1959. “Bim Pond Coaches ‘Mark Twain’” front page photograph of Bim Pond and Hal Holbrook together with another article “ ‘Mark Twain’ Slept Here? Bim and Joan Pond Aren’t Quite Sure, They Think So” in the Thursday, November 26, 1959 issue of The Woodstock Press. Contains a great story about how Bim knew Mark Twain and coached Holbrook in his portrayal of him, and hosted Holbrook at his house November 11 and 12. After Holbrook’s Mark Twain performance on the 11th he dined with the Pond’s until 3am, and headed to bed at 3:30am, when he headed to bed to read “His own first copy of his book ’Mark Twain Tonight’ which had only that day been published.”
• Rollins, Leighton. James B. Pond presents Leighton Rollins, managing director the Surry Playhouse talks on the theatre, on current plays, on play going. Advertising brochure promoting a series of lectures under the aegis of The Pond Bureau.
•. The Adventurer, 19, no. 5 (March 1945), featuring Bim Pond as president of the Adventuer’s Club of New York with a cartoon and photo of Bim with a leopard on his shoulders.
Collection on consignment with LDRB.