Bond, Carrie Jacobs
BOND, Carrie Jacobs
Born 11 August 1862, Janesville, Wisconsin; died 28 December 1946, Hollywood, California
Daughter of Hannibal Cyrus and Mary Emogene Jacobs; married E. J. Smith, 1880; Frank Lewis Bond, 1889; children: one son
Carrie Jacobs Bond's kinship to John Howard Payne (a cousin on her grandmother Jacobs' side), composer of "Home, Sweet Home," provides the key to her life and work. In both, she exemplified the traditional, simple values extolled by the song.
In 1889 Bond married Frank Lewis Bond, a physician, who took her to live in the mining town of Iron River, Michigan. Bond considered these the happiest years of her life. But Bond died in 1895 of injuries from a fall, leaving his wife to care for her son and herself. Without money, but with her usual courage and determination, Bond sold most of her possessions, except her piano, and moved herself and her son to Chicago. For a time she supported herself and her son by running a rooming house, painting china, and sewing.
Bond gradually began to receive recognition and took over the publication and marketing of her songs. She established her own company in 1906, and eventually became the wealthiest woman songwriter in the country, owning several homes. She published her most successful song, "A Perfect Day," in 1910. It was the pinnacle of Bond's career, selling more than five million copies in 14 years.
Bond was not trained as a singer, but she began singing her songs at events simply to have them heard. She half talked, half sang, in what she referred to as her "composer's voice." With the success of her songs came demands for her performance. She appeared before both Roosevelt and Harding at the White House, and once sang on the same program with Caruso.
Bond's later years brought both worldwide recognition and tragedy. She received many honors and awards, notably an honorary master's of music degree from the University of Southern California in 1930 and the Forest Lawn Award for achievement in music. The latter established a scholarship at the University of Southern California School of Music in her name in 1945.
Bond published about 170 songs, though she wrote as many as 400. Her first published collection, Seven Songs As Unpretentious As the Wild Rose (1901), is typical of the kind of song and verse she wrote throughout her life. Two of her most famous songs, "I Love You Truly" and "Just a Wearyin' for You," appeared in this collection.
In addition to her songs and verse Bond wrote articles, children's books, and an autobiography. Her memoir, The Roads of Melody (1927), details her early struggle against poor health and poverty, but attests to her optimistic spirit. In 1940, at the age of seventy-eight, Bond published The End of the Road, a miscellany of philosophy and verse. It is easy to dismiss Bond's work, with its conventional symbols and artless sentiments, as naive and simplistic. Nevertheless, her writing remains a monument to a state of mind and feeling lost after World War I; for this reason, it is to be treasured. In her life and work Bond paid tribute to the power of the traditional homespun virtues—hard work, perseverance, and faith. Her success is a testimony to the efficacy of those ideals.
The Path o' Life (1909). Tales of Little Cats (1918). Tales of Little Dogs (1921). A Perfect Day and Other Poems (1926). Little Monkey with the Sad Face (1930).
Smith, C. C., Corney's Mission Inn (1993).
National Cyclopedia of American Biography (1892 et seq.). NAW, 1607-1950 (1971).
American Magazine (Jan. 1924). Independent Woman (Nov. 1945). LAT (13 Aug. 1978). NYT (29 Dec. 1946). Just Folk: A Carrie Jacobs Bond Evening (video, 1979).
—JANETTE SEATON LEWIS