Pond, James B. (James Burton), 1838-1903Alternative names
American Lecture Bureau manager.
From the description of Papers of James Burton Pond [manuscript], 1899-1903. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647844218
Amer. lecture manager.
From the description of Typewritten letters signed (2) and autograph letter signed : to Harper & Bros., 1887 Oct. 11-Nov. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270617885
James B. Pond was born into a large, rather poor family living in Illinois and later Wisconsin. Raised as an abolitionist, Pond rode with John Brown for about one year; after Brown's defeat, Pond wandered the country working odd jobs. He fought in the American Civil War, distinguishing himself in action against Quantrill; after the war, he travelled again. While in Salt Lake City, he represented Brigham Young's wife Anna Eliza on her successful and lucrative lecture tour. Pond became the nation's premier booking agent, arranging tours for Mark Twain, Ellen Terry, P.T. Barnum, Booker T. Washington, and many others. He also wrote magazine articles and stories, and published several books of autobiography.
From the description of James B. Pond letter to Col. Harvey, 1901 March 12. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 62297485
Lecture tour and lyceum agent in New York, N.Y.
From the description of Papers, 1883-1895. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 32520385
New York agent and manager for concert artists and lecturers. Agent for Charles Dickens, son of the novelist, during his first American tour reading from his father's works.
From the description of Papers, 1887-1888. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 14374655
American lecture manager and memoirist James Burton Pond was born June 11, 1838, in Cuba, New York. Known familiarly as Major Pond, he represented American and British explorers, preachers, politicians, scientists, and writers, on the lecture circuit from 1874 to his death in 1903. His clients included Henry Ward Beecher, Winston Churchill, Henry M. Stanley, Thomas De Witt Talmage, and Mark Twain. Pond wrote two books recounting his memories of the famous figures he managed: A Summer in England with Henry Ward Beecher (1887) and Eccentricities of Genius: Memories of Famous Men and Women of the Platform and Stage (1900).
At a young age, Pond moved with his family from New York to Illinois and then to Wisconsin where his father earned a living as a farmer and blacksmith. Pond took a printer's apprenticeship at fourteen, becoming a journeyman printer in 1856, and working for newspapers across the Midwestern states. When the Civil War broke out, Pond enlisted with the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, rising to the rank of major by the end of the war and receiving the Medal of Honor for his service at the 1863 Baxter Springs Massacre.
Pond's first client was Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young who renounced her marriage and Mormonism. In 1874, Pond, with friend George Hathaway, bought the Lyceum Theater Lecture Bureau in Boston from James Redpath, and Pond officially began to manage platform speakers. Pond later moved his headquarters to New York City in 1879. Pond was extremely successful in the lecture business, managing many of the great speakers of his time and earning himself a small fortune as well as recognition on a national and international level.
Pond was married twice during his lifetime, first to Ann Francis Lynch from 1859 until her death in 1871 and then to Martha Glass from 1880 until his death in 1903. Pond died suddenly when an amputation of his leg failed to stop the spread of an infection that originated from an ulcer on his foot. His son from his second marriage, James Burton Pond, Jr. (1889-1961) took over his father’s business after his death.
"James Burton Pond." Dictionary of American Biography reproduced in Gale Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/bic1 (accessed September 29, 2010). "Pond, James Burton." National Cyclopedia of American Biography reproduced in Biography Reference Bank. http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/ (accessed September 29, 2010). "Major J.B. Pond is Dead." The New York Times, June 22, 1903. http://www.nytimes.com (accessed September 29, 2010).
From the guide to the James B. Pond papers, 1878-1944, 1885-1903, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)
In 1836, Willard E. Pond, a traveling salesman from Connecticut, met and married Eurana Woodford in Tompkins Co., N.Y. The young couple and their rapidly growing family lived in a succession of different towns in upstate New York before Willard and his uncle "caught the Illinois fever" in 1843 and convinced their families to emigrate west. Settling first in Illinois in 1844, and then in Alto, Wis., in 1847, the Ponds eked out a meager living farming the prairie. Cash was scarce for the family, and the Ponds lived in constant debt, always on the edge of poverty.
Born in 1838, James Burton Pond was one of the oldest of the 11 children of Willard and Eurana. His father, an ardent abolitionist, had raised his sons with an iron hand, inspiring fear as much as attention to proper conduct. At the age of eighteen, James followed his conscience and left home to join John Brown in the antislavery struggle in Kansas, and he fought with the man he considered to be a noble Christian for almost a year. After Brown's defeat at Osawatomie, James wandered to St. Louis, where he worked as a call boy at a theater and as a printer at a religious newspaper, before ending up in Janesville and a position on the staff of a newspaper. Not being one to remain anywhere for too long, James joined a gold mining expedition to Colorado in the spring of 1859, ending up with a party of miners at Clear Creek that included George M. Pullman and H.S. Curtis, son of General Samuel Curtis. When Pond's western adventure panned out in October, he returned "to the States" and his family home in Wisconsin.
As a staunch anti-slavery Republican, Pond joined a Wide Awake club in 1860, and he and his brothers were quick to volunteer for service at the onset of the Civil War. Arriving too late to find a berth in the 1st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, Pond attempted to enlist again after Bull Run, receiving a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in Co. G, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry, a company that included two of his younger brothers as well. The 3rd Cavalry served in Kansas and Missouri throughout the war, engaged in some of the nastiest guerrilla warfare. The 3rd Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Kansas (Colored) Infantry were victims of a brutal surprise attack and massacre by William Quantrill's irregulars in October, 1863, during which Pond distinguished himself for his courage in single-handedly manning a howitzer and repelling the raiders. Despite his efforts, Quantrill's men killed Maj. H.S. Curtis and 65 Federals at Baxter Springs, and many more at the camp Pond defended, many of whom were executed after they had surrendered. Pond and both his brothers came through unscathed, a fact they attributed to the prayers of their devoutly religious mother. Pond was later promoted to Captain.
After the war, Pond traveled throughout the country, ending up in Salt Lake City in the early 1870s. In about 1874, an opportunity presented itself for Pond to make some money, when Anna Eliza Young, 19th wife Brigham Young, "apostasized" from her Mormon faith and was enticed to embark on a speaking tour in the east. Pond, in the right place at the right time, secured a position as booking agent for what became a highly lucrative tour, and subsequently branched out in conjunction with the Redpath Lyceum Bureau into managing other speaking tours throughout the U.S. and Canada. He left Redpath to begin his own lecture bureau in New York City in 1879, and over the next twenty years, became the nation's premier lecture agent. Pond promised his solidly middle-class audience "concerts, lectures and all descriptions of musical, lyceum and literary entertainments," and delivered such luminaries as Henry Stanley, George Kennan, Bill Nye, James Whitcomb Riley, Thomas Nast, Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, P.T. Barnum, George Washington Cable, Ellen Terry, Joseph Jefferson, and Henry Ward Beecher.
Pond wrote numerous magazine articles, autobiographies and stories, as well as at least four books based on his experiences as a tour promoter and manager. His books included Overland with Mark Twain (Elmira, N.Y., 1992), A Summer in England with Henry Ward Beecher (N.Y., 1887), and Henry Ward Beecher (Brooklyn, 1897), and Eccentricities of Genius (N.Y., 1900).
From the guide to the James B. Pond papers, Pond, James B. papers, 1863-1898, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (State)--New York|
|Baxter Springs (Kan.)|
|Baxter Springs (Kan.)|
|Frontier and pioneer life|
|Baxter Springs (Kan.), Battle of, 1863|
|Authors, British--19th century--Correspondence|
|Lectures and lecturing--History--19th century|
|Authors, American--Political and social views|
|Lectures and lecturing|
|Authors, American--19th century--Portraits|
|Lectures and lecturing--United States--History--19th century--Sources|
|Fathers and sons|
|Frontier and pioneer life--Wisconsin|
|Authors, American--19th century--Friends and associates|
|Authors, American--19th century--Correspondence|
|Fourth of July celebrations|