James Bond, Scientist and Secret Agent | The Maker’s Almanac

The New Maker's Almanac TinkerLab

I’m introducing a new project today called The New Maker’s Almanac. Taking inspiration from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a favorite of mine, this project will highlight important and interesting days on the maker calendar, sharing bits of inspiration from the arts and sciences.

My hope is to share a quick, weekly dose of Maker Inspiration, and today I have a fun story for you about the origin of James Bond’s name.

Did you know that James Bond was a scientist?

I especially love how this is about a scientist and author – a perfect mashup of the arts and sciences.

a little history…

My great uncle Hal lived in the town of Glendale, CA where he was both the Postmaster General and a serious urban farmer. After an afternoon in his vegetable garden, I would read the almanac while he chewed on a pipe as he challenged my dad to a game of chess. I later fell in love with the Farmer’s Almanac all over again when I met my husband’s grandfather who wrote stories for it. His writing was witty, just like him, and he sprinkled every story with advice for living a good life.

For example:

Lawrence Doorley III Farmer's Almanac

But I digress.

Did you know that James Bond was a scientist?| The New Maker's Almanac

the original james bond, scientist

Today is the birthday of the original James Bond, born January 4, 1900.

Bond was an ornithologist who wrote Birds of the West Indies (affiliate) in 1936. Born in Philadelphia and educated in England, Bond was a dissatisfied banker. With an interest in natural history, he took a position on an Amazon expedition and soon left the world of banking behind for a future in ornithology, He became an expert on birds of the Caribbean and took a position as Curator of Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

the fictional james bond, secret agent

Ian Fleming, well known as the mind behind the James Bond movies, was living in Jamaica where he wrote Casino Royal in 1952. Fleming was a amateur bird watcher and had a copy of Bond’s Birds of West Indies on his shelf. Searching for a name for his leading character, he borrowed Bond’s moniker. Says Fleming in a note to the original Bond’s wife, Mary:

“It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born.”

Apparently, the real Bond had no idea that his name had gained so much popularity until a revised edition of Bird’s of West Indies appeared in the paper along with references to espionage. (Source: Caribbean Beat). 

In response to a complaint from the author’s wife, Fleming said:

“I must confess that your husband has every reason to sue me…In return, I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming for any purpose he may think fit…Perhaps one day your husband will discover a particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion by calling it Ian Fleming.”

And that, my friends, is the story of how the fictional James Bond’s name came to be.

Until next time, Rachelle