A. Theodore Bondy
A. Theodore Bondy was an American Theosophist and expert calligrapher. He typically signed his work "A. Theo. Bondy."
Andreas Theodore Bondy was born on October 30, 1885 in Brunswick, Missouri to Johannes Bondy (or Bandi) and Anna Maria Lüscher Bondy, who were Swiss immigrant farmers. All the family names were anglicized; Andreas became Andrew, Johannes became John, and Anna Maria became Ann. By 1945, Andreas Theodore Bondy preferred to be known as "A. Theodore Bondy."
Bondy married Ida Adelherd Kahler (1892-1915) in Brunswick and they had a daughter Helen Ida ("Cindy"). He was working as a farm laborer, probably on his parents' farm. During 1912-1915, both of Bondy's parents and his wife died, and he had begun a career as an artist. He moved to Columbus, Ohio and married Grace Alice Farley (1885-1945) in 1916. A later marriage in Columbus to Edna Mae Fuller (1901-1988) brought him two more daughters, Thelma Marie and Virginia Wydell, and a son, Carl.
Little is known of Bondy's education and the beginnings of his career. During the years in Columbus, Bondy was studying at the Zanerian Art College Company, now called Zaner-Bloser Company, which has been teaching penmanship since 1888. The school offered "Diploma courses aimed at producing professional penmanship teachers as well as Certificate courses aimed at producing pen art specialists." Bondy's training gave him the equivalent of two years of college education.
By 1925, the family had moved to the Evanston, Illinois, and afterward to Wilmette, where they bought a house. These north suburban locations provided easy access to the art studios and businesses in Chicago through the elevated train systems.
He died on August 7, 1966 in Wilmette, Illinois.
Initially in Chicago, Bondy worked as an engraver at the Illuminating Company. Later he was employed full-time in the Scriptorium Studio in Chicago, Illinois. For a time, he was associated with the Moulton & Ricketts Art Galleries (which were located in New York and, after 1913, in Chicago, and Milwaukee).
He was considered one of the finest Engrosser/Illuminators in the world. During his career he was offered commissions presented to Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Winston Churchill, Haile Selassie, Pope Pius XII and numerous other world dignitaries and politicians.
Involvement with Theosophical Society
Bondy was admitted as a member of the Theosophical Society in America on April 4, 1935. He joined the Chicago Lodge, sponsored by Katherine Seidell and Frank Takahashi. When the Chicago Fellowship Branch formed on September 10, 1939, he was a charter member, and he remained in that lodge until his death, over 30 years later. He does not seem to have been a speaker or a teacher of Theosophy, but contributed significantly to the Society by hand-writing the names on membership certificates for many years.
At the 1937 annual convention, TSA president L. W. Rogers announced his retirement, and the board issued a resolution commending his long service.
The resolution... has since been most beautifully illuminated on parchment and bound in red leather and presented in book form to Mr. Rogers. The workmanship was most exquisite and was contributed by a Chicago member, Mr. A. Theo. Bondy.
Apart from its value as a tribute to Mr. Rogers it has intrinsic value as a piece of craftsmanship seldom seen since the days when monks did such work on monastic volumes.
In July 1943, Bondy completed his greatest work for the Theosophical Society – The Three Objects. He had labored on it for five years before donating it to the TSA headquarters, when it has hung in a prominent location ever since. Its image was used to print posters and book plates that were much in demand among American Theosophists.
The Society celebrated the fifty years of service of Marie Poutz at its sixty-first annual convention, and members voted to have a special document created for her "as a tangible reminder of the love and appreciation of the members." Bondy took on the task of illuminating the scroll, which was framed and sent to her. Miss Poutz called it "one of the most beautiful works of art I ever saw."
- U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Bondy filled out the card as "A (only) Theodore Bondy."
- 1920 and 1930 United States Census.
- Charles Zaner, "Diploma Courses" The Zanerian Exponent 1 (April, 1895): 12.
- "A List of Chicago Penmen, Engrossers, Illustrators" The Educator 52 no.1 (December, 1952): 23.
- 1940 United States Census.
- 1930 United States Census.
- Gerald Moscato, "Remembering The Past: A Profile of Andreas Theodore Bondy" website or blog posting. Date and URL unknown. ca. 2005-2006.
- Membership Ledger Cards roll 1. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
- Membership Ledger Sheets roll 1. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
- "Tribute to Mr. Rogers" The American Theosophist 26 no.3 (March 1938): 68.
- "Message of Appreciation to Miss Poutz" The American Theosophist 36 no.2 (February, 1948): 47.