Rare Book & Manuscript Library

J. Max and Ruth Clement Bond papers, 1912-2004, bulk 1930-1990

Summary Information


This collection contains the papers of J. Max Bond, Sr. (1902-1991), educator, State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) official and president of the University of Liberia, and Ruth Clement Bond (1904-2005), chair of the English Department at Kentucky State College and at the University of Liberia, and president of the African-American Women's Association. The collection includes extensive family and professional correspondence, writings, and documents relating to educational, political, community and civil rights organizations in which the Bonds participated. The collection also contains photographs and ephemera.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1473
Bib ID 7031632 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Bond, J. Max, Sr., 1902-1991 ; Bond, Ruth Clement, 1904-2005
Title J. Max and Ruth Clement Bond papers, 1912-2004, bulk 1930-1990
Physical Description 32 linear feet (42 Boxes: 17 document boxes 23 record cartons 1 oversized box)
Language(s) English , French .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

One folder: Box 33, folder 3, is restricted until 2032.



This collection is arranged in six series.



The J. Max and Ruth Clement Bond Papers consist of the personal and professional writings, correspondence, photographs, and financial and legal records of the couple. Of particular interest are Max Bond's professional documents and reports, and correspondence related to education in, and United States assistance to, African nations, especially Liberia and Nyasaland (present-day Malawi). The collection also includes a large amount of printed material related not only to Max Bond's career with the University of Liberia, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the US Department of State, but also to the couple's wide commitment to civil rights, political activism, and various community organizations. Among these printed materials, particularly well represented organizations are the African-American Institute and the many women's organizations with which Ruth Bond worked, including the Association of American Foreign Service Women, Church Women United, and International Women's Year, 1975.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1934-1992, 2004

    This series contains correspondence pertaining to J. Max Bond's career as a member of United States Agency for International Development (US AID) and the United States Foreign Service, Ruth Bond's affiliation and leadership of various women's organizations, letters from the immediate and extended family, and a few Bond family financial and legal materials.

    General Correspondence includes letters to and from a wide variety of professional associates and Bond family members, as well as more occasional correspondents. Amongst the general correspondence can be found letters and cards from Ruth's brother, Rufus Clement, and sister, Abbie; Max's brothers Gilbert and Horace; and a number of nephews, nieces, and other extended family members, including Georgia State Senator Julian Bond. This correspondence has been arranged chronologically by decade, and runs from the 1930s through the 1990s.

    Correspondence from the immediate family includes letters to and from sons Max Jr. and George, and daughter Jane. This material, the majority written during the late 1950s and 1960s, contains extensive correspondence pertaining to Max's and George's secondary and university education, and many of these letters are copies written by Max Sr. to his sons from his various USAID and Foreign Service postings. Because much of the correspondence is addressed to both George and Max, Jr., their correspondence has been generally kept together, with the exception of a large group of letters addresses specifically to Max Jr. The Jane Bond correspondence primarily contains letters to her parents from the 1950s through the 1990s. The Max Bond, Jr. and George Bond correspondence, as well as the Jane Bond correspondence has been organized chronologically by decade.

    Note: Some correspondence, both professional and occasionally personal, can also be found in the Subseries II.1: Country and Regional, 1939-1990.

  • Series II: Country, Regional and Subject Files, 1935-1995

    Included here are reports, documents, and printed materials related to the countries in which the Bonds worked and toured, and their various interests and avocations. The material in this series is arranged alphabetically.

  • Series III: Writings, 1930-1988

    Manuscript drafts and notes by J. Max Bond make up the bulk of this series. Subject matter, largely concerning civil rights, the Black Panthers, and the Nixon administration, dates most of the manuscripts to the late 1960s-1970s. Where possible, drafts of the same manuscript have been grouped together and organized alphabetically, using the original titles; however, lack of dates makes it impossible to ascertain the chronological order of the drafts. A small amount of material in this series is by Ruth Bond and included here is her Master's thesis. The material is arranged alphabetically.

    Note: Most reports written by J. Max Bond, Sr. and Ruth Clement Bond can be found in Subseries II.1: Country and Regional, 1939-1990.

  • Series IV: Organizations, 1942-1995

    Newsletters, correspondence, notes, minutes, and photographs, related to the many organizations to which the Bonds belonged, make up the bulk of this, the largest series in the collection. The material comprising this series was scattered throughout the holdings with no discernable order. Documents, therefore, were gathered from across the collection and arranged chronologically by decade and, where appropriate, by years. At times, documents from different organizations were found nested together. Generally these stray documents have been left where they were found; for example, the Association of American Foreign Service Women (AAFSW) folders also contain material related to the Africa-America Institute (AAI) and other organizations. These cases reflect the very strong ties, both in terms of shared personnel and subject matter, between the organizations to which the Bonds belonged. In addition, the Bonds frequently received a very small amount of literature—often only a single document—from a vast array of organizations. The material related to these organizations has been grouped together within the General Organizations folders and arranged chronologically. Within the General Organizations folders there is much material dedicated to Women's groups.

    The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington (BGCGW: also known as Eastern Branch Boys' Club of Greater Washington) and its affiliate, the Women's Auxiliary Board (WAB), in which Max and Ruth Bond held leadership roles respectively, represent the single largest organizations within the series. Reflecting their organizational structure, the material relating to both groups has been kept together. The WAB's President's Book contains a representative assortment of documents related to this organization between 1970 and 1975, including a history, minutes, photograph albums, and materials regarding receptions for other organizations—especially those organizations associated with the Bonds.

    The Association of American Foreign Service Women (AAFSW) was strongly involved in the BGCGW/WAB. Although the AAFSW and WAB were two distinct organizations, many AAFSW members came to occupy leading roles in the WABGC. The AAFSW—and, through it, BGCGW/WAB— was also affiliated with the National Council of Women of the United States (NCWUS); Ruth Bond held a number of roles within each organization and the materials here reflect that involvement.

    Also within this series is material regarding the Africa-America Institute (AAI) and its African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU). The primary aim of the AAI was to facilitate the education and training of Africans studying in the United States by providing both financial support in the form of scholarships and a social, cultural, and legal support network. During the 1960s and early 1970s—the period of the Max and Ruth Bond's greatest involvement in the organization—the ASPAU was responsible for the selection, placement, funding, training, and orientation of students; Max and Ruth Bond were active in the selection and placement of scholarship students.

    Material regarding the African-American Scholars Council (AASC) can be found within the AAI material. Although the two organizations were not officially aligned, the AASC was founded by James L. Hope, who had previously run the AAI's scholarship program. Also within the AAI documents are materials relating to the Hospitality and Information Service (THIS) for Diplomatic Residents and Families, as well as the Student Counseling Service and its subsidiary organizations, including the African-American Women's Council.

    Of general note, the Washington Women's Council is the successor of African-American Wives Group. It is through Church Women United that Ruth Bond became involved with the Bicentennial celebrations of 1976.

  • Series V: Personal, 1914-1995

    Family memorabilia, awards and travel ephemera; biographical manuscripts, interviews and notes concerning the Clement-Bond family history; drafts of the Bond children's school papers and documents relating to individual interests; diaries, day books, and journals; and financial files, all of which capture the personal lives of the Bond family, are found here.

  • Series VI: Photographs, 1912-1990s

    The bulk of the material in this series comprises personal and family photographs, as well as pictures from some of the many events hosted by one of the organizations with which the Bonds were affiliated, especially the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. Also included are slides and photographs from trips abroad. These photographs, a mix of black and white, and color, were scattered throughout the collection with little discernable order. Most of them were loose and unidentified, yet there were also some albums and a few labeled photographs. Whenever possible, photographs found in the same location have been kept together. Easily identifiable material was arranged according to the people featured and the nature of the event.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

One folder: Box 33, folder 3, is restricted until 2032.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); J. Max and Ruth Clement Bond Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

J. Max Bond, Jr. Papers at Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Archives, Columbia University Library


No accruals are expected

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Jane Clement Bond. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--2008.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Sponsor Information

The processing of this collection was made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation

Processing Information

Papers processed Daniel Callahan (Columbia 2012), Liane Carlson (Columbia 2013), Jean-Christophe Cloutier (Columbia 2013), Lindsay Gibson (Columbia 2015), Asheesh Siddique (Columbia 2015), Simon Taylor (Columbia 2013), and Aaron Winslow (Columbia 2014) 2010.

Finding aid written Daniel Callahan (Columbia 2012), Liane Carlson (Columbia 2013), Jean-Christophe Cloutier (Columbia 2013), Lindsay Gibson (Columbia 2015), Asheesh Siddique (Columbia 2015), Simon Taylor (Columbia 2013), and Aaron Winslow (Columbia 2014) 07/--/2010.

Revision Description

2010-09-16 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
African-American Institute Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Association of American Foreign Service Women Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Black power -- United States -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bond, George C. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bond, J. Max, Jr. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bond, J. Max, Sr., 1902-1991 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bond, Jane Clement Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bond, Ruth Clement, 1904-2005 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Church Women United Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International Women's Year, 1975 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National Council of Negro Women Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National Council of Women of the United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Occupation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Agency for International Development Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
University of Liberia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Widening Horizons (Washington, D.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development, and Peace (Location of meeting: Copenhagen, Denmark). Date of meeting or treaty signing: (1980 :.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World Day of Prayer International Committee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

James Max Bond, Sr. and Ruth Elizabeth Clement Bond, husband and wife, both hailed from prominent and well-educated African-American families.

J. Max Bond, Sr., State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) official and president of the University of Liberia, was born in Nashville, Tennessee on September 15, 1902. His father, James M. Bond (1863-1929), a Congressional Minister and community leader served as the first director of the Kentucky Commission on Interracial Cooperation. After graduating from the Oberlin College Theological Seminary in 1893, James Bond married Jane A. Browne, who was also a graduate of Oberlin. Together they had six children, including Max Sr.

Ruth Elizabeth Clement was born in Louisville, Kentucky on May 22, 1904. Her father, George Clinton Clement was a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; in 1946 her mother, Emma Clarissa Williams Clement, became the first African-American woman to be named American Mother of the Year. Both of Ruth's parents were graduates of Livingstone College and her father also had an LL.D. from Wilberforce University. Ruth was one of seven children.

Max Sr. graduated from the High School Department of Simmons University in Louisville, Kentucky in 1921 and attended the Lincoln Institute. After graduation, he moved to Chicago, where, from 1922 to 1926, he earned his B.P.E. from George Williams College (known today as Roosevelt University). While pursuing his degree, Max also worked as the director of the Oakland School Playground from 1923 until 1925. From 1926 to 1928 he was employed as physical education director at the Pittsburgh YMCA, before earning an M.A. in Education and Educational Administration at the University of Pittsburgh in 1930. Between 1929 and 1931 Max also served as the director of the Kentucky Interracial Commission.

Ruth, like her parents, attended Livingstone College, but received both her B.A. (1925) and an M.A. (1930) from Northwestern University where she majored in English Literature and Sociology. In the years between acquiring her degrees, Ruth taught English at Louisville Central High School and from 1930 to 1932 she was head of the English Department at Kentucky State College.

In 1931 Max and Ruth Clement married and moved to Los Angeles where Max was enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Southern California (USC). Although Ruth also began graduate studies at USC, she suspended her formal academic pursuits shortly after the birth of the Bonds' first child in 1933. Max received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 1936 with a dissertation entitled "The Negro in Los Angeles." Upon obtaining his doctorate, Max embarked on a career as an educator. His first position, from 1934-1938, was with the Tennessee Valley Authority as Director of Negro Personnel and Education. Ruth became known for her Tennessee Valley Authority quilt designs, which were sewn by the wives of African-American men who built dams for the TVA in the mid-1930s. Next, Max served as Dean of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana (1938-1940); from 1940-1944 he was employed as as Dean of the School of Education at the Tuskegee Institute (today Tuskegee University).

In 1944 the first of Max and Ruth's foreign sojourns began: Max accepted a job with the US State Department's Inter-American Educational Foundation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he served as director of the educational mission and Ruth was on the faculty of L'Ecole Normale de Martissant. The Bonds left Haiti in 1947 when Max was appointed Dean of the Graduate School of Education of Clark Atlanta University. In 1950 the State Department sent the Bonds to Liberia, where Max, following a reorganization of the University of Liberia, became the university's first President and Ruth headed the English Department. The Bonds enjoyed a close working relationship with Liberian President William Tubman.

Max's stint in Liberia lasted until 1955, at which point he began his work as an official in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Max's first appointment was as Education Advisor to Afghanistan's Minister of Education; next he took up a similar role in Tunisia. Just as he had done in Liberia, Max played a role in the reorganization of Kabul University and the University of Tunis. In 1960 the Bonds returned to the United States, taking up residence in Washington, D.C. briefly, before spending a year in Sierra Leone. Max's final tour of duty was in Nyasaland (now Malawi), where he organized teacher training programs. Following his retirement in 1966, Max joined Ruth in becoming active in community issues in the D.C. area. During the 1960s Ruth served as President of the African-American Women's Association, and in 1978 she was part of a National Council of Negro Women fact-finding mission that studied the role of women in Senegal, Togo, and the Ivory Coast.

Other educators in the extended Clement and Bond families included Ruth's brother, Rufus Early Clement, and Max Sr.'s brother, Horace Mann Bond. Rufus E. Clement was a long-time president of Atlanta University. Horace Bond, author of The Education of the Negro in American Social Order, served as the first African-American President of Lincoln University, as well as the head of the Bureau of Education and Social Research at Atlanta University. He also co-founded the Africa-America Institute, an organization with which Max Sr. and Ruth were closely involved.

The Bonds had three children, all of whom followed their parents' educational lead. Jane Emma Clement Bond (b. 1933), who received her Ph.D. from University College, London University, became a professor of European History and Modern France at Baruch College; J. Max Bond, Jr. (1935-2009), an architect and Columbia University professor, was a graduate of Harvard University; and George Clement Bond (b. 1936), obtained his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and was the Director of the Institute for African Studies at Columbia University, as well as a Professor of Anthropology at Teachers College.

Max died in 1991and Ruth in 2005.