The Bondurant Family Association

One Hugenot’s Flight From Religious Persecution Creates The Bondurant Family In America

 
 


 

BFA Annual Meeting

Alexandria, VA

October 17-18. 2014























© Bondurant Family Association, 2014

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Bob Bondurant, LeMans winner and founder of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving hosted the 2001 Annual Meeting - Learn MoreMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlMeetings/Pages/2001_Meeting.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5
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Why did Jean Pierre Bondurant leave this home in Genolhac, France to come to America in 1700? - Learn MoreHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlHistory/Entries/2009/12/1_Genolhac_and_the_Regordane_Road.htmlshapeimage_11_link_0shapeimage_11_link_1shapeimage_11_link_2shapeimage_11_link_3shapeimage_11_link_4shapeimage_11_link_5
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The historic city of Alexandria Old Town, Virginia, is the site of this year’s BFA annual gathering. You will have an opportunity to meet Bondurant cousins from all over and to share your own family information at the Meet and Greet on Friday evening.

The annual meeting will be held on Saturday morning at the host hotel, the Embassy Suites-Alexandria Old Town. A group tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is planned for Saturday afternoon (pre-payment required), or plan your own activities in Washington, DC. On Saturday evening, we’ll gather at the King Street Blues restaurant for dinner to enjoy “Comfort Foods with a Southern Accent.” (pre- payment required) More details on page 3 inside!

The host hotel for this year’s meeting is Embassy Suites - Alexandria Old Town, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia. The BFA group rate offers 1 king bed at $139/night, or 2 double beds at $159/night, plus taxes and fees. This rate expires on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Make your reservation by calling 1-800-362-2779 and requesting the “BFA” group, or make it online at http://embassysuites.hilton.com/en/es/groups/personalized/W/WASOTES-BFA-20141017/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG

TIP: Several members have discovered that you may get an even lower room rate if you are a member of AAA or AARP.

Our sincere thanks go to the planning committee for all their hard work in putting these plans together: President Ed Bondurant, Jack and Gretchen Bondurant, and Vice President Marcelle Bondurant Hoffman.

Please register and pre-pay for the Mount Vernon tour and Saturday evening dinner at the King Street Blues restaurant by the Sept. 17th deadline.  Here is the registration form: BFA 2014 annual meeting registration form-fillable.pdf

Through the Transom into India: The Joan Valerie Bondurant Story

by David W. Bondurant

I was asked to write an article for the newsletter and website on her life since she was a cousin of my father, William G. Bondurant. More recently I made a presentation on her life at the BFA Annual Meeting in Chandler in November 2013. Here is a summary of my presentation.


Joan Valerie Bondurant from Sketches of India

Joan Valerie Bondurant was born Dec. 16, 1918, the daughter of Price and Minnie (McGee) Bondurant of Great Bend, KS. Price Bondurant was eldest son of James David Bondurant, my great grandfather, who lived in Downing and Kirksville, MO. James David was descended from Jean Pierre Bondurant through the John, Darby, David, David Garrett Bondurant line.


The James David Bondurant family at his house in Kirksville, MO. Price and Minnie are on left end of second row. My grandfather, William Pearl Bondurant, is shown with my grandmother in the middle of the back row

Price and Minnie moved to Great Bend, KS where they raised their family. In December 1941, Joan was attending the University of Michigan as a Political Science major when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. On graduation, she enrolled in a Crash Course in Japanese with a desire to become involved with the war effort. During the language course, Joan met Maureen Patterson, a sophomore who was also taking the course. The pair of women became sufficiently fluent in Japanese to do short translations. They contacted a former professor, Dr. Robert Hall (Colonel Hall) who was working in San Francisco for the Office of Special Services (OSS) Foreign Nationalities Branch. By 1942, Joan & Maureen were working for the OSS in Research & Analysis (R&A) in San Francisco performing analysis of Japanese photos and documents taken from Japanese immigrants who had been detained during the war.


Joan Bondurant and Maureen Patterson from Sketches of India

In January 1943, William Philips, former head of OSS London, was sent to New Delhi, India to negotiate a peaceful solution to the growing Indian conflict with Britain and to establish the first OSS office in India. The first permanent mission in India was established but the British resisted further expansion of our presence there. General Donovan, founder & head of the OSS, then met with Brig. Cawthorne, head of British military intelligence for the Indian army. General Donovan said, "If he didn't let OSS in the door, we would come in through the transom." Under this threat of covert action, Britain allowed establishment of the OSS office in New Delhi by August 1943, reporting to Lord Mountbatten, British commander in the area. By that time, Mohandas Gandhi and leaders of the Indian National Congress were launching the Quit India movement, calling for mass civil disobedience if Britain didn't leave.

In January 1944, the first R&A unit was established in New Delhi. In May 1944, Joan Bondurant & Maureen Patterson departed Port Seattle and arrived in India to process Japanese materials captured in Burma. In December 1944, Joseph Coolidge, head of R&A India, received sub rosa orders to begin spying on the Indian political situation. Starting in January 1945, Bondurant & Patterson are told to meet as many important Indians as possible without raising British awareness.



Mingling with Indian Society from Sketches of India

The girls moved into a large bungalow with spacious living, dining, and bedrooms along with gardens and 7 servants that was much larger than normal OSS quarters. They began to host small social gatherings with a diverse class of Indians, attend dances at the Imperial Hotel, dinners at restaurants and elegant homes. They met maharajahs, journalists, government functionaries, left wing & non-Congress political leaders and emerging industrialists. They were invited to the Chelmsford Club, established for the Indian non-British elite. They also met with Muslim League leaders pushing to establish Pakistan.

The girls were also monitoring broadcasts from Japanese-occupied Singapore by Subhas Chandra Bose, an Indian Nationalist, and passing this information on to their Indian friends. Patterson was invited to attend the conference at Simla called by the British to consider transfer of power to the Indians. Patterson was introduced to Dr. B.C. Roy, Gandhi's personal physician, Nehru, and many other Indian leaders. The women were the only women in OSS granted audience with Gandhi after the war.

After the war, Joan Bondurant wrote Sketches of India, a first American look at the Indian Culture. She receives a Doctorate in Political Science at the University of California Berkeley in 1952 where she was Professor of International Studies. She wrote Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict in 1958, a widely read book on Gandhi politics. Later in life, she also taught at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA before retiring to Tucson, AZ.



Note from David: I would like to acknowledge the book Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS by Elizabeth P. McIntosh that I found in the bookstore of the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, which provided much of the detail on Joan Bondurant's activities in India. The pictures of Joan and Maureen shown here come from Joan Bondurant's book, Sketches of India. You should also consider reading Joan's book, Conquest of Violence.