Carrie Jacobs-Bond Triumphed over Tragedy

We recently looked at the song I Love You Truly.  However, the author has an interesting life worth reviewing in her own right.


young Carrie Jacobs Bond
young Carrie Jacobs Bond

Carrie was born on August 11, 1862, during the midst of the Civil War.  She was born in a brick house in Janesville, Wisconsin.

By a young age she could pick out songs on the piano and by six was playing by ear.  By the age of nine, she was playing Franz Liszt Second Hungarian Rhapsody by ear.

Her father lost the family fortune in the grain market panic and died shortly thereafter.  At the age of eighteen, she married Mr. E. J. Smith.  The couple would have a son, Fred.  The union was not a happy one and they separate after seven years of marriage.

In 1887, she married Dr. Frank Lewis Bond.  He took an interest in her music and encouraged her talent.

Carrie suffered from extremely painful case of rheumatism that often left her unable to care for herself over the years. Jacobs-Bond_SEVEN_SONGS_cover

In 1894, Dr. Bond slipped and fell on the snow and died.  According to Carrie, his last words to her were “My darling, this is death. But, oh, how I want to live”.

Now the widow had to find a way to provide for herself and her son.  She bought a house and rented out rooms to make ends meet.  In her spare time she continued to compose songs.

She is said to have had a generous heart and helping many people that were down on their luck.

A caller saw her piano and compositions and as a fellow performer and musician took an interest.  He was impressed by the first song he played, I Love You Truly.

Contacts were made and she made arrangements to have her songs published.  Her first music book to be published was Seven Songs. I Love You Truly and Just a Wearyin’ For You became popular singles from that first book. {This was in the days of sheet music}.

Carrie decided to become her own publisher, with the assistance of her son.  She worked under the names Carrie Jacobs-Bond and Sons and Bond House.

Working out of a corner in her home, she built up her publishing house.  Her printing was of the highest quality at the time.  Much of her sheet music is said to still be in pristine condition.

In the early days, Carrie painted most of her covers.  She had a fondness for roses and it became a hallmark of the Bond look.

Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
Carrie Jacobs-Bond.

A Perfect Day was her biggest hit, selling more than five million copies of sheet music.


Around 1910, Carrie began extending recording rights and royalties for her composition.  She was the first woman composer to earn more than a million dollars.

She also performed her songs across the world, including for President Theodore Roosevelt and President Warren Harding.

She continued to battle her health, often with long hospitalizations or incapacitations.

Around 1920, she and her son, Fred, moved from Chicago to California.  A Bond Shop was established in Hollywood.

In 1932, her greatest tragedy occurred, when her son committed suicide.  She was devastated by the loss.

By 1940, she stopped performing her concerts.  One of the last songs she is known to write was My Mother’s Voice in 1942.

She died at her home on December 28, 1946 at the age of 84.  She was laid to rest near her beloved son.

bondcarriejacob3 However, her music lives on as a reminder that we can triumph over all that life throws in our way.

President Herbert Hoover probably said it best in the tribute that is engraved on her mausoleum:

Beloved composer of I Love You Truly, Just A Wearyin’ For You, A Perfect Day and a hundred other heart songs that express the love, the longings, sadness and gladness of people everywhere..truly folk music of the world. Born in Wisconsin, devoted wife and mother who met widowhood, conquered hardship, and achieved fame by composing and singing her simple romantic melodies, she was America’s gallant lady of song.