Nantucket Atheneum Podcast

The Bonds, The Mitchells & The Dawn of Time: Three Black Swans

December 08, 2022 Nantucket Atheneum Season 4 Episode 4
Nantucket Atheneum Podcast
The Bonds, The Mitchells & The Dawn of Time: Three Black Swans
Show Notes

The Mitchells and the Bonds are following a parallel track of discovery and success, but in the late 1850s, their fortunes diverge. As the Mitchells experience success and longevity, the Bonds face one upset after another. 

The term “Black Swan” refers to an event which was unexpected, previously unimaginable, and had lasting consequences. The Bonds would face three black swans inside a decade on top of a series of tragedies that were just a matter of life in the 1800s. The greatness of the challenge is matched and surpassed by their resilience and focus. This is a dark episode but stick around until the end to find out how it all turns out. 


This has been a production of the Nantucket Atheneum

Written, edited and narrated by Janet Forest 

Special thanks to the Atheneum’s Reference Library Associate Jim Borzilleri for his research and insights.

Resources and additional information:
If you want to know more about this topic, check our this very thorough list of resources that Jim has compiled:

•Two letters from George Bond to Richard and Sarah indicating Sarah’s mechanical and mathematical abilities.

George to Richard – October 14, 1864

George to Sarah (Sally) – October 30, 1864

• The unabridged letter Sarah Bond sent to the Third Women’s Conference in 1875, which was presided over by Maria Mitchell.

"Potential Employments Open to Women" by S. A. C. Bond

• Listen to Episode 7 of Season 2 "How Dewey Catalogue These Books" to learn more about what it took for Sarah Bond to re-catalogue the collection according to the new Dewey Decimal System.


The Nantucket Atheneum is located at 1 India Street in Nantucket, MA.

You can visit us online at