Pat Bond as Gertrude Stein
Pat Bond as Lorena Hickok
Patricia Childers was born on February 7, 1925 in Chicago. She grew up in Davenport, Iowa. In 1945 she joined the Women's Army Corps with the hope of meeting other lesbians. In the army, she cared for wounded soldiers returning from the South Pacific and later served in occupied Japan. In 1947, in Tokyo, 500 women were dishonorably discharged from the army on the charge of homosexuality. Pat escaped this "witch hunt," in which many lesbians testified against each other in trial, because before going to Japan she had married a gay man, Paul Bond, in San Francisco.
With her marriage license Pat Bond was able to get an honorable discharge from the army on July 3, 1947, and she moved to San Francisco. She studied theater at San Francisco State College, earning a B.A. and an M.A., and for the next several decades she acted in various small theater groups, did some bartending, and for a short time owned her own bar.
In the late 1970s, she started to write a book about GertrudeStein, but was overwhelmed with the project until her friend Nancy Adair suggested she transform the book into a performance piece. In 1978, Pat was interviewed for the documentary Word is Out, directed by Peter Adair. Pat's performance in this film, in which she speaks humorously and poignantly about her experiences in the army, stole the show, and her career as an actress and comedienne was launched.
In the 1970s and 1980s she performed four one woman shows in small theaters and at colleges and universities across the country: Gerty, Gerty, Gerty Stein is Back, Back, Back; Conversations with Pat Bond; Murder in the WAC; and Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt: A Love Story. Pat Bond (Playwright). Pat Bond had had a crush on Eleanor Roosevelt since the age of seven. It was the fulfillment of a life-long passion to play Lorena Hickok. Gerty was shown repeatedly on national public television. For thousands of gay people, Bond was the first out lesbian they had ever seen onstage. Bond wrote and toured solo shows on Gertrude Stein and Lorena Hickok. Pat also played the part of Nurse Maxine in the movie The House of God (1980). In the 1980s she served on the board of directors of Theater Rhinoceros in San Francisco and directed several plays there. During the 1980s an oral history was done by historian Allan Bérubé for the book Coming Out Under Fire. She was also taped for the documentary film based on the book but didn't appear in the movie, because she had become too sickly by that time.
In 1990 she was honored by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for her service during World War II. She died in Marin County, California on December 24, 1990. In Pat's memory, her friends established the Pat Bond Memorial Old Dyke Award to honor lesbians over the age of sixty. Pat's papers and photograph albums were collected by her close friends and donated to GLHS.