HAROLD M. BIXBY (1890-1965)
referred to as "Bix", but not too often
(PanAm Far Eastern Representative and later PanAm V-P)
(CNAC/PAA 1933 - 1938)
Do you know the others?
(Photo Courtesy of John Johnson)
In 1938 Mr. Bixby privately published about 20 copies of his book regarding his recollections concerning CNAC, called Top Side Ricksha. Sometime in 1968, Mrs. Bixby had about 20 more copies of this book republished. Professor William Leary (The Dragon's Wings) of the University of Georgia at Athens oversaw this project.
And from that book, Top Side Ricksha --Early 1930s
Somewhere in China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, who knows?)
left to right
Harold M. Bixby, William Stephen Grooch, Mr. Quezon and Acting Governor Holliday.
Did you know any of these men?
December 30, 2001
Harold Bixby was a native of St. Louis and president of the St. Louis chamber of commerce at the time Lindbergh was planning his flight to Paris. Bix was, I think, in the balloon Corps in World War I, can't be sure of that, but I know he "flew" balloons after the war, had some great stories to tell. Anyway Lindbergh and Bix decided it would be great for St. Louis to sponsor the flight, hence "Spirit of St. Louis". Bix and "Slim" remained close friends.
Happy New Year
Damaris (see Lincoln Reynolds)
(News clipping courtesy of Damaris Reynolds)
From Catherine Bunting Spinks of Lumberton, Mississippi, a great niece to Harold M. Bixby.
March 9, 2005
Hi Tom....thanks for responding to my email....in the 'older days', it would have taken at least a week or more to receive a response -- aren't computers wonderful. Type it, push a button, and the mail is on its way, to be received in a matter of minutes!
I am a great niece of Harold M. Bixby! My sister was named after Uncle Harold's wife, Aunt Debby Bixby, and my sister's name is Elizabeth Bixby Bunting Hood.
I was looking thru an old address book, and I have the address of one of Uncle Harold's daugthers, Aunt Bo Caldwell of Houston, although I am NOT sure about the address, or whether she is still living or not.
My mother was born in 1918, and I think two of Uncle Harold/Aunt Debby's girls were born prior to that and two after that. As you can see, they had four girls. But I will see what I can do in reaching either one of the girls -- the youngest is deceased and died in the 60's (I think) from cancer -- don't know about Aunt Catherine, Francis or Bo.....and if they are still living, they are UP in years......I'll see what I can do with the grandchildren, who are my peers.
I do remember my mother telling me about her days in China as she was there for a year with the Bixbys and their four girls. I think they left in '39, and according to my mother, got the last boat out of the Hong Kong Harbor before it was closed.......this may or may not be true, and you know how stories go!
I would like to ask you a few questions about Uncle Harold Bixby. It was my understanding that he actually set up the airline for PanAm in China (and I believe in later years he was one of PanAm's Board of Directors), but in reading your stuff, I am unable to determine whether my knowledge is true or not. If you'd be so kind, and when you have time, please let me know exactly what his role was in China. I do know that he was a Lindberg backer, knew Chiang Kai-shek personally - according to my mother, they were good friends.
Time fades one's memory, and since I am up there in that golden age (will be 63 in June), my memory may have lapses in it!!! I do have fond memories of Uncle Harold and Aunt Debby though -- they were both wonderful people, and I can remember Uncle Harold taking us out in his boat when we were on Captiva Island (my grandparents had a home next to theirs), and also up at Lake George, NY. All grandchild, nieces and nephews, etc. LOVE Uncle Harold! I remember his arm that was deformed, and I believe this happened due to a fracture and not mending properly.
Well, I have bent your ear long enough, sooooooo if you have any interesting facts, I'd love to have them, and in the meantime, I'll see what I can do in tracing down some of Uncle Harold's heirs. Come to think of it, I may have my mother's old photo album of her pictures while in China, and will look and see if there are any of Uncle Harold in there.
Again, thanks for your nice response, and please add me to your list.
Have a nice evening!
January 15, 2006
Greg Crouch here, the writer Tom mentioned. I do indeed have a lot of info about "Uncle Bix," including many letters he wrote during his China years.
I can tell you for sure that HM Bixby left the Far East in the spring of 1938, after Pan Am's transpacific service had been up and running for a little over two years, but well before Hong Kong was attacked by the Japanese. He went back to Pan Am's NY HQ where I think he worked as a sort of executive fireman for PAA, doing their hardest jobs.
I'd love to get in contact with any of Bixby's direct descendants, and I'd love to see any period photographs that the family might have in its possession, particularly any photos of him and William Langhorne Bond, who is proving to be my main character. (Roughly, he worked under Bixby until Bix went home, then Bond sheparded the airline through the war.) But Bond's son, Langhorne Bond, speaks of his time growing up with "Uncle Bix" and "Aunt Debbie" at the Bixby place in upstate NY.
I'm doing the book on CNAC for Bantam, due last November (ouch), so I'm cranking every day in final push mode. It's a fasinating period, a fascinating airline, and a fantastic window into the history of the Far East in the 1930s and 40s.
Have you read Uncle Bix's unpublished manuscript "Topside Rickshaw?" Not 100% coherent (as it's not organized terribly well), but very good on the paragraph by paragraph level, full of great anecdotes. (And I think Tom ought to endeavor to post the MSS on his website, althougth it'd be a scanning project from hell.) Tom?
Side note: OK, I'll start working on it, Tom.
Hope you're doing well, Cathy, regards, Greg
August 8, 2007
My name is Anne Hawkins, and Harold Bixby was my grandfather. Gramp's three living daughters' names are...in order..Frances Bixby Caldwell, born 1917; Elizabeth " Bo" Hawkins, born 1917 ( my mother); and Catherine " Cat" Barrett, born 1924. Aunt Hebe , the youngest died of intestinal cancer in August 1973. Mother and Aunt Cat are still compus mentus...Aunt Frances is not.
Mother is a wonderful resource for you, as she has an unbeliveable memory, knew Bondy well, and has great stories to tell.
Granny had Top Side Ricksha published, but only for us, her grandchildren. It was never edited, and needed to be. It was never to be consumed by the public. Gramp would have hated that, he was such a private man.
Speaking of privacy, Gramp's bathroom is a museum of historic artifacts. A letter from Lindbergh, and a piece of the Spirit's fabric...framed as a present for gramp from Slim in 1928. A piece of the Kitty Hawk, and pictures and symbols in honor of Gramp's foresight.
Gramp was a vice - president of Pan Am for many years. He left China, I thought, in 1937, not 1938, but don't hold my feet to the fire on that one.
Gramp's arm was broken in a car accident in which a good friend was killed. It was set poorly, and the two bones never grew back together properly. I always thought he left it in penance for his friend's death. He was that kinda guy.
I know that this information is probably past due for you, but thought you might enjoy it. Love that there are people out there who care about Gramp and the history of Lindbergh and Pan Am. We do in fact have MANY pictures...what interests you?
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore, know.