The Real James Bond at the AMNH
Fleming, Bond, Butterflies & Fish

Straight Talk on How 007 Got His Name

Raja's Emerald RJB
It seems like every month or so, another news report claims to come across another "real James Bond"  -- either the inspiration for James Bond or the source of the fictional character's name.

I'm sure Fleming drew on several people for his fictional character, but when it comes to the name itself, anyone who says that it was anyone other than the ornithologist from Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences is off the mark.

My favorite theory, which was based on speculation, is that Fleming read an Agatha Christie short story called "The Raja's Emerald," noted the name of the main character, and simply appropriated it.

It's doubtful that Fleming You Only LIve Twice Fleming inscription 643would use the name of a protagonist from another work of fiction. It's far more likely that this is just one of life's coincidences, especially considering that...

In researching The Real James Bond, I came across several accounts, in Fleming's own words, of how he chose "James Bond" for 007's name.

All of them are quite similar in general and quite specific in one regard. Fleming says he got the name from the cover of "Birds of the West Indies."   The author, James Bond.

What's more, when the real Bond visited Fleming at Goldeneye in 1964, 007's creator gave him a copy of You Only Live Twice and inscribed it "To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity."

Not long after that visit, the real Bond told a newspaper interviewer Fleming used the 1936 first edition for his inspiration.

Reports that Fleming used the later 1947 edition, on the other hand,  are based purely on supposition.



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