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At a Glance
This collection is intellectually arranged in three series. Materials are physically arranged according to format.
Scope and Contents
Personal and family papers of the Welsh-American sociologist and progressive educator Thomas Jesse Jones (1873-1950). The bulk of the materials relate to two periods in Jones' career. Series I includes materials related to his years as research department chair and part-time chaplain at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. The second relates to his later role at the Phelps-Stokes Fund, first assembling a survey on African American education in the United States from 1913 to 1915, and then as educational director from 1917 to 1946. These materials are located in Series II. Finally, Series III is composed of materials from the Jones family.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located on-site.
This collection has no restrictions.
The RBML cannot provide access to original time-based media material which has not been first been reformatted for preservation. Researchers are welcome to examine archival time-based media items and decide whether they wish to place an order for Audio/Video reformatting. If copyright and/or condition restrictions apply, it may not be possible to digitize a requested item. Please note that A/V reformatting is handled by an outside vendor and typically takes 6-8 weeks.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Thomas Jesse Jones Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Phelps-Stokes Fund records, 1893-1970: Administrative records of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, where Jones was employed for the majority of his career, from 1913 until his retirement as Director Emeritus in 1946. At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Anson Phelps Stokes family papers: includes Anson Phelps Stokes' "lengthy and detailed correspondence with the [Phelps-Stokes] Fund's director, Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones." At the Manuscripts and Archives Repository, Yale University Library.
Franklin Henry Giddings papers: professional papers of Jones' Columbia University doctoral advisor and mentor Franklin Henry Giddings, the first full professor of sociology in the United States. Jones made heavy use of Giddings' work in his revision of the Hampton Institute social studies curriculum, both in its development and as assigned texts.
Given to Teachers College Archives by Dr. Gwendolen Schlaegel Jones, daughter of Thomas Jesse Jones.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Preliminary inventory created and materials housed by Sadie Smalls, May 1983.
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.
Collection description revised and EAD container list created by Celeste Brewer, March 2021.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Thomas Jesse Jones (1873-1950) was a Welsh-American sociologist and progressive educator. He may also have been responsible for coining the term "social studies." Through his work at Hampton Institute, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Education, and the Phelps-Stokes Fund, he gained extensive influence over policy and curricula for African American and African education during the era of European colonization. Jones' approach to education involved developing a curriculum tailored to addressing what he perceived as the specific social and cultural deficiencies of different ethnic groups, in order to accelerate what he expected would be their natural evolution toward the "Anglo-Saxon" ideal. For people of African and Native American descent, he emphasized vocational training, self-regulation, and moral uplift over academic rigor. In spite of critiques by African American contemporaries including Carter G. Woodson and W.E.B. Du Bois, Jones remained influential, especially among white philanthropists and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic.
Thomas Jesse Jones was born in Llanfachraeth, Wales, on August 4, 1873. After his father's death, Jones' family emigrated to the United States in 1884, settling in Middleport, Ohio. He attended Washington and Lee University and Marietta College, earning a bachelor's degree in 1897. He then enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University, where he completed a Master of Arts degree in 1899 and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1904, under the supervision of Franklin Henry Giddings. He also studied at Union Theological Seminary, where he earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1900.
In 1902, Jones was offered the position of chair of the Research Department and part-time chaplain at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia. Now Hampton University, at the time it was a college and vocational training school for African American and Native American students. Jones instituted a reformed social studies curriculum which incorporated concepts from civics, economics, and sociology to teach what he believed was most relevant to his students' needs. Subjects addressed included "the essentials of a good home, the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the cost and meaning of a good education, the place of labor, and the importance of thrift" (Social Studies in the Hampton Curriculum, 1908). W. E. B. Du Bois noted that this was a curriculum designed for "servants and laborers, not educated men and women" (The Crisis, February 1918). Jones remained at Hampton Institute until 1909, when he joined the U.S. Census Bureau for a brief stint as a statistician.
By 1912, Jones was employed at the U.S. Bureau of Education. He chaired the Committee on Social Studies of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education. The committee's final report, issued in 1916, advocated social studies curriculum reform which was similar in many ways to Jones' approach at Hampton Institute. While at the Bureau, Jones also conducted a survey supported by the Phelps-Stokes Fund, Negro Education in the United States. He published his findings in two volumes in 1915.
Jones became the Phelps-Stokes Fund's first Educational Director in 1917. In 1920, he led the first of two surveys of European colonial education in Africa. The Phelps-Stokes Commissions to Africa were joint ventures of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, American and European missionary societies and philanthropic organizations, and the governments of the European colonial powers. The first Commission visited Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Gold Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa between September 1920 and August 1921. The second visited Abyssinia, Kenya, Nyasaland, Portuguese East Africa, Tanganyika, Uganda, and Zanzibar between January and July 1924. The Commission issued two reports, both written by Jones, which essentially endorsed exporting Jones' paternalistic and racist model for African American education to colonial Africa. Jones remained employed by the Phelps-Stokes Fund until his retirement as Director Emeritus in 1946.
Jones married Carrie Schlaegel in 1901. They had two children, Carolyn and Gwendolen Jones. Thomas Jesse Jones died in New York City on January 4, 1950.