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John Rison Jones Jr. Collection

Identifier: MC-45

Content Description

This collection contains a scrapbook of WWII photographs, correspondence, and Jones' dissertation.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930-01-01 - 2009-04-09


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. John Rison Jones, Jr. was a fifth-generation resident of Huntsville descending from two of the earliest settlers of Huntsville and Madison County: William Brandon in 1809 and Maj. William Jones in 1818. He graduated from Huntsville High School in 1942 and attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 7, 1942. He served as a private first class in Co. L, 414th Regiment, 104th Infantry Division in the European theater. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. He was present at the liberation of the concentration camp at the Nordhausen Mittelwerk facility in April 1945, an experience that stayed with him the rest of his life. After returning to the United States, Jones attended the University of the South, now Sewanee, and graduated with highest honors in 1949. He remained there for two years to teach in the history department. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with an M.A. degree in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1958 in modern European history. His dissertation focused on Louis Barthou's foreign policy during the 1930s. To complete his research, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for study at the University of Paris, where he remained for two years. Jones taught at Washington & Lee University following his graduation from UNC, and he entered the historical division of the U.S. Department of State in 1959 as a diplomatic historian. In 1960, he joined the faculty at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, where he directed the Ford Foundation MA-3 honors program. Concerned about approaching integration of higher education, he joined Sergeant Shriver's Office of Economic Opportunity to develop the Upward Bound Program for disadvantaged youths. Resigning from SMU in 1967, he remained with the program after its transfer to the Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He served as program officer for the Southwest. He received the highest civilian award of HEW for outstanding service in 1980. When the Office of Education became the Department of Education in 1980, he served as special assistant to the assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the Policy Division. At his retirement in 1986, he was senior education adviser to the assistant secretary and officer in charge of the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. He also assisted the Office of Historic Black Colleges and Universities. Returning to Huntsville in 1987, he became involved in a number of favorite activities. He served on the boards of the Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, the Huntsville Pilgrimage Society, and the Historic Huntsville Foundation. He was president of the Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society and served as vice president for programs for a number of years. There was substantial growth of the Society in membership these years. In 1990, he was appointed to the board of the Huntsville Museum of Art and after 1996 he continued on the board of the Huntsville Museum of Art Foundation and delegate to the main board. He was responsible for the creation of the Acquisitions Committee in 1994 and under his leadership more than 600 items were acquired for the Permanent Collection of the Museum with a value exceeding $2 million. He served as awards chairman for the Greater Huntsville Community Foundation for six years. He also served on the historic marker committee of the Historical Society for the Alabama Historical Commission. An avid historian and genealogist, he was the author with Dr. Frances Roberts, Dorothy Scott Johnson and Diane Robey of "Maple Hill Cemetery: Phase One." He wrote a number of articles for the historical society's bulletin including one on finding two Union generals of the Civil War buried at Maple Hill. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, where he served as historian for a number of years and a member of HOF, a group of native Huntsvillians of advanced age. On October 9, during celebrations on Founders Day and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the University of the South, he was awarded an honorary degree in civil law. His parents and twin siblings, Dorothy Jones Cooper and John Robert Jones, predeceased him. He is survived by five loving nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren. He also leaves a number of cousins. The family wishes to thank Hospice Family Care of Huntsville and those who assisted with his care. Memorials may be made to the Acquisition Committee of the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Based on the obituary published in the Huntsville Times, 11/7/2008


2 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Clay Colley and Robert Cooper, 2009.

Existence and Location of Copies

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Vaughn Bocchino
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America