Jones Family Collection

jones_library_jones_samuel_minot_inset_harrietandminot
Samuel Minot Jones
Top corner: his wife Harriet and son Minot

Jones Family Papers, circa 1766-1965 (bulk dates, 1838-1928)



Abstract


The Jones Family Collection contains photographs, letters, documents and memorabilia of Samuel Minot Jones, and of the Jones family of Amherst, Massachusetts.

Biographical Note



Samuel Minot Jones (1836-1912) was a Chicago lumber merchant, Civil War soldier, and philanthropist who founded the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Jones family included Thomas Jones (1787-1853), textile mill owner; his wife, Mary Hubbard Field French Jones (1804-1879); their son Samuel Minot Jones (1836-1912); their daughter Augusta Thayer Jones (1845-1884); Samuel’s wife Harriet Watson Stenger Jones (1873-1907); and Samuel and Harriet’s only son Minot Jones (1899-1918). Samuel’s father Thomas moved to Amherst with his wife Mary and their children after the 1837 failure of his mill in Enfield, Massachusetts. They built a new home on Amity Street and developed mills in North Amherst. This time the mills did not fail. The family prospered until the death of Thomas in 1853. Samuel worked at George Cutler’s dry goods store in Amherst to support himself and learn business. He soon decided to go west to earn his fortune, moving to Illinois and learning the lumber trade.

When the Civil War broke out, Jones enlisted in 1861 at age 25. After serving with distinction and taking part in two memorable battles, Pea Ridge in Arkansas and Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he was wounded, Jones resigned and returned to his mother’s Amherst home to recuperate. Following his recovery, Jones returned to Chicago to partner with Charles Barton in the lumber business. During the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Jones’s quick thinking to hire two fire engines from outside the city saved his lumberyard, one of the few to escape destruction. His fortune secure, Jones retired to Morristown, New Jersey, in 1894. In 1898 he married Harriet Stenger and the following year a son, Minot, was born. Harriet Jones never fully recovered from the birth of Minot and died in 1907. Samuel Jones died five years later leaving the bulk of his estate to his son Minot when the boy reached 21, the age of majority. Unfortunately, Minot contracted influenza in an army training camp and died in 1918 at age 19.

According to the subsidiary clauses in the will and codicils of Samuel Minot Jones, the stocks and cash from the estate that would have passed to Minot were to be used to erect a free public library in Amherst to be named after him. The endowment amounted to approximately $660,000. The library was established as The Jones Library, Incorporated, by a special act of the Massachusetts legislature on March 21, 1919. The bill was signed by then-governor Calvin Coolidge. Thus the library came into existence.

Scope and Content



This collection consists of the will establishing the library, letters, deeds, and other personal papers of three generations of the family. Also included are photographs of the family and their residences. There is a considerable amount of family memorabilia in the collection.

Extent


2 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes, 1 artifact box)

Access Restrictions


This collection is open for research.

Provenance​



This collection was assembled by multiple individuals. Much of it was donated to the library by Jones family members and friends or collected by the Jones Library’s first director, Charles Green, and Samuel Jones’s biographer, Charles Walker.

Preferred Citation


[Identification of item], Jones Family Collection, Special Collections, Jones Library, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Processing information


This collection was processed by Sean St. Marie in 2019.

Related Materials


Three publications of the library are of interest: Charles S. Walker, Samuel Minot Jones, The Story of an Amherst Boy (Amherst: The Jones Library, Inc., 1922); Frank Prentice Rand, The Jones Library in Amherst, 1919-1969 (Amherst: The Jones Library, Inc., 1969); and Bruce Watson, Hearth and Soul: The Jones Library at One Hundred (Amherst: Off the Common Books, 2019).

Related manuscript collections include:
Burgess, John W. – Samuel Minot Jones materials
Field, Roswell M. – Letters
French, Mary Field – Letters
Walker, Charles S. – Samuel Minot Jones

Arrangement


The collection is organized into 2 series:
Series 1. Samuel Minot Jones Papers
Series 2. Jones Family Papers
Within each series, folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title, followed by memorabilia associated with the individual (if known).

Series Descriptions



Series 1: Samuel Minot Jones Papers, circa 1840-1965


This series contains documents, letters, photographs and memorabilia of or relating to Samuel Minot Jones, a lumber merchant from Amherst, Massachusetts. Samuel was related to the Jones and Minot families of Amherst and Newfane, Vermont. Materials marked “FA” are housed with the Fine Arts Collection.

Series 2: Jones Family Papers, circa 1766-1953


This series contains documents, letters, photographs and memorabilia of or relating to the Jones family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Also included are letters to the Joneses and documents, memorabilia and information on the Jones and Minot families, primarily related to Samuel Minot Jones. Materials marked “FA” are housed with the Fine Arts Collection.

Detailed Inventory


Series 1: Samuel Minot Jones Papers, circa 1850-1965


Box Folder Title/Description Date
1
1 Amherst Academy
1850-1851
1 2 Autographs
undated
1 3 Biography of John Burgess
undated
1 4 Business
undated
1
5 Correspondence about
1925, 1933, 1953
1
6 Estate Settlement
1921 January 21
1 7 Genealogy
1933 January 3, undated
1
8 Letter to
undated
1
9 Letters
1862-1911
1
10
Morristown Trust
1912-1913, 1927, 1943
1
11
Photographs
circa 1905, undated
1
12 Will
1917, 1965
1
13
Walker, Charles - Correspondence about Samuel Minot Jones
1920-1922, undated
1
14
Walker, Charles - Notes for Samuel Minot Jones biography
circa 1920
1
15
Walker, Charles - Reproductions of images in his book
undated
FA artifact
Cane
undated
FA
artifact
Civil War sword
circa 1861
4
artifact
Cuff links
undated
FA
artifact
Walking stick
undated
2
artifact
Writing case and fountain pen
undated

Series 2: Jones Family Papers, circa 1766-1964


Box Folder Title/Description Date
4
artifact French, Roswell - Cup
1901 November 21
4 artifact French, Theodore Francis  - Cup
undated
4 artifact Jones, Augusta - Cup
undated
1 16 Jones, Harriet Stenger - Letters
1902-1907, undated
1 17 Jones, Mary Hubbard French Field - Letter to
1838 February 9
4 artifact Jones, Mary Hubbard French Field - Daguerreotype believed to be Mary
undated
4
artifact Jones, Mary Hubbard French Field - Serving spoon
undated
Map Drawer Jones, Minot - Certificate
1921 January 21
Oversize Box
Jones, Minot - Diploma
undated
1
18 Jones, Minot - Education
1925-1928
1 19 Jones, Minot - Letters
1910-1918
1 20 Jones, Minot - Miscellaneous
undated
1 21 Jones, Minot - Photograph (framed)
1913 June 22
2 1 Jones Minot - Photographs (framed)
1913, circa 1918
2 2 Jones, Minot - Photographs
1911-1916, undated
3 book Jones, Minot - Bible and bookmark
undated
3 book Jones, Minot - Bible (small)
undated
4
books Jones, Minot - Schoolbooks (3)
1906
4 artifact Jones, Minot - Ring
undated
4
artifact Jones, Minot - Tank Corps pin
undated
FA artifact Jones, Minot - Stuffed duck shot by Minot
undated
2
3 Jones, Thomas - Association letters
1825-1868
2 4 Jones, Thomas - Deeds
1839-1844
2
5 Jones, Thomas - House
1931, 1956-1964, undated
2 6 Jones, Thomas - Indenture
1847 May 24
2
7 Jones, Thomas - Letters
1844-1846
2 8 Jones, Thomas - Miscellaneous
undated
2 9 Jones, Thomas - Photographs
1912, 1923, 1951, undated
2 10 Jones Family - Genealogy
undated
2 11 Jones Family - Memorabilia inventory
undated
2 12 Jones Family - Photograph album of East Hempstead, Long Island
1896, undated
2
13 Jones Family - Photographs
undated
2 14 Jones Family - Photographs of Amherst
undated
2 15 Jones Family - Photographs of Amity Street house
undated
2 16 Jones Family - Photographs of Enfield house
undated
3 book Jones Family - Bible
1766
2 17 Minot Family - Coat of Arms
undated
2 18 Minot Family - Houses
undated
4 artifact Scannell, Katherine - Cup presented by Mrs. Thomas Jones
circa 1880
4 book Fay School booklet
1924-1925
4 artifact Mourning pin
1840
4
artifact Mourning locket
undated