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Jones Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1009

Scope and Contents

The collection centers on the papers of Eli (1807­-1890) and Sybil (1808­-1873) Jones, Quaker ministers and missionaries from Maine. They include: personal and family correspondence, including letters to and from Eli Jones about work in Syria (modern Lebanon) and Palestine; letters from Richard Mott Jones, headmaster of William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and letters about him and the school to his wife, Virginia Costello Jones, 1915­-1918; letters to Susan Tabor Jones, notably from her mother, Sybil Jones, during Sybil's travels in the ministry, ca. 1851-1869, and l12 letters from her father, Eli Jones, about travels and Friends' work in Syria (modern Lebanon) and Palestine, ca. 1852-­1884. The papers also include traveling minutes, journals and diaries, accounts of travels abroad, albums, memorials, poetry, legal and business papers, photographs and sketches, maps of Friends Meetings and missions.

In a 1967 addition to the papers, there are also letters, primarily personal, to Charles and Ellen Jones from family friends while they were in charge of the Eli and Sybil Jones Mission at Ramallah, Jerusalem and Palestine.

In a 1979 addition to the papers, there are 35 letters written between 1852 and 1864 by James Parnell Jones (1835­-1864), the son of Eli and Sybil Jones. James Parnell Jones attended Haverford College, served as principal at the Valley School in Adrian, Michigan and then, as a number of other Quakers did who were committed to the peace principle as well as to ending slavery, Jones joined the Union army of the Civil War. Jones' letters address these topics.

Following is a description of the 1980 addition to the Jones Papers, ca. 1839­-1917... Contents: Primarily letters by Eli, Sybil and Richard Mott Jones, also includes several journals, diaries, photographs, printed items, scrapbook, and other papers chiefly of Eli, Sybil and Richard Mott Jones. Letters and journals of Eli and Sybil Jones discuss their travel and work in the ministry, including time spent in: -Liberia (1851) -England, Ireland, France, Norway, Germany (1852-­1855) -Washington, D.C. (1864-­1865) -England, Ireland, France, Beirut, Jaffa, Jerusalem (1866-­1870) Letters of Eli and Sybil Jones are primarily addressed to their sons, James Parnell Jones and after his death in 1864, to Richard Mott Jones. Letters of Richard Mott Jones are chiefly from the years he was a student at Haverford College (1863-­1867), a tutor in Besborough, Ireland (1867­-1869) and while he was traveling in Europe (1869­-1870). Also included are some letters while a student and later as Principal of Oak Grove Seminary, Vassalboro, Me. Other papers include: diaries (28 vols., 1890-­1917), notebooks while at Haverford College, minute book of Theta Psi Fraternity (China Academy), scrapbook of newspaper clippings. Letters, 1848­-1864, of James Parnell Jones include some written while a soldier in the Civil War. Also a diary, 1851. Other material in this addition to the Jones family papers includes miscellaneous letters chiefly addressed to Eli, Sybil and Richard Mott Jones from various persons and photographs of Eli and Sybil Jones and family.


  • Creation: 1821-1918


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical/Historical note

Eli Jones (1807-1890) was born in China, Maine, the son of Abel and Susannah Jepson Jones. He m. Sybil Jones in 1833. He was acknowledged a minister and began traveling in the ministry with Sybil to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Together they also visited most of the Yearly Meetings in the United States; in Africa they visited Liberia; in Europe, they journeyed to England, Ireland, France, Norway, Germany and Switzerland and Greece. Finally, they went to do religious work in the Middle East. Jones was active in most New England Yearly Meeting committees, working for the causes of temperance, education and peace. He served in the legislature in Augusta, Maine, in 1854, and was responsible for re-opening Oak Grove Seminary in 1856, serving as principal that year.

Sybil Jones (1808-1873) was born in Brunswick, Me., the daughter of Ephraim and Susannah Dudley Jones. She taught in a Friends School in 1824-25, then in public schools for 8 years. Jones was acknowledged a Quaker minister, traveling with her husband in the ministry. In 1850, she felt moved to minister in Africa; she and her husband were guests of President Roberts in Liberia. During the Civil War, she tended the wounded in Washington and Philadelphia. She comforted Mary Todd Lincoln after the President's assassination and gave spiritual advice to President Johnson. In 1867, Sybil and Eli Jones began their last missionary journey to Europe, Athens, Syria, Egypt England and Palestine, establishing missions on Mt. Lebanon and Ramallah, Palestine. Sybil Jones was a member of China (Me.) Monthly Meeting.

James Parnell Jones (1835-1864) was born in Dirigo, Me., the son of Eli and Sybil Jones. He was a cousin of Rufus M. Jones and older brother of Richard Mott Jones. He m. Rebecca Runnels in 1857. He attended Haverford College from 1851-1852 (he received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan). He became a teacher and principal of Valley School in Michigan. Still a Quaker, he determined that the outrage of slavery was a stronger principle than his pacifism and became an officer in the Union army, achieving the rank of major. He was disowned by his Meeting in China, Me. He died in battle at Crystal Springs, Va.

Biographical information from Dictionary of Quaker Biography, internal evidence and an article by Peter Curtis, "A Quaker and the Civil War." Quaker History, vol. 67, 1978, no. 1, p. 35..


6.5 linear ft. (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



The papers of Eli and Sybil Jones, 19th century Quaker missionaries, most notably to the Middle East where they established missions on Mt. Lebanon and in Ramallah, Palestine; the correspondence of Charles and Ellen Jones, also 19th century Quaker missionaries in Ramallah; and the letters of Quaker James Parnell Jones, son of Eli and Sybil Jones, who fought in the Civil War.


Letters are arranged alphabetically by author and chronologically within a specific author.

Related Materials

Some collections related to the Jones family... • MC 1130 Rufus M. Jones papers • MC.975.01.037 Alice Jones diary, 1919-1946 • MC.950.106 Eli Jones papers, 1867-1882 • MC.1009A Eli and Sybil Jones family papers • MC.975.07.053 "Sermons by Eli and Sybil Jones"

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown.

Jones Family Papers, 1821-1918
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Revision Statements

  • March 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly

Find It at the Library

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