- Jones, Ida, 1874-1959
- Call number
- Sc MG 414
- Physical description
- .2 linear feet
- Preferred Citation
- Ida Jones collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
The Ida Jones Collection consists of letters Jones wrote to her friend and sponsor Roberta Townsend (1931-1958) concerning her artwork, personel matters and her health. There is also correspondence following her 1959 death between her daughter, Ida J. Williams, Roberta Townsend and representatives from various American art museums and civic organizations concerning the sale and exhibit of Jones' paintings.
Ida Ella Ruth Jones, primitive American folk painter, was the daughter of a former slave who began her artistic career in 1945 at age 72. Most of her early years were spent working on her parents' farm and caring for her younger brothers and sisters. In 1892 she married William Jones, minister of the Church of Christ in Ercildoun, Pennsylvania and the village blacksmith. Together they raised ten children, including Ida J. Williams, who also became her biographer.
Jones devoted her time to her family, church and community until she began painting in both oil and watercolor. A "primitive," with only three formal lessons in oil painting, she painted the things around her that she loved most: houses, fields, landscapes, flowers, fruit and animals, as well as biblical parables. Her work was discovered which led to several exhibitions and one-woman shows. She first exhibited at the Chester County (Pa.) Art Association's 19th Annual Spring Show in 1950. In 1951 her first one-woman show was held at Lincoln University. Two years later Mr. and Mrs. Walter P. Townsend, friends and patrons of the artist, sponsored another one-woman show in Pennsylvania. In 1952 Jones' paintings were exhibited with the work of 115 other artists at the Pyramid Club Art Show in Philadelphia. In addition, her work was shown at the Art Alliance in that city, where a New York collector took interest in her painting. In all, Jones completed over three hundred paintings in her fourteen years as an artist.
Source of acquisitionGift, Townsend, Roberta, 1991
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801