Jesse H. Jones Family and Personal Papers Edit


MS 252
Finding Aid Author
Lee Pecht
Finding Aid Date
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description
Finding Aid Note
Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.


  • 1841-2000 (Creation)


  • 25 Linear Feet (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Biographical / Historical

    Jesse Holman Jones, son of William Hasque Jones and Laura Holman Jones, was born in Robertson County, TN, April 5, 1874. The family soon moved to Dallas, TX, where William Jones managed his brother's lumberyard in Terrell. Two years later the family moved to a farm on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, where after completing ninth grade, Jesse was put in charge of one of his father's tobacco factories. In 1891 Jesse entered Hill's Business College in Dallas and then in 1895 started work at his uncle's firm, the M.T. Jones Lumber Co. in Hillsboro, TX. He soon became manager of the Dallas lumberyard, and upon his uncle's death in 1898 became general manager of the Houston yard. He established his own company, the South Texas Lumber Company and expanded into real estate, banking, and commercial buildings and as the largest developer in the area was responsible for most of Houston's prewar construction of over 100 buildings in Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, New York City. Between 1908 and 1912 he bought part of Houston Chronicle, became chairman of the Texas Trust Company, president of National Bank of Commerce, an original stockholder in Humble Oil and Refining Company, and as chairman of the Houston harbor board, raised money for the Houston Ship Channel.

    During World War I President Woodrow Wilson named him director general of military relief for the American Red Cross, he became sole owner of the Houston Chronicle in 1926, and in 1928 as director of finance for the Democratic National Convention, was instrumental in bringing the convention to Houston. President Herbert Hoover named him to the Reconstruction Finance Coporation, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him head of the RFC (1933-39) and Federal Loan Administrator (1939), and at the same time became Secretary of Commerce. Jones broke his ties with the Democratic party and returned to Houston in 1945 to concentrate on business ventures and philanthropy. Jones died on June 1, 1956.

  • Scope and Contents

    The Jesse H. Jones Family and Personal Papers, consisting of 92 boxes, detail the lives of individual Jones family members and are highlighted by the Jesse H. Jones personal papers consisting of correspondence, photographs, financial, legal, speeches and business records, as well as the political, civic-related and public service records for which Jones is well known. Of interest is Jones' World War II service as Secretary of Commerce and head of the Reconstruction Fianance Corporation, and his involvement with the building of the Houston Ship Channel and the 1928 Democratic National Convention held in Houston. An extensive collection of individual, group, event photographs, and photographs and drawings detailing many of the extant buildings in downtown Houston is included.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    This material is open for research.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Permission to publish from this material must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was donated by Houston Endowment, Inc. in October 2014.

  • Preferred Citation

    Jesse H. Jones Family & Personal Papers, MS 252, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

  • Related Materials

    See also Jesse H. Jones Corporate and Property Records, and M.T. Jones Lumber Co. Records & Business Ledgers; Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, and Library of Congress.

  • Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in two series, Series I: Family, with sub-series of individual family members, and Series II: Personal (Jesse H. Jones) with sub-series of Life Cycle, Residences, Correspondence, Commemorations, Honors, Personal property, Insurance, Social memberships, Business, Editorials, Political, Public Service, Public Statements, Speeches, Interviews, Civic-related, Photographs, and Realia.

  • Language of Materials

    Materials are in English.