NYSHA Research Library Opens Exhibit Honoring the Legacy of Louis C. Jones
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COOPERSTOWN, NY, MAY 13, 2008—On view in the New York State Historical Association’s Research Library’s exhibit room is a centennial exhibition honoring Louis C. Jones. Organized by students from the Cooperstown Graduate Program—John Hart, Ashley Hopkins, Brian Richards, Kimberly Springle, and Lori White, the exhibit Three Eyes on the Past: The Legacy of Dr. Louis C. Jones (1908-1990) commemorates Jones’s work as historian, author, folklorist, director of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum, and a founder of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. The exhibit may be viewed during library hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m.
The exhibition features folk art, historical artifacts, and ephemera culled from the collections of the Research Library, the New York State Historical Association, the Fenimore Art Museum, The Farmers’ Museum and the Cooperstown Graduate Program.
Some of the objects on view include a mallet from the 20th century, which belonged to the infamous murderess Eva Coo who allegedly used the device to kill her handyman to collect his life insurance; The American Songbook by poet Carl Sandburg, and the books Murder at Cherry Hill and Things That Go Bump in the Night, both authored by Louis C. Jones.
Along with the New York State Historical Association’s Chairman and founder Stephen C. Clark, Sr., Louis Jones selected many of the museum’s most cherished pieces and acquired much of the Fenimore Art Museum’s renowned collection of folk art. On exhibit are a barley fork, an angel weathervane, and a peacock dating from the 19th century.
Also on view are Jones’s papers, which include the illustrations from his publication Things That Go Bump in the Night; his notebook from his early days at the New York State Historical Association; brochures from The Farmers’ Museum’s Seminars on American Culture; and an 1950 issue of Art in America, which was devoted to the Fenimore Art Museum’s growing folk art collection.
Louis C. Jones was renowned for several initiatives as director of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, from 1947 until 1972. Among his major accomplishments were the establishment of the Seminars on American Culture, the Cooperstown Graduate Program, the folk art collection at the Fenimore Art Museum and the Thompson-Jones folklore archives, the New York Folklore Society, and the expansion of The Farmers’ Museum as well as educational programming, publication programs and outreach to local historical societies. He was also a popular writer and accomplished editor on folklore, art and history, including Cooperstown (1949), Things that Go Bump in the Night (1959), Growing Up in Cooper Country (1965), Three Eyes on the Past (1982), and Murder at Cherry Hill (1982). Other notable achievements include being an original member of the New York State Council on the Arts in 1960 (serving on the council until 1972) and chairman of the New York State Historic Trust. Jones received the Award of Distinction given by the Association of State and Local History in 1968, and honorary degrees from Hamilton College and the State University of New York in 1987.
Louis C. Jones was born June 28, 1908 in Albany, New York, and died November 25, 1990 after suffering a stroke in Haverford, Penn. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1930 and received his MA in English from Columbia University in 1931 and his PhD in 1942. Jones also taught English at the University level and held teaching positions at several universities including Long Island University, Syracuse University, and the State College for Teachers in Albany (State University of New York at Albany).
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