Fonds MG 1047 - Barbara Althea Jones Fonds

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Barbara Althea Jones Fonds

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CA MUA MG 1047

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  • 1960-1969 (Creation)
    Jones, Barbara Althea

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Physical description

70 cm of textual records.

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Name of creator

(died 1969)

Biographical history

Barbara Jones described herself as “a geneticist by vocation, a poet by avocation”. Born in Trinidad, she graduated with a B.Sc. in agricultural botany from Imperial College of the University of the West Indies, the first woman to graduate from that institution. She went to Cornell University on a Trinidad Government Scholarship, receiving her M.A. (1962) and Ph.D. (1965) in plant breeding and genetics, becoming the first woman in the West Indies to earn a doctorate. Jones came to Canada in 1966 to do postdoctoral research at Macdonald College. From 1966 to 1968, she taught genetics and biology at Marianopolis College, Sir George Williams University and McGill. In 1968 she was appointed Assistant Professor of genetics at McGill. She passed away a year later. At the time of her death, Jones had published two volumes of poetry and had several others in press or in the planning stages. She also published in literary journals and gave frequent talks and readings, in person, on radio and on television. Her poetry and other writings revolved around the theme of black experience; their goal was, in her own words, "towards a new black man, towards the full realization of man's consciousness and potential, and towards a new humanism."

Custodial history

The Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital gave the records of Mrs. Jones on September 20th, 1971. A year later, on November 6th, 1972, they also sent the following paper, Lactase Dehydrogenase Isoenzymes in Drosophila Melanogaster.

Scope and content

Fonds reflects Jones’ work as a scientist, but not her activities as a poet. Over two-thirds of the materials are student notes coupled with quizzes, laboratories and reports. These largely stem from her Cornell period, and cover graduate seminars in population genetics and biochemistry as well as her doctoral research in plant breeding and plant physiology. There are also notes for courses on statistics, genetics, agriculture and animal physiology from the University of the West Indies.

Materials related to Jones' research comprise laboratory notes and graphs, drafts of papers and correspondence with publishers, scientific supply companies, and other scientists in her field. Administrative papers related to research include applications to the National Research Council, budget statements, requisitions and invoices for equipment, records of laboratory assistants and summer students, and correspondence on travel arrangements.

Her teaching of genetics and zoology is illustrated by her class and seminar notes, laboratory outlines, reading lists, and examinations. The administrative side is represented by memoranda on course changes and course evaluations, correspondence on the rental of films and the purchase of equipment, files on freshman counseling and the supervision of graduate students and letters of recommendation for students. Supplementing this are minutes of faculty meetings and materials relating to the McGill Association of University Teachers.

Biographical material on Jones may be found in a file containing curricula vitae, obituaries, and correspondence concerning the Barbara Jones Fund.

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Alternative identifier(s)


1036; 1345

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