Collection 009 - Kelsey Jones Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Kelsey Jones Collection

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on name of the creator of the collection

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Dates of creation area


  • 1943-1982 (Creation)
    Jones, Kelsey, 1922-2004

Physical description area

Physical description

Approximately .75 m of textual records.
Approximately 182 items.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

1922 17 June Born: Herbert Kelsey Jones in South Norwalk, Norwalk, Connecticut.
1939 Moved to New Brunswick to study with Harold Hamer at the Mount Allison Conservatory.
Approximately 1942 Lived in Boston for the duration of the Second World War, where Jones was employed in an optics factory at Harvard University.
1942 Married pianist Rosabelle Smith.
1945 Received a Bachelor in Music from Mount Allison University, NB.
1947 Received a Bachelor in Music from the University of Toronto, ON under the tutelage of Sir Ernest MacMillan.
1948-1949 Taught theory and conducted the student orchestra at Mount Allison University.
1949-1950 Studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, France.
1950’s Performed and toured with wife, Rosabelle Jones, as duo pianists.
1950 Founded Saint John Symphony Orchestra in St John’s
1950-1954 Conducted Saint John Symphony Orchestra.
1951 Received a Diploma in Music from the University of Toronto, ON.
1954 Moved to Montreal, QC to teach counterpoint as a part-time instructor at McGill University.
1954-1984 Taught history, harpsichord, piano, theory and counterpoint (modal, tonal, fugue, canon, etc).
1957 Co-founded the Baroque Trio of Montreal, which recorded his Sonata da Camera and Sonata da Chiesa.
1963 Commissioned by the Tudor Singers to compose Prophecy of Micah.
1965 Commissioned by Canadian Broadcasting Company to write a chamber opera for their contribution to the Canadian Centennial Celebration.
1967 5 September Jones’ comic chamber opera Sam Slick, libretto by Rosabelle Jones, premiered in Halifax for a CBC broadcast performance.
1971 Moved to Cook’s Lines, a municipal of Hinchinbrooke (south of Huntingdon, QC) on the Canadian/US border.
1974 Wife Rosabelle suffers tragic car accident that renders her a paraplegic.
1984 Retired and was named Professor Emeritus, McGill University.
1984-2002 Set up a winter home in Florida.
2004 10 October Died in Montréal, Québec.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Kelsey Jones Collection consists largely of drafts, sketches and texts for nearly all of his major compositional works. It also contains selected correspondence, programs and some personal papers that outline his life and career in music, composition, and teaching. These documents were organized by Kelsey Jones himself, into subject groupings such as: “commissions,” “publishers,” “letters from my teachers,” “letters from interesting people,” etc.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift from Kelsey Jones.


The Kelsey Jones Collection is organized into the following 2 series:
• Biographical Information
• Composition

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script note

Collection material in English and French.

Location of originals

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The Kelsey Jones Collection is open to research. Researchers are advised to contact the Marvin Duchow Library prior to visiting. Certain restrictions to use or copying of materials may apply.

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

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No further accruals are expected at this time.


The status of copyright on the materials of the Kelsey Jones Collection is governed by the Copyright Law of Canada.

Preferred citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: container number, Kelsey Jones Collection, Marvin Duchow Library, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montréal, Québec.

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Prepared in 2012 by Michaela Dickey and edited by Cynthia A. Leive. Revision July 2012; updated and entered into AtoM by Geneviève Beaudry, May 2019.

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