Remembering Lois Swan Jones

On August 7, 2006, our profession lost Lois Swan Jones, a leading light in the world of art information. She was widely known for her work in art research methodology, having authored many essential works in that area, including three editions of Art Information: Research Methods and Resources (Kendall/Hunt, 1978, 1984, 1990). Her last book, Art Information and the Internet: How to Find It, How to Use It (Oryx Press, 1999), was a maverick work providing a road map to assist researchers navigating the morass of art information published on the Internet. In addition, she created an encyclopedic visual resource library made up of photographs that she and her family took around the world. This library of images supported her teaching efforts at the University of North Texas for some twenty years. It also helped illustrate the video series, Development of Christian Symbolism, that she produced with her son, Preston.

Jones received many accolades over the years, including the honor of being listed in Who's Who in American Art since 1978. In 1997, the Society recognized her with its Distinguished Service Award. And in recognition of her many contributions, the Chapter established the Lois Swan Jones Travel Award in 1993 to help defray Chapter members' expenses related to attending the ARLIS/NA annual conference. To date, the member-sustained fund has assisted seventeen Chapter members.

Lois touched so many in the Chapter and Society: always inspirational, positive, and enthusiastic. She was a mentor and friend to many. We fondly remember her stalwart presence in both our professional and personal lives.

Lois Swan Jones' family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Art Libraries Society/North America (ARLIS/NA), the Art Libraries Society/Texas-Mexico (ARLIS/TXMX), or a library of your choice.

Book Purchase at UNT Library in Memory of Jones

The UNT Libraries will be collecting funds to purchase a fitting item to be housed in the Rare Book & Texana Collections in the memory of an important and respected member of the UNT and Libraries' community. It has been suggested that, considering her love of medieval art and illuminated manuscripts, a specimen or two of original medieval manuscript leaves would be an appropriate purchase.

A life-long supporter of education, libraries, and research, Dr. Jones taught at UNT for over 20 years.

Dr. Jones was always a supporter of the UNT Libraries. She helped to develop the collections in the areas of Art and Art History, served on many committees, and most recently, helped the University Archives become the repository for the papers of Judge Sarah T. Hughes, her longtime friend.

Donations in memory of Dr. Jones can be sent to:

Edward Hoyenski
Rare Book Room
UNT Libraries
PO Box 305190
Denton, TX, 76203

Contributions to the LSJ Award

The chapter's Lois Swan Jones Award is made possible through monetary contributions from chapter members and other supporters. Contributions in the form of checks made payable to the "ARLIS/TXMX LSJ Award" may be sent to the current treasurer listed on the officers page.

Please share your memories of Lois using the comment form located at the bottom of the page. Be sure to identify yourself.

Samuel Duncan
Elizabeth Schaub


Lois Jones

I just recently found out that Dr. Jones passed away. I thought I'd google her, and look what I found!

I'd like to offer a tribute from the point of view of one of her art history students. The following has been published in the Fall '06 issue of the North Texas alumni magazine in an article about influential faculty members. The editors tell me that she knew about my contribution to the article before she died.

* * * * * * * * *

When I was an inexperienced undergraduate BFA student in the Art Department in the early 1980s, art history professor Lois Swan Jones had an enormous impact on me. I was concentrating in art history and planning to go to graduate school and be a professor. Then as now, Dr. Jones was my model. Her energy and enthusiasm really made me want to live up to her stringent academic standards. Her knowledge of art historical research methods was unsurpassed; I learned things from her that I never could have learned later in graduate school, and that gave me a tremendous competitive advantage. And what can I say about her lectures? Her firsthand knowledge of monuments, her humorous, personalized delivery, and her genuine love for the material shone at every turn.

She must have been pretty successful, because I went on to complete my Ph.D. in art history in 1992 at the University of Texas at Austin and am now associate professor of art history at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. A day hardly goes by that I don't use some bit of information that I learned from her, or lecture using my own slide collection (following her example).

A few years ago I saw Dr. Jones at a professional conference and had the opportunity to thank her personally for teaching me the "tools of the trade" and providing such a good model for me. I have to say, it was a bit of an emotional experience!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Joe Thomas
Department of Art
Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Message from Tom Jacoby and Eileen Markson: Sharing our thoughts

During this past year, we were hoping to interview Lois Swan Jones for the series of profiles of long-time ARLIS/NA members that we have been doing in Art Documentation. We did not know that she was so ill, but when we did not hear from her in response to our invitation to be interviewed, Tom called her very good friend Caroline Backlund. What we found out, of course, was that Lois was not able to participate in a vocal interview due to her health problems. However, Caroline suggested what seemed a possible solution, which was that we try to interview Lois via e-mail by submitting to her a series of topics, in response to which we hoped she might write her thoughts and share the experiences of her teaching years, her activity in ARLIS/NA, and the publication of her essential reference guides. Caroline reported back that Lois was enthusiastic about this idea. Tom wrote to her several times, but sadly, she was unable to respond, and so we concluded that the interview would not be possible.

We cannot tell you how sorry we are that we did not make an earlier effort to do this hoped-for interview with Lois while she enjoyed better health. She was so influential in our professional lives, so important to ARLIS/NA, and such a friend to many of us. Our deepest regret is that her story, in her own voice, will not be in the pages of Art Documentation to be shared with ARLIS/NA members who never had the opportunity to meet and work alongside Lois. She was a mover and shaker in ARLIS/NA’s development, and a wonderful example to all of us of what it means to be an art librarian, bibliographer, and instuctor.

Thomas Jacoby:
Eileen Markson:

Dr. Jones turned me on to Art History

A meeting with my counselor just after the Fall 1983 semester began revealed that I needed to take an art class to satisfy a requirement for my English major. Generally, for a non-art major, the choice would be Art Appreciation. As the class for non-majors had already filled, I was left with joining the one taught to art majors. Lois Jones and Bill McCarter taught us, tag team. I was so thrilled with this subject matter that I decided to also major in Art History (to my parents' dismay). It was a pure pleasure to learn from Dr. Jones. I have enjoyed many of the world's great museums with the knowledge that she sparked (and I even met my future wife in the Hermitage Museum, where she was a curator)!

Bill Planey, B.A. English, B.F.A. Art History, 1986

Dr. Lois Swan Jones

I've never known anyone like Dr. Lois Swan Jones.

Well, what can one say. She was great, smart, savvy, friendly, an accomplished educator and scholar, and I loved her laugh. Even though she had her own slide collection, she still used quite a few in the university's collection and I loved helping her find a particular image just before class started. She always sought the best solution.

Her attention to research is still something felt here. She was instrumental in Sarah T. Hughes leaving her papers to our archives. Dr. Jones also purchased indices and research tools with an eye on the whole metroplex so that scholars would have the widest array possible within driving distance. She always thought of the bigger picture.

I enjoyed going to lunch with her and discussing the new thing called the internet. She was out to conquer it before most people had an inkling of its potential.

Ann Graham, Visual Resources Curator
University of North Texas

remembering Lois....

I was lucky enough to be part of the Texas chapter for 20 years, which meant that Lois was a part of your life as an art librarian. We got to be co-chairs of the first ARLIS/NA Texas conference in 1988, and determined to make Dallas/Fort Worth spite of the blizzard that many of you remember....she also used the Carter library in many of her publication projects, and I will never forget the time she and Caroline Backlund blew in and worked the staff over in 2-3 hours uncovering every specialized reference source we had....we slumped in our chairs after they left, with books lying open all over the place.
Her generosity and love of the profession made her the very definition of the Distinguished Service Award, which she received in San Antonio at the 1997 annual conference.
I also remember the devotion she gave to her family, including her parents, both of whom lived to old age. In addition she was the caregiver for her distinguished neighbor Judge Sarah Hughes, who swore in LBJ that fateful day in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
I know she's enjoying a Manhattan right now, just as she did at all the ARLIS conferences with her good friends....we will miss her, but it's good to know what a great impact she has had on so many of us. That's the real tribute...
Milan R. Hughston, Museum of Modern Art

A star among us

Even if you did not know Lois personally, we all knew Lois. She was a trailblazer in our field. Not a semester has gone by in my eleven years as a professional art librarian that I have not referred a graduate student to her seminal work, Art Information: Resarch Methods and Resources. Her Art Information and the Internet illustrated her passion for the field and her enthusiasm for technology. She will be sorely missed. I am so glad to have known her.

Laura Schwartz
Fine Arts Library, UT Austin

A Magnolia by Any Other Name

I identified with Lois Swan Jones immediately . . . redheads do that! She always greeted me warmly when we met at ARLIS conferences. That kind, friendly southern accent made you feel immediately welcome. Lois came to Washington, DC to meet with me when I was at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library. She was working on her book "Art Information and the Internet" and wanted to touch base with me. I had the feeling that she already knew twice as much as I did about the subject, but she made me feel that I had somehow provided new insights. That's the way she was. A compliment from Lois meant the world. I remember her with great admiration.

Pat Lynagh
Hillwood Museum & Gardens Library

Our friend, Lois

Lois was unique as an early member of ARLIS/NA. She always smiled and had those sparkling eyes. Her hospitality was so warm, so embracing, that I always wanted to return to Texas to make new members for the chapter and to see another segment of Texas hospitality and history. She was a rare member of ARLIS/NA, because she was an educator, not a librarian. But she offered us so much from a different point of view, from a vast knowledge of traveling the world, and from her erudite scholarship. You could always find Lois and Caroline Backlund in the suite talking shop and talking life with all the members gathered after a long day of annual conference sessions, still going strong, still smiling, and still with those wonderful sparkling eyes. We will all miss her.

Judith A. Hoffberg
Founding member of ARLIS/NA


Several years ago, I came into close contact with Lois when she took Milan Hughston and me to lunch in Fort Worth. We had been helping her with work she was doing related to Art Information and the Internet: How to Find It, How to Use It. We were brainstorming about a title, and I think I set her down the path that lead her to the final title. I just remember what a generous, kind, and interested person she was. And how effervescent! I think most of her energy seemed to emanate from her red hair. She was so encouraging to me in terms of developing my career in art librarianship. I am indebted, Lois. Thanks.

Sam Duncan
Technical Services Librarian
Amon Carter Museum

One of the Best

I entered library schol determined to be an art librarian and met Lois shortly after joining ARLIS in 1982. She was the perfect role model, and her Texas charm, friendliness, professionalism, and CARING influenced a number of us who entered the profession at this time.

I talked to her intermittantly over the past five years as we both wrestled with health problems. She will be sorely missed and today the world is just a little more emptier and gray.

Paula Baxter

Lois Swan Jones

I can't believe its been thirty years since I was employed by the University of Texas, Austin. At the time I was new to Texas and joined the ARLIS Texas chapter and met Lois. I will never forget her kindness and willingness to talk to a non-Texan. We shared a love of art images and she was always an inspiration to me when I became a slide librarian. What I loved about her was her interest in anything new in visual librarianship. Her conference led workshops and session were always well attended and I always came away learning something new. I am glad I had the opportunity to know Lois and her scholarship.

Lindy Narver

I joined ARLIS after Lois

I joined ARLIS after Lois had retired, so I never got to meet her. I am proud to help serve in her honour on the Travel Awards Committee. Her gift has really been a blessing for many in the chapter. She will never be forgotten.
Merriann Bidgood