Finding Aid: Dr. David E. Jones Musical Collection

A guide to an archival collection of the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

David E. Jones (1867-1948) was a Welsh-born music teacher and journalist who spent more than half a century documenting the musical and cultural life of Scranton and its region. He was particularly interested in Welsh-American heritage (Welsh immigration being central to Pennsylvania's then-vast coal mining industry), but his collection also documents many other aspects of life in northeastern Pennsylvania, including religious culture, film and radio entertainment, and manifestations of wartime patriotism.

To inquire about conducting research in this collection, please contact LHS executive director Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus at lackawannahistory@gmail.com. For more information about this collection's contents, please use the Contact link above to email Jonathan Wilson.

Description

Title:  Dr. David E. Jones Musical Collection

Repository: Lackawanna Historical Society

Accession no.: 1948.04.01

Dates: 1867-1948; bulk 1901-1947

Extent: 59 volumes and 16 boxes

Aid prepared by Jonathan W. Wilson, 2015 (incorporating earlier work by Carolyn Barber and Nancy McDonald)


Biographical Sketch

Dr. David Evan Jones (Nov. 25, 1867-Jan. 15, 1948) was born in Cwmdare, Wales, to a mine foreman (also named David Evan Jones) and to Tabitha Smith Jones. He grew up in Aberdare, where he taught music until age 19. After his father’s death, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and five sisters and settled in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. There he married Caroline Neiger, and they had two daughters, Verna and Rea.

In the Lackawanna Valley, Jones enrolled in Wood’s Business College and worked as a bookkeeper in the store of the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company. Later, he became a private secretary of Joseph A. Scranton, the publisher of the Scranton Republican. He served as deputy county treasurer under Joseph Scranton from 1901 to 1905.

Jones became a community leader as a musician and journalist. He worked as a music critic (from around 1892 until his death) for the Republican, the Scranton Tribune, and the Scrantonian. He studied at the Institute of Musical Arts in New York under Frank Damrosch and at New York University under Thomas Tapper, and he received the degree of doctor of music from New York University in 1908. He worked as supervisor of music for the Taylor Public Schools from 1912 to 1941, and he was the vocal teacher of the film star Allan Jones, who grew up in the Scranton area.

Jones helped organize The Druid, a local Welsh-language newspaper, and organized the Taylor Symphony Orchestra in 1907. He also served on the board of directors of the Scranton Symphony Orchestra, and he became heavily involved in the organizing of eisteddofau (singular eisteddfod), or Welsh cultural festivals, which feature prominently in this collection. In 1930, he won first prize in an essay competition at the National Eisteddfod in Jackson, Ohio, where he presented an essay on “The Effect of Mechanical Reproduction on the Art of Music.” He was also a chief organizer of the National Eisteddfod held in Scranton in 1936, and he wrote the program notes for a Welsh concert at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1937. 

Jones wrote a book-length manuscript history of Welsh music, “The Story of the Eisteddfod,” intending it as “a complete history of the Eisteddfod, oldest of Welsh institutions, both in Wales and America.” He sent it to Wales for review by scholars at Cardiff University. They recommended against the book’s publication, and the manuscript’s current location is unknown. He also compiled a book of humorous stories about musicians, “Laugh, Minstrel, Laugh”; the typescript is included in this collection.

After his retirement as music superintendent of the Taylor Public Schools and the death of his wife, Caroline Neiger Jones, in 1941, Jones moved from Taylor to Pottsville, in Schuylkill County, to live with his surviving daughter and son-in-law, Rea and John J. Parry. (His younger daughter Verna had died of diptheria at age 16 in 1910.) In Schuylkill County, he organized a Cambrian Society and served as its founding president.

On March 8, 1946, Jones was severely injured in an automobile accident in Panther Valley, but he survived. Early in the morning on January 15, 1948, at the age of 80, he suffered a fatal heart attack in bed. His funeral service was held at Ebenezer Welsh Presbyterian Church in Scranton, and he was buried in Dunmore Cemetery. According to a newspaper report, upon hearing of his death, the chairman of New York University’s music department, Philip James, said, “Dr. Jones was unique in his line. He could have come to New York and been eminently successful. But no, he was too loyal to his home town.”

By the time of his death, Jones reportedly had amassed a private library of approximately 200 bound volumes of musical journals, 100 opera and 100 oratorio scores, 150 hymnals, and 1,000 books on music, in addition to his collection of newspaper articles and notes. This finding aid describes the portion of his library that was donated to the Lackawanna Historical Society.

Further biographical information and photographs are available in Scrantonian articles dated June 5, 1938; June 11, 1944; and Nov. 25, 1945 (in vols. 46, 49, and 50 of this collection); an obituary in the Scranton Tribune (Jan. 16, 1948, p. 1); and the biographical sketch “Let There Be Music,” Lackawanna Historical Bulletin 1, no. 5 (May-June 1967), pp. 1-2. Additional information is scattered throughout this collection.


Scope and Contents

The main collection comprises 59 binders of notes and newspaper clippings and 16 boxes of loose manuscript and print materials (reportedly numbering more than 15,000 items in all), identifying musicians and exhaustively documenting musical performances and other cultural events in the region of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The bulk covers years from 1901 to 1947. The collection places special emphasis on matters related to Welsh and Welsh-American heritage. 


Inventory

I. Card Catalog

File of index cards on individual people mentioned elsewhere in the collection, alphabetized by surname. Identifies the dates and sources of relevant newspaper articles in the body of the collection.

II. Biographical Notices

Typewritten descriptions of musicians and composers, primarily from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and from Wales. Compiled by D. E. Jones, who collected nearly 10,000 entries by the time of his death. Most of these individuals lived in the 19th and 20th centuries, but some date to earlier periods of Welsh history. Alphabetized by surname. Entries range in length from one line to two pages; some include lists of performances.

Volumes:

  • 1. Abraham, Thomas to Davies, Sylvanus
  • 2. Davies, T. to Fychan, Simwnt
  • 3. Gabriel, J. T. to Jones, Griffith
  • 4. Jones, Griffith to Nuttall, William
  • 5. Ogwen, Alun to Ryan, Catherine
  • 6. Sage, Samuel to Zeciel, Billy

III. Scrapbooks

Scrapbooks of typewritten notes and of clippings from area newspapers, mostly in the city of Scranton. Most relate to news of local musicians and musical events, including choral programs, concert tours, church festivals, minstrel shows, folk festivals, and theatrical and film performances. Collection also includes editorials (many written by D. E. Jones) and advertisements.

Include some news articles and editorials of a non-musical nature, particularly during wartime. Organized chronologically, except vols. 7-15 constitute a parallel set to vols. 16-59, and some entries are out of order. Early volumes mix typewritten notes and newspaper clippings, but later volumes include only newspaper clippings.

Volumes:

  • 7. Dec. 1867 to Dec. 1900
  • 8. Jan. 1901 to Dec. 1904
  • 9. Jan. 1905 to Dec. 1906
  • 10. Jan. 1907 to Dec. 1913
  • 11. Jan. 1914 to Dec. 1921
  • 12. Jan. 2, 1922 to Apr. 13, 1932
  • 13. Apr. 13, 1922 to Dec. 31, 1943
  • 14. Editorials: 1938-1944
  • 15. Editorials: Jun. 26, 1944 to Dec. 31, 1947
  • 16. Jan. 1877 to Dec. 1904
  • 17. Jan. 1885 to Dec. 1890
  • 18. Jan. 1891 to Dec. 1894
  • 19. Jan. 1895 to Oct. 1897 and May 1, 1898 to Jun. 9, 1898
  • 20. Jun. 11, 1898 to Oct. 31, 1900
  • 21. Jan. 2, 1903 to Apr. 30, 1904
  • 22. Jan. 21, 1905 to Dec. 31, 1910 and Jan. 7, 1922 to Nov. 11, 1922
  • 23. Feb. 3, 1911 to Dec. 30, 1916
  • 24. Nov. 12, 1922 to May 30, 1924
  • 25. May 29, 1924 to Dec. 23, 1925
  • 26. Nov. 24, 1925 to Nov. 27, 1926
  • 27. Nov. 27, 1926 to Oct. 13, 1927
  • 28. Oct. 14, 1927 to Jun. 12, 1928
  • 29. Jun. 13, 1928 to Jan. 31, 1929
  • 30. Feb. 1, 1929 to Jul. 3, 1929
  • 31. Jul. 5, 1929 to Mar. 3, 1930
  • 32. Mar. 13, 1930 to Nov. 18, 1930
  • 33. Oct. 30, 1930 to May 5, 1931
  • 34. May 5, 1931 to Jan. 29, 1932
  • 35. Jan. 29, 1932 to Aug. 6, 1932
  • 36. Aug. 8, 1932 to Mar. 11, 1933
  • 37. Mar. 11, 1933 to Sep. 7, 1933
  • 38. Sep. 5, 1933 to Apr. 9, 1934
  • 39. Apr. 10, 1934 to Dec. 25, 1934
  • 40. Dec. 25, 1934 to Aug. 31, 1935
  • 41. Sep. 1, 1935 to Mar. 31, 1936
  • 42. Apr. 1, 1936 to Sep. 14, 1936
  • 43. Sep. 15, 1936 to Mar. 29, 1937
  • 44. Mar. 29, 1937 to Nov. 23, 1937
  • 45. Nov. 24, 1937 to Apr. 3, 1938
  • 46. Apr. 3, 1938 to Nov. 26, 1938
  • 47. Nov. 27, 1938 to May 19, 1939
  • 48. May 20, 1939 to Nov. 25, 1939
  • 49. Nov. 26, 1939 to May 21, 1940
  • 50. May 21, 1940 to Feb. 12, 1941
  • 51. Feb. 12, 1941 to Sep. 25, 1941
  • 52. Sep. 25, 1941 to July 13, 1942
  • 53. July 14, 1942 to July 31, 1943
  • 54. Aug. 1, 1943 to May 8, 1944
  • 55. May 9, 1944 to Mar. 4, 1945
  • 56. Mar. 5, 1945 to Feb. 28, 1946
  • 57. Feb. 28, 1946 to Dec. 19, 1946
  • 58. Dec. 21, 1946 to Aug. 17, 1947
  • 59. Aug. 21, 1947 to Jan. 18, 1948

IV. Boxes

Boxes of loose materials from the files of D. E. Jones, including correspondence, concert programs, church bulletins, photographs, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous print materials. Many apparently relate to Jones’s work as a newspaper contributor or to musical events he attended in person. Arrangement note: It is unclear when this portion of the collection acquired its present order, or whether the present order corresponds to an original arrangement in Jones's files. 

Box 1: Scranton Programs and Articles

Files:

  • 1. Churches
  • 2. Concert Programs
  • 3. Surrounding Communities
  • 4. Scranton Philharmonic Orchestra
  • 5. Scranton Conservatory of Music
  • 6. Scranton Symphony Orchestra
  • 7. Century Club
  • 8. Central High School
  • 9. Community Opera Society
  • 10. Scranton Liederkranz
  • 11. Keystone Concert Course
  • 12. Academy of Music [missing]
  • 13. Scranton Civic Opera
  • 14. Community Concert Association
  • 15. Welsh Programs

Box 2: D. E. Jones's Travels

Files:

  • 1. Pa.: Outside Northeast
  • 2. New Jersey
  • 3. Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
  • 4. Pottsville, Pa.
  • 5. Bethlehem, Pa.
  • 6. Philadelphia
  • 7. Utica, N.Y.
  • 8. New York
  • 9. San Carlo Opera Company
  • 10. Boston and Other New England
  • 11. Outside East Coast

Box 3: Outside East Coast

Files:

  • 1. Local Musicians and Music
  • 2. Famous Musicians
  • 3. Famous Male Performers
  • 4. Famous Female Performers
  • 5. Allan Jones
  • 6. Jeanne Madden
  • 7. Carrie Nation
  • 8. Thomas L. Thomas
  • 9. Mde. Clara Novello Davis
  • 10. Paderewski
  • 11. Josef Hofmann
  • 12. Conductors

Box 4: Musical Magazines and Organizations

Files:

  • 1. Contemporary American Musicians
  • 2. Musical America
  • 3. Musical Digest
  • 4. Musician Biographies
  • 5. Modern Music before 1948
  • 6. European Music Reviews and Performers
  • 7. Works Progress Administration
  • 8. Atwater Kent Foundation
  • 9. Music Teaching
  • 10. How Green Was My Valley
  • 11. D. E. Jones's Reviews
  • 12. Stephen Foster

Box 5: Newspaper Articles: Criticism, Jazz, Humor, Etc.

Files:

  • 1. General Criticism
  • 2. Jazz
  • 3. Humor
  • 4. Ernest Newman, N.Y. Post Guest Critic
  • 5. Reviews
  • 6. American Musical Culture
  • 7. Trivia
  • 8. Visual Art

Box 6: Newspaper Articles about Books

Files:

  • 1. Music Books
  • 2. Music Books (cont.)
  • 3. Other Books
  • 4. General Music Articles
  • 5. General Music Articles (cont.)

Box 7: Newspaper Articles about Instruments and Holidays

Files:

  • 1. Piano
  • 2. Organ
  • 3. Strings
  • 4. Bells
  • 5. Other Instruments
  • 6. Christmas
  • 7. Christmas Carols
  • 8. Other Holidays

Box 8: Welsh Articles Written in English

Files:

  • 1. Welsh in English
  • 2. Welsh in English (cont.)
  • 3. Welsh in English (cont.)
  • 4. Welsh in English (cont.)
  • 5. Welsh in English (cont.)
  • 6. Welsh in English (cont.)
  • 7. Correspondence

Box 9: Welsh Articles Written in Welsh; Welsh Organizations

Files:

  • 1. Welsh in Welsh
  • 2. Welsh in Welsh (cont.)
  • 3. Gymanfa Ganu
  • 4. Eisteddfod
  • 5. St. David's Society, N.Y.
  • 6. Junger Maennerchor

Box 10: Articles on Opera and Folk Music

Files:

  • 1. Opera
  • 2. Opera (cont.)
  • 3. Wagner
  • 4. American Operettas
  • 5. Gilbert and Sullivan
  • 6. American Folk Music
  • 7. American Dance
  • 8. African American Folk Music
  • 9. European Folk Music

Box 11: Articles on Scranton and General History

Files:

  • 1. Scranton
  • 2. Scranton (cont.)
  • 3. Scranton Fees Case
  • 4. Harry Burleigh
  • 5. Marriages
  • 6. Retirements
  • 7. Obituaries
  • 8. Birthdays
  • 9. Successions
  • 10. Ancient History
  • 11. Early America to 19th Century
  • 12. America, 1890-1919
  • 13. America, 1919-1939
  • 14. World War II
  • 15. World War II (cont.)
  • 16. General History and Literature
  • 17. Pennsylvania History of Music

Box 12: Articles on Composers and Performance Ensembles

Files:

  • 1. Composers
  • 2. Composers (cont.)
  • 3. Symphony
  • 4. Orchestra
  • 5. Chamber Music

Box 13: Photographs and Speeches

Files:

  • 1. Photographs (Performers, Publicity)
  • 2. Female Singer Photographs (Clippings)
  • 3. Male Singer Photographs (Clippings)
  • 4. Composer Photographs (Clippings)
  • 5. Misc. Musician Photographs (Clippings)
  • 6. Conductor Photographs (Clippings)
  • 7. Speeches by D. E. Jones (Typescript)
  • 8. Speeches by D. E. Jones (cont.)
  • 9. General Newspaper Photos

Box 14: Patriotic, International, or Bible-Related Clippings

Files:

  • 1. National Anthem and Flag
  • 2. International Music (Mostly World War II)
  • 3. England and Ireland
  • 4. Russia or Soviet Union
  • 5. Bible and Misc. Religious
  • 6. Hymns
  • 7. Language
  • 8. Correspondence of D. E. Jones
  • 9. Correspondence of D. E. Jones (cont.)

Box 15: Singing Articles and the Borough of Taylor

Files:

  • 1. Singing
  • 2. Taylor History
  • 3. Taylor History (cont.)
  • 4. Issues of Y Cerddor (The Musician)

Box 16: Typescript: "Laugh, Minstrel, Laugh" by D. E. Jones