Biographies > Haverford College
Jones, Rufus Matthew

Rufus Matthew Jones, philosopher, mystical scholar, Quaker historian and social reformer, graduated from Haverford College in 1885, received an M.A. from his alma mater in 1886 and from Harvard in 1901. He married Sarah Coutant in 1888 with whom he had one son and Elizabeth B. Cadbury in 1902 with whom he had one daughter, Mary Hoxie Jones.

Jones taught at Oakwood Seminary (1886-7), and at Friends School, Providence, was principal of Oak Grove Seminary (1889), recognized as a minister (1890), editor of the American Friend from 1893 to 1912, sat on the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College from 1898 to 1936, and became an instructor in philosophy at Haverford College (1893), achieving the T. Wistar Brown chair in philosophy before he retired in 1934.

The author of over 50 monographs, Rufus Jones also contributed to Re-Thinking Missions, the 1932 publication that resulted from an interdenominational survey of missions in the Far East. Of prime significance to Jones was healing the 19th century split in American Quakerism; his life's work bore fruit in the 1950s with the reunification of American Quaker Meetings.

Rufus Jones was instrumental in the establishment of the Haverford Emergency Unit (a pre-cursor to the American Friends Service Committee) at the college that prepared members for relief and reconstruction work in Europe after World War I.
A world traveler (it is said he traversed the ocean 200 times), Jones met with Mahatma Gandhi at his ashram in India, and spoke with religious leaders in China and Japan during a trip in 1926, and in 1938, he traveled to South Africa, meeting with General Jan Smuts and returning via China and Japan. In that same year, he participated in a mission with George Walton and D. Robert Yarnall to Germany to see if a peaceful means of dealing with Nazis could be reached.

For more information, please contact the Haverford College Archives

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