First UD librarian passes away

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Linda Smith, News Editor

The first University of Dallas librarian, Sister Martin Joseph Jones, passed away Monday, April 29.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 11.44.37 PMAccording to The Dallas Morning News, Sister Jones entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur—an order closely associated with UD in its first decades—in 1943, two years after graduating from high school, and pronounced her perpetual vows in 1952. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Our Lady of Victory College and began teaching in Fort Worth and at Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. James School in Dallas.

According to university archivist Sybil Novinski, planning for UD began in 1954, and Sister Jones was asked to get her master’s degree in library science to become UD’s first librarian. She received her degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1956, beginning her work at the UD library that same year and continuing it until 1961.

Library director Dr. Scott Dupree met Sister Jones shortly after his arrival at UD in 1958 and got to know her over the two summers that he worked at the library.

“She was a delightful lady, great fun to talk with and both personable and ready to help students and faculty with their research needs at any time,” Dupree said. “When I think back to the challenges she faced in starting a library collection from scratch, I am all the more admiring of her achievements.”

After her time at UD, Sister Jones worked as head of archives and special collections at the State University of New York at Buffalo until 1995. She also began working in the archives for the Diocese of Buffalo and the Sisters’ Generalate in 1986. She received the Myrtle Wreath Award from the Buffalo Hadassah in 1985.

Dupree remembered collaborating on the making of a video-interview with Sister Jones and two of her faculty contemporaries from the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur—recently deceased Sister St. John Begnaud and Sister Mary Ignatius—about 10 years ago.

“Before that interview, I did have an opportunity to visit her in Fort Worth a few times before and after becoming director of the library (I never imagined that I might end up some day becoming her successor, since I have no professional library training) and caught up a bit on her subsequent activities after being assigned to duties beyond UD and its library,” Dupree said. “I shall certainly miss her, having encountered her for the last time recently at Sister St. John’s funeral.”

Novinski, who received pointers from Sister Jones on setting up the UD Archives in 2000, remembered her as “very tall, very joyful, with a great sense of humor and easy competence—she was indomitable.”

Sister Jones was born in Kansas City, Mo. in 1923, but the exact month of her birth was not reported.

Sister Jones’ memory may be honored with a gift to the Sisters of St. Mary at Our Lady of Victory, 909 W. Shaw St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76110.

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