University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 2/1996
Clothing of Inspiration

     Author and poet Mary Hoxie Jones has led a life rich in
travel, writing and education. As the daughter of the late Rufus
M. Jones, a professor of philosophy and psychology at Haverford
College, she had, from the time she was 3, many chances to travel
in Asia with her parents. In later years, her intrepid spirit
left her unafraid to travel the world alone, at a time when many
saw that as an inappropriate role for women.
     Today, at 92, she continues to live a rich and full life in
the well-appointed retirement community, Kendal at Longwood, Pa.
When health concerns forced Jones to move from her apartment to a
single room, the world traveler carefully chose new homes for her
prized possessions-among them, a collection of brilliant silk
kimonos, obis (the wide sashes used to tie the kimonos), a
Mandarin coat and Japanese and Chinese table linens. On the
advice of the late Mrs. Averell duPont, Jones decided to donate
the collection of more than 100 items to the University's
Department of Textiles, Design and Consumer Economics.
     Now, the colorful silks and linens, with their inspiring
embroidery, reside in climate-controlled closets, all carefully
wrapped in tissue when not being studied by students.
     According to Fran Mayhew, associate professor, students use
the kimonos to study Japanese and Chinese clothing forms as well
as for studying decorative embroidery.
     "We use them for artistic inspiration and for their
excellent examples of surface decoration," Mayhew says. "They are
inspiring ethnic costuming. The students love to look at them and
display them. It is a challenge to display them, as they are
really antique objects."
     Jones and her mother purchased some of the kimonos in 1926
on their first trip to Japan and during a later, three-month
residency that same year in China. The family visited other parts
of China and Hong Kong in the early 1930s. In 1935, Jones
journeyed to Canton where she lived for a while writing the
history of an American hospital there.
     While she does not recall ever wearing the kimonos, she does
remember one New Year's Eve when she wore the long, blue Mandarin
coat embroidered with gold dragons.
     A copy of one of Jones' books, Swords Into Ploughshares: An
Account of the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1937, can
be found in the Morris Library, as well as her father's
biography, Friend of Life: the Biography of Rufus M. Jones,
written by Elizabeth Gray Vining.
                                                  -Beth Thomas