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Virginia Lacy Jones Papers
18.5 linear feet
Virginia Lacy Jones (b. 1912-d. 1984) was a librarian, educator, author, and – among
library educators – known as “the Dean of Deans.” She dedicated almost fifty years of
her life to the library profession, thirty-six of which she spent as Dean of the School of
Library Service at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Her career began
at Atlanta University in 1939 as Catalog Librarian in Trevor Arnett Library. Dr. Rufus
Clement, President of Atlanta University invited her to join the faculty when the library
school opened in 1941. Virginia remained a member of the faculty until she received a
fellowship to pursue a Doctorate Degree from the University of Chicago. She received
her degree in 1945, becoming the second African American to receive a Ph.D. in Library
Service. She returned to Atlanta University to serve as the second dean of the School of
Library Service (later named the School of Library and Information Studies) – a position
she held until her appointment in 1981 as the first Director of the Atlanta University
Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.
Dr. Jones is remembered and revered as an outstanding librarian and educator who was
recognized with many awards and honors that illustrate her untiring work in the
profession. She received the Melvil Dewey Award of the American Library Association
for her creative professional achievement, the Joseph W. Lippincott Award for
distinguished service to the profession of librarianship, and she was awarded honorary
memberships in the American Library Association and the Southeastern Library
Association. Other awards include the Beta Phi Mu Award, the Black Women Pioneer
Award and an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Michigan.
The Virginia Lacy Jones Papers consists of Jones’s collection of professional and
personal materials spanning the years 1912 to 1985; the bulk of the collection documents
her extensive career as a librarian. The collection does not include the administrative
files of her tenure as Dean and Library Director. The Jones Papers are arranged into six
series - Personal Papers, Correspondence, Writings (by and about Virginia Lacy Jones),
Organizations, Photographs, and Oversized Materials. Along with biographical materials
and documentation of close family members, the collection provides insight into Dr.
Jones’ dedication to librarianship and the education of Black librarians.