Theatre Design & Technology - May 1969 - 17

Moderwell, Hiram K., "From Daily Teaching at Har·
yard to Rare Settings for Russian Ballet: Robert Ed·
mond Jones: Unsung Leader of American Decorators
for the Theatre," Boston Evening Transcript, Octo·
ber 6, 1916, II, 1. An announcement that Jones
was presenting settings and costumes for productions
in two cities, simultaneously: Til Eulenspiegel's Merry
Pranks for the Metropolitan Opera Company in New
York and the Arthur Hopkins production of Good
Gracious Annabelle in Boston. This 'bit of biography'
is one of several that Moderwell writes about Jones'
early career and apparently is the article that created
the myth of Jones, the untutored farm lad who came
out of the
ew Hampshire hills to create for the
_ _ _ _ ., "The Art of Robert Edmonds Jones,"
Theatre Arts Magazine II, February, 1917,51·61.
First critical account of Jones' work in the theatre
whicll includes bibliographical material: his early days
at HaNard as an instructor in art, the influence of
Valeska Suratt, his European trip, and his first pro·
ductions with Arthur Hopkins. Somewhat repetitious
of the Boston Evening Transcript article. Designs
for Dumb Wife, The DeviJ's Garden, Til Eulen·
spiegel. Good Gracious Annabelle, and Caliban
Macgowan, Kenneth, "New Place for Negros in Our
Theatre," Boston Evening Transcript, April 7 , 1917,
II, I. In this review of Jones' first directorial assignment-three one-act plays by Ridgley Terrence,
reproduced by Emilie Hapgood at the Garden Theatre,
off-Broadway, April 5, 1917, Macgowan praises the
success with which Jones achieved artistic unity in
his productions. Macgowan quizzes Jones about the
differences between the functions of the director
and the scenic artist and in a lengthy answer Jones
reveals how completely he has assimilated Edward
Gordon Craig's theory about the importance of the
director. Three costume plates are reproduced.
Saylor, Oliver M., "Robert Edmond Jones, Artist of
the Theatre," New Republic 32, June 32, 1920,
122-4. Saylor feels that it is Jones, not foreign influences, who is responsible for much of the revolt
against the old staging methods, particularly on Broadway. Saylor observes that Jones' designs are becoming more and more stylized. "Stylization," he says,
"that assumes symbolic as well as mechanistic significance, natural and unpretentious." Saylor's observation that "symbolism is entering into all his work,"
unconsciously prophecies Jones' abstract symbols in
Macbeth the next season. Saylor's observations are
stimulated by Jones' one-man exhibit the previous

Crowther, Bosley, "Mr. Jones Takes the Lead," New
York Times, October 18, 1935, X, 1. An interview
With Jones on his return to New York from Hollywood. Jones spends most of his time talking about
hiS orthcoming production of Othello, with Walter
Huston, the Central City Opera House production
which Max Gordon produced on Broadway in 1937.
Houghton, Norris, "The Designer Sets The Stage:
Robert Edmond Jones," Theatre Arts Monthly XX,
December, 1936, 966-70. Reprinted in THEATRE
ARTS A THOLOGY. New York: Theatre Arts Books.
Inc., 1950, 402·7. In this interview, part of series
Houghton conducted with American designers in
1936, Jones gives as clear and concise statements
of what the designer should strive for in his settings
as occur anywhere in Jones' writings.
Hopkins. Arthur, TO A LONELY BOY. New York:
Doubleday, Doran, and Company, 1937, 154 ff. In
this series of letters to a young convalescing friend,
Hopkins reflects upon his associations with Jones
and John Barrymore, with whom he produced such
landmarks in the American theatre as Redemption,
Richard lit. The Jest, and Hamlet. Hopkins engaged
Jones to work with him immediately after his Broadway debut and Jones designed most of the productions that Hopkins produced.
Clurman, Harold, THE FERVE T YEARS. New York:
A.A. Knopf, 1945,7-9. Remembering his apprentice
days with the Macgowan-Janes-O'Neill company at the
Provincetown Playhouse, Clurman reminisces about
an incident when Jones was addressing the acting
company for the production of Stark Young's The
Saint. Jones, Clurman relates, addressed his audience in a most aloof manner, with a complete lack of
communication, or concern about the lack. Clurman
felt that Jones, or any artist, has a duty to find language and the means of "getting through" to his
fellow artists.
Peck, Seymour, "Discovering Mr. Jones," PM,
March 13, 1946, 20. An interview with Jones soon
after the Broadway opening of Lute Song. Jones reflects tha he has been discovered four times during
his career. Article includes the last published photograph of Jones.
(Anonymous). "The Theatre of Robert Edmond
Jones," Dance I, April, 1946, 19 ff. An unsigned
article on Jones and his successful designs for
Lute Song, including several fine photographs of the
production. Jones comments on the similarities and
differences between designing for drama and the

Kenneth Macgowan, "Robert Edmond Jones," Theatre
Arts Monthly IX, November, 1925, 720-28. A personalit
sketch by one of Jones' closest friends.
Macgowan writes of the introspective, self-ef acing
personality of Jones, pointing out that in his own retiring way, Jones was responsible for much of the
activity of many of the groups interested in the new
theatre movement, responsible, in fact, for the creation of several.

"Rober Edmond Jones:
Company, 1927,35-53. A reprint of
including an excellent photograph of
beard he \'"lore during the t\iventies.

(Anonymous). "R.E. Jones is Dead, Stage Designer,
67," New York Times, November 27, 1954, 13.
Obituary. Robert Edmond Jones died at his home in
Milton, New Hampshire on Thanksgiving night, 1954.
Mielziner, Jo., "The An of Raben Edmond Jones,
New York Times, December 19, 1954, 11,4. A
tribute from a friend and colleague who recalled as
a youth seeing Jones' setting for The Man Who
Married A Dumb Wife. Mielziner who was once apprenticed to Jones, says of him, "His theatre was
not limited to holding up a mirror to nature because
he held his mirror up to art. It was a transparent
mirror through which the imagination of the artist
created in terms of theatre, rather than in terms of
Packard, Frederick C., Jr., "Robert Edmond Jones,
1B87-1954,-' Chrysalis VIII, 1 and 2, 1955,4-11.
Packard eulogizes Jones in this memorial issue of
Chrysalis, pointing out that Jones' influence on the
American theatre included his deep concern and encouragement of young artists all through his lifetime.
Packard quotes from Jones' lecture, "Toward A New
Theatre," which Jones recorded for Vocarium Records in 1952.

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(Anonymousl, The Other Bobb\ Jones," New York
Times, Februarv 5, 192B, VIII, 4. A resume of
Jones' career up to 1928, pomting out that Jones
was an innovator in the theatre one of the fIrst d irectors of the ProVinCelO\".'n Playhouse. first director
of Negro plays on a white stage, and f"sl American
to design a ballet lor the Metropolitan Opera Com·
Mannes, 1arya. "Robert Edmond Jones: A Scene
Designer Who Has Achieved Distinction m Many
oods and Styles ' Theatre Guild Magazine VIII,
I 'olember, 1930, 15
I. A critical analysis of Jones'
war Including hisdesrgnsforGreen Pastures. Mannes
points out va of Jones' stylistic idiosyncracies, which
she says are often found in his designs: Victorian
grotesqueness and Spanish carving. 'Interpolated,"
says Mannes, "for their own s\·veet sakes and often
without regard for context."

(Anonymous). "Stage Designs a Three Harvard
Graduates: Raben Edmond Jones (Class of 1910).
Donald Oenslager (Class of 1923). and Lee Simonson
(Class of 1909)." Harvard Alumni Bulletin 53, III,
October 2 B, 1950. 1 17 fl. A resume of the careers
of Jones, Oenslager and Simonson published in conjunction with the exhibition of their designs at the
Fogg Museum at Harvard University in 1950.

"All flats in this scene to be covered with white
velour over black duck."


Protean Artist,-'
A.A. Knopf and
the above item,
Jones with the

Lucas, John (Ed.). "The Theatre of Today and Tomorrow, Some Uncollected Comments of Robert Ed·
mond Jones," The Carleton Drama Bulletin. II,
May, 1950, 44-52. Capsulized definitions and sum·
marized remarks of talks Jones delivered at Carleton
College on April 21 and 22, 1950, under the
headings of "Drama of the Future, (1948), "The
Art of the Theatre (19491'-' and "Forum Talks."
The notes indicate that the material from the first two
was obviously taken from Jones' May, 1947 Yale
lecture and is recorded on the Vocarium disc, "To·
ward a New Theatre," o. 1.

Henry VIII: Buckli7gham's Farewell: Detail
of Separate Flats

Sergeant, Elizabeth Shipley, "Bobby Jones: AChimerical Young
an," New Republic 42, April 8,1925,
174-76. This article perpetrates the myth of Jones,
the untutored farm boy who created such magic for
he theatre. The facts are not always accurate.

Hopkins, Arthur, REFERENCE POINT. New York: Sam·
uel French and Co., 1948, 95-99 and 123-5. Hopkins delivered a series of lectures at Fordham University in 1947. In two he speaks of his long asso·
ciation with Jones in glowing and loving terms. "If
you are fOf[unate to work with a Robert Edmond
Jones in your future productions," he says, "you
will know the casting angels are with you."




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