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Maldwyn Allen Jones; Historian of America
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Maldwyn Allen Jones
Persuasive historian of America

The Independent
15 May 2007
John White

Among the many pleasures of being a Politics and Modern
History undergraduate at Manchester University in the late
1950s/early 1960s were the American history lectures and
seminars given by Maldwyn Allen Jones. Lucid and unfailingly
polite (and with a penchant for pink shirts), he
entertained, taught and inspired a generation of students,
including some who went on to become academics in their own
right.

At Manchester, Maldwyn Jones - together with Marcus
Cunliffe - undertook the ambitious project of devising and
implementing an American Studies degree programme. This
included cataloguing American newspaper and manuscript
collections in the United Kingdom, and (not least) securing
American foundation funds for the whole enterprise.
Cunliffe's successor as Professor of American History and
Institutions at Manchester in 1965, Jones was to become
treasurer (1962-68) and then chairman (1968-71) of the
British Association for American Studies (BAAS), linking all
"Americanists" at UK universities.

In 1971, he moved to London to fill the Commonwealth Chair
of American History at University College. His Inaugural
Lecture was on "The Old World Ties of American Ethnic
Groups". At UCL he organised the annual Commonwealth
Lectures delivered by distinguished American scholars -
including Eugene D. Genovese and John Hope Franklin -
attended by the general public and invited academics, who
stayed on the following day to discuss the papers. These
occasions were as memorable for their sumptuous dinners and
convivial networking as for the topics under examination.

After attending Holywell Grammar School (where he met his
future wife, Dorothy, when they were both about 14) in North
Wales, Maldwyn Allen Jones worked for a time in a bank and
then joined the Royal Navy and spent most of the Second
World War as a lieutenant in the 18th Minesweeping Flotilla.

After demobilisation, he gained a place at Jesus College,
Oxford, and received a first class honours degree in History
in 1949. As an undergraduate, he took as a special subject a
course on "Slavery and Secession", topics which he was later
to offer at Manchester. In 1951-52, he was a Harkness Fellow
at Harvard, and later Visiting Professor at such prestigious
institutions as Princeton, Cornell and Stanford. He was also
a consultant to Sir Winston Churchill on the American
chapters of his History of the English Speaking Peoples.

Tuberculosis threatened to end Jones's fledgling academic
career but, with characteristic determination, he recovered
and submitted his doctoral thesis to Oxford, and began to
publish a succession of articles and essays on what was to
become his area of expertise: American immigration. Invited
to contribute to the University of Chicago's History of
American Civilisation series, edited by Daniel J. Boorstin,
Jones (who had taken Boorstin's place at Chicago for a year)
published American Immigration (1960).

It was immediately recognised as a masterly synthesis of the
voluminous primary and secondary source material on the
subject. Viewing immigration as America's historic raison
d'être, Jones addressed both the "push" and "pull" factors
which drew over 60 million immigrants to America from 1607
to 1960. He was particularly skilful in delineating the
psychological, social and economic adjustments made by
successive generations of immigrants and their roles in
industrialisation, westward expansion, labour movements,
domestic and foreign policies, and American wars.

When the book appeared, mass immigration - largely as a
consequence of the Immigration Act of 1924 - seemed to be a
closed chapter in American history. But a resurgence of
numbers, beginning in the 1960s and continuing for the next
three decades, prompted Jones to publish a second edition of
his celebrated study, with a new chapter covering changing
immigration patterns that were a consequence of the
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

In 1976, Jones produced Destination America, a lavishly
illustrated book, which complemented a television
mini-series of the same title - in which he also appeared.
In the same year he was joint editor (with Henry Steele
Commager and Marcus Cunliffe) of the 20-volume The American
Destiny: an illustrated bicentennial history of the United
States, to which he contributed 12 chapters. He then
published The Limits of Liberty: American history 1607-1980
(1983), a volume in Oxford's "Short History of the Modern
World" series.

In many respects, this was an even more remarkable work of
synthesis and explication than American Immigration.
Treating the social, political, intellectual and economic
development of a distinctive American society from its
colonial beginnings to its emergence as a superpower,
Jones's perceptive and persuasive account (as the title
suggests) did not ignore racial conflict and class tension
in American life. A second edition (1995) discussed the
conservative revival of the 1980s and the presidential
election of 1992. It remains the most authoritative and
comprehensive single-authored survey of American history to
date.

Although a genial and generous man, Jones believed in
maintaining the highest academic standards. After receiving
(as external examiner) my first batch of final year American
history scripts from Hull University, he agreed with my
student rankings. But he lowered several by a class, and
advised me in future to "harden your heart". On his
retirement from UCL in 1988, he received fulsome and
deserved tributes from his British and American colleagues.

At the time of his death, Jones was working on biographies
of Robert Watchorn (1858-1944), a US immigration
commissioner, and John Puleston (1830-1908), a Welshman who
became a significant political figure both in the US during
the Civil War and later in the UK.

Maldwyn Allen Jones, historian: born Greenfield, Flintshire
18 December 1922; Assistant Lecturer, American History and
Institutions, Manchester University 1950-54, Lecturer
1954-63, Senior Lecturer 1963-65, Professor of American
History and Institutions 1965-71; Chairman, British
Association for American Studies 1968-71; Commonwealth
Professor of American History, University College London
1971-88; married 1944 Dorothy Griffiths (one daughter); died
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire 12 April 2007.
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Post by Hyfler/Rosner
Maldwyn Allen Jones
Persuasive historian of America
The Independent
15 May 2007
John White
Among the many pleasures of being a Politics and Modern
History undergraduate at Manchester University in the late
1950s/early 1960s were the American history lectures and
seminars given by Maldwyn Allen Jones. Lucid and unfailingly
polite (and with a penchant for pink shirts), he
entertained, taught and inspired a generation of students,
including some who went on to become academics in their own
right.
At Manchester, Maldwyn Jones - together with Marcus
Cunliffe - undertook the ambitious project of devising and
implementing an American Studies degree programme. This
included cataloguing American newspaper and manuscript
collections in the United Kingdom, and (not least) securing
American foundation funds for the whole enterprise.
Cunliffe's successor as Professor of American History and
Institutions at Manchester in 1965, Jones was to become
treasurer (1962-68) and then chairman (1968-71) of the
British Association for American Studies (BAAS), linking all
"Americanists" at UK universities.
In 1971, he moved to London to fill the Commonwealth Chair
of American History at University College. His Inaugural
Lecture was on "The Old World Ties of American Ethnic
Groups". At UCL he organised the annual Commonwealth
Lectures delivered by distinguished American scholars -
including Eugene D. Genovese and John Hope Franklin -
attended by the general public and invited academics, who
stayed on the following day to discuss the papers. These
occasions were as memorable for their sumptuous dinners and
convivial networking as for the topics under examination.
After attending Holywell Grammar School (where he met his
future wife, Dorothy, when they were both about 14) in North
Wales, Maldwyn Allen Jones worked for a time in a bank and
then joined the Royal Navy and spent most of the Second
World War as a lieutenant in the 18th Minesweeping Flotilla.
After demobilisation, he gained a place at Jesus College,
Oxford, and received a first class honours degree in History
in 1949. As an undergraduate, he took as a special subject a
course on "Slavery and Secession", topics which he was later
to offer at Manchester. In 1951-52, he was a Harkness Fellow
at Harvard, and later Visiting Professor at such prestigious
institutions as Princeton, Cornell and Stanford. He was also
a consultant to Sir Winston Churchill on the American
chapters of his History of the English Speaking Peoples.
Tuberculosis threatened to end Jones's fledgling academic
career but, with characteristic determination, he recovered
and submitted his doctoral thesis to Oxford, and began to
publish a succession of articles and essays on what was to
become his area of expertise: American immigration. Invited
to contribute to the University of Chicago's History of
American Civilisation series, edited by Daniel J. Boorstin,
Jones (who had taken Boorstin's place at Chicago for a year)
published American Immigration (1960).
It was immediately recognised as a masterly synthesis of the
voluminous primary and secondary source material on the
subject. Viewing immigration as America's historic raison
d'être, Jones addressed both the "push" and "pull" factors
which drew over 60 million immigrants to America from 1607
to 1960. He was particularly skilful in delineating the
psychological, social and economic adjustments made by
successive generations of immigrants and their roles in
industrialisation, westward expansion, labour movements,
domestic and foreign policies, and American wars.
When the book appeared, mass immigration - largely as a
consequence of the Immigration Act of 1924 - seemed to be a
closed chapter in American history. But a resurgence of
numbers, beginning in the 1960s and continuing for the next
three decades, prompted Jones to publish a second edition of
his celebrated study, with a new chapter covering changing
immigration patterns that were a consequence of the
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
In 1976, Jones produced Destination America, a lavishly
illustrated book, which complemented a television
mini-series of the same title - in which he also appeared.
In the same year he was joint editor (with Henry Steele
Commager and Marcus Cunliffe) of the 20-volume The American
Destiny: an illustrated bicentennial history of the United
States, to which he contributed 12 chapters. He then
published The Limits of Liberty: American history 1607-1980
(1983), a volume in Oxford's "Short History of the Modern
World" series.
In many respects, this was an even more remarkable work of
synthesis and explication than American Immigration.
Treating the social, political, intellectual and economic
development of a distinctive American society from its
colonial beginnings to its emergence as a superpower,
Jones's perceptive and persuasive account (as the title
suggests) did not ignore racial conflict and class tension
in American life. A second edition (1995) discussed the
conservative revival of the 1980s and the presidential
election of 1992. It remains the most authoritative and
comprehensive single-authored survey of American history to
date.
Although a genial and generous man, Jones believed in
maintaining the highest academic standards. After receiving
(as external examiner) my first batch of final year American
history scripts from Hull University, he agreed with my
student rankings. But he lowered several by a class, and
advised me in future to "harden your heart". On his
retirement from UCL in 1988, he received fulsome and
deserved tributes from his British and American colleagues.
At the time of his death, Jones was working on biographies
of Robert Watchorn (1858-1944), a US immigration
commissioner, and John Puleston (1830-1908), a Welshman who
became a significant political figure both in the US during
the Civil War and later in the UK.
Maldwyn Allen Jones, historian: born Greenfield, Flintshire
18 December 1922; Assistant Lecturer, American History and
Institutions, Manchester University 1950-54, Lecturer
1954-63, Senior Lecturer 1963-65, Professor of American
History and Institutions 1965-71; Chairman, British
Association for American Studies 1968-71; Commonwealth
Professor of American History, University College London
1971-88; married 1944 Dorothy Griffiths (one daughter); died
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire 12 April 2007.
I am proud to say Maldwyn was my Grandmother's brother's son; so my third cousin. I had the privilege of meeting him when he visited my family back in his home town of Holywell N. wales when I was a child.
He was a very kind man and oozed enthusiasm for American History. He also tried to get me to study history but electronic engineering was my first love.
It is so nice to see so much good said about a man that I was not only privileged to meet but also privilege to say I am related to him.
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