James R. Jones Collection
James R. Jones Collection
James Robert Jones (D-OK) served as the Representative for Oklahoma’s 1<emph render="super">st</emph> Congressional district from 1973 to 1986 and Ambassador to Mexico from 1993 to 1997. Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on May 5, 1939, Jones’ first job in politics was as a publicity writer and speaker for J. Howard Edmondson’s campaign for governor in 1958. He received Bachelor’s degrees in journalism and government from the University of Oklahoma in 1961, whereupon he became a Legislative Assistant in the office of Congressman Ed Edmondson until 1964. While working for Congressman Edmondson, Jones earned a law degree from Georgetown University. In 1964 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, where he served as a Captain in the Counter-Intelligence Corps until 1965. In 1968 Jones became President Lyndon Johnson’s Appointments Secretary, the youngest person to hold that position. During this time he met his wife, Olivia Barclay of Beverly Hills, California. At the end of Johnson’s term, Jones returned to Tulsa to practice law. In 1970 he challenged incumbent Congressman Paige Belcher for the 1<emph render="super">st</emph> district seat, losing by a margin of 55 to 45 despite Belcher’s seniority. In the 1972 election, Jones ran again. Congressman Belcher withdrew from the race in June, replaced by two-term Tulsa mayor James M. Hewgley, Jr. Jones won handily and became the youngest member of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation in 1973. He would go on to win reelection six times and serve key roles on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees. Jones was particularly influential during the budget crises of the early 1980s. He was appointed to the Committee on Ways and Means in 1975, where he served until 1987, and served as chair of the Budget Committee during the 97<emph render="super">th</emph> and 98<emph render="super">th</emph> Congresses. In 1986 he gave up his House seat to challenge incumbent Senator Don Nickles, but was defeated. After his political career, Jones joined the Washington law firm Dickstein-Shapiro. He served as Chairman of the American Stock Exchange from 1989 to 1993, and was appointed Ambassador to Mexico during the Clinton Administration. In 2003 he became chairman of the World Affairs Council of America, a non-partisan network dedicated to educating and engaging Americans in foreign affairs. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1994 and is presently a partner in the Tulsa law firm Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips.
The bulk of the Jones Collection covers his Congressional career, 1973-1986, and his time as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. This includes records generated in or received by the Washington, D.C. and district offices by the Congressman and his staff, or in the Embassy of the United States in Mexico City. Broadly, these records include correspondence with constituents, other members of Congress and Senators, Presidents, Executive Office staff, Cabinet members and Federal agency staff, celebrities, business leaders, and foreign officials. The Congressional materials document the primary functions of a Congressional office, namely policymaking and legislative activities, constituent and public relations, and campaigns and other political activities. Included are drafts of legislation, bill markups, Federal government and Congressional Committee reports, Dear Colleague letters, Democratic caucus material, voting records, briefing books, travel itinerary, speeches, press releases, Congressional Research Service reports, invitations to social functions, constituent issue mail, and photographs. Each Record Series will have a more detailed scope and content note.
The collection was originally donated by James R. Jones to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library which later transferred the collection to the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives with Jones' written approval.
The University of Oklahoma asserts no claim of copyright over photographs in this collection taken by private citizens. Any publication of such photographs requires the consent of the copyright holder.