Boston Public Library

Leslie Jones Collection

Modest about his abilities as a photographer (he called himself a camera-man, not a photo-journalist), Jones quietly built an unrivaled collection of photographic negatives, almost 40,000 of which were given to the Boston Public Library by his family in the early 1970s. The collection is a stunning pictorial document of the history of Boston in the 20th century, and a tribute to the craft and artistry of a man who, by doing his job, preserved the past on glass and film. Without his family's generosity and their recognition of the importance of his work, the Leslie Jones Collection would not exist and an important piece of the public record would not be available to the public. The photographs were given to the Boston Public Library so that they could be seen by anyone who wanted to see them.

Staff photographer for the Boston Herald-Traveler from 1917 to 1956, Jones graduated from the Farm & Trade School on Thompson Island. Although interested in photography from his school days, Jones first worked as a pattern-maker. He freelanced as a photographer for several years while working in a Boston factory, but after losing two fingers to the machinery he joined the Herald-Traveler staff full-time. In his 39 years at the newspaper, Jones covered everything from a fox stuck in a tree on the Boston Common to Lindbergh's U.S. tour after the aviator crossed the Atlantic. His photographs document both the usual and the unusual in the daily life of Boston.

Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.

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