Papers of Helen Jones Rich, ca.1888-2000
Correspondence, journals, account books, photographs, passports, genealogical material, etc., of Helen Jones Rich and the Rich family.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. The bulk of the collection is open for research. Folders #4.14-4.15 are closed; extremely fragile. Use digital images.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Jones Rich as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent3.96 linear feet ((9 + 1/2 file boxes) 2 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 16 photograph folders, 115 negatives, 8 transparencies, 4 slides.)
The collection consists of correspondence, journals, account books, photographs, biographical and genealogical material, etc. of Helen Jones Rich and Arnold Rice Rich as well as several other family members. The bulk of the correspondence documents the ten year courtship of Helen Jones Rich and Arnold Rice Rich between 1915 and 1925. They are out of the ordinary in that Arnold Rice Rich is much more florid in his writing than Helen Jones Rich and often includes poetry and speaks of his undying love for Helen and his pain at their being separated. Helen's responses are much more subdued. Correspondence arrived in bundles, arranged by sender and thence chronologically. This material was foldered and retained in the same general arrangement. Other material arrived loose in boxes and arranged alphabetically by individual. Folder titles were created by the processor.
Series I, HELEN JONES RICH, 1915-2000 (#1.1-5.11, F+D.1), consists of correspondence, account books, notebooks, genealogical material, travel documents, recipes, etc. The bulk of this series consists of letters received from Arnold Rice Rich, who began courting Helen Jones in 1915 after meeting her at a dance at the University of Virginia. Although Jones spurned his advances several times, Rich continued to profess his love for her in dramatic fashion. His letters are filled with poetry, vivid imagery, and discussions of philosophy, and often discuss Jones' music practice and performances and Rich's medical schooling and early career, as well as his activities with family and friends, travel plans, relationship difficulties, and plans to have a family. Given that Rich was attending medical school at Johns Hopkins University and then completed several residencies elsewhere, while Jones was living in Atlanta, later studying music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, they were seldom together. Their courting correspondence continued into 1925 when they were finally married. Later correspondence between the two includes commentary on their daughters Adrienne and Cynthia. Other material in this series includes correspondence with daughters Adrienne and Cynthia (mainly as children); doctors and their wives met through her husband; and her sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Much of this has to do with family news and includes letters of condolence on the death of Arnold Rice Rich. Notebooks includes notes from classes on botany as well as on the subjects of music, history, geology, science, education, philosophy, and medicine. Also included in several of these notebooks are comments about her husband and other doctors with whom he was acquainted, lists of food to be purchased, and instructions to house servants. Travel documents consist of a passport (including Adrienne Rich as a child) and travel journals and account books for trips to France and other European countries, North Africa, and Murray Bay, Quebec. These journals and account books contain entries describing their daily activities, recipes, comments regarding Adrienne as a child (including rules for her discipline), and lists of food and gifts purchased. Also included in the series are several talks that Rich gave at the Roland Park Country School which Adrienne attended. Subjects include the Arabic people, folk music, and prehistoric art. Other materials included are inventories of household objects and silver and a recipe book. The series is arranged alphabetically. Folder titles were created by the processor. See Series II for letters sent to Arnold Rice Rich during their courtship.
Series II, ARNOLD RICE RICH, 1911-1989 (#5.12-8.4, FD.1-FD.2), includes correspondence; awards and publications; biographical material, essays and poetry; lists of books, maps, and instruments owned; recipes, etc. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters received from Helen Jones who began courting Arnold Rice Rich in 1915 after meeting him at a dance at the University of Virginia. Although she spurned his advances several times, Rich continued to write her and profess his love for her in dramatic fashion. Jones' responses often discuss her music practice and performances and Rich's medical schooling and early career, as well as her activities with family and friends, travel plans, relationship difficulties, and plans to have a family. Given that Rich was attending medical school at Johns Hopkins University and then completed several residencies elsewhere, while Jones was living in Atlanta, later studying music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, they were seldom together. Their courting correspondence continued into 1925 when they were finally married. Later correspondence between the two includes commentary on their daughters Adrienne and Cynthia. Additional correspondence regards Rich's appointment at Johns Hopkins University, where he was Chief Pathologist, and to the United States Naval Reserve; a memorial portrait of Rich to hang at Johns Hopkins; and the purchase of the family house at 14 Edgevale Road in Baltimore. Also included is a small amount of correspondence with fellow doctors and from his mother Hattie Rice Rich. Other material includes essays and poetry; several passports; obituaries and a curriculum vitae; recipes; and several prints and book plates made by Rich. It appears that Helen Rice Rich may have continued to collect recipes from newspapers and add them to Arnold Rice Rich's recipes since some of the recipes are dated later than 1968. The series is arranged alphabetically. Folder titles were created by the processor. See Series I for letters sent to Helen Jones during their courtship.
Series III, OTHER FAMILY, 1912-2000 (#8.5-10.6), includes genealogical material, correspondence, essays, play scripts, account books, watercolors, etc., of several family members including Mary Gravely Jones (mother of Helen Jones) and several other Jones family members; Adrienne and Cynthia Rich; and Hattie Rice Rich. The bulk of the series consists of the correspondence, essays, and play scripts of Mary Gravely Jones and other Jones family members. Much of this are letters received by Jones from her daughter (Helen) and son-in-law, and her son Lawrence. Letters from Helen Jones Rich describe her courtship with Arnold Rice Rich, her study of music under various individuals, at the Peabody Conservatory, and in New York and Vienna, as well as her many requests for clothing and money for food and housing. Later letters describe the births of Adrienne and Cynthia and various trips the family took to Europe and Africa. Folder titles were created by the processor. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS, ca.1888-1956 (PD.1-PD.16) includes photographs, negatives, transparencies, and slides of Hattie Rice Rich, Mary Gravely Jones, Cecile Rich, Arnold Rice Rich, Helen Jones Rich, Adrienne Rich, Cynthia Rich, and several other Rich and Jones family members. Many of the photographs were taken during Rich family vacations in Europe and North Africa, as well as at family homes in Nova Scotia, Long Island, Atlanta, Georgia, and Baltimore, Maryland. Most photographs of Adrienne and Cynthia Rich are from their childhood and young early adulthood. Also included are photographs of Adrienne Rich's first son, David Conrad, as an infant; the Rich's servant Annie with Adrienne and Cynthia; and Arnold Rice Rich while attending the Bingham Military Academy. Folder titles were created by the processor. The series is arranged alphabetically. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
Helen Jones Rich was born in North Carolina in 1898 to William Ira Jones and Mary Gravely Jones. She had two brothers, Lawrence C. Jones and Willis Jones. The family moved soon after her birth to Atlanta, Georgia. Rich began playing piano at the age of six, and studied under Alfredo Barili. She later received a scholarship to study music at the Peabody School in Baltimore, Maryland (now the Peabody Institute of Music of Johns Hopkins University) with Harold Randolph and became a concert pianist and composer. While visiting her brother Lawrence, she was introduced to Arnold Rice Rich (ca.1915). The two began corresponding regularly in 1916 and began a long courtship. During the courtship she taught piano at the Brearly School in Albany, New York, before saving enough money to travel to Vienna to study under Wilhelm Gericke, former conductor of the Vienna Society, while Rich was studying pathology there. The couple finally married in 1925 and had their first child, Adrienne (the poet) in 1929. Their second child, Cynthia (feminist and writer) was born in 1933. Following Arnold Rice Rich's death Helen Rice Rich moved from Baltimore to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she lived until moving to a nursing home in Waltham, Massachusetts in 2000, at the age of 103. She died that same year.
Arnold Rice Rich was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1894 to Samuel Rich and Henrietta (Hattie) Rice Rich. He had one sister, Cecile Rich Weil. During his childhood he attended the Bingham Military School in Asheville, North Carolina. He later attended the University of Virginia and studied biology, receiving an AB and MA before entering medical school at Johns Hopkins University in 1915. It appears that Rich completed residencies at Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "In 1918...Rich was made a sergeant in the Johns Hopkins Unit of the Students Army Training Corps." He later studied pathology under Dr. William McCallum and after a year sabbatical in Vienna (1922-1923), where he studied pathology, returned to the pathology department at Johns Hopkins. He was appointed professor of pathology in 1944 and chairman of the pathology department and pathologist in chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1947. He died in 1968.
The collection is arranged in four series:
- Series I. Helen Jones Rich, 1915-2000 (#1.1-5.11, F+D.1)
- Series II. Arnold Rice Rich, 1911-1989 (#5.12-8.4, FD.1-FD.2)
- Series III. Other family, 1912-2000 (#8.5-10.6)
- Series IV. Photographs, ca.1888-1956 (#PD.1-PD.16)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 2001-M28, 2011-M104
The papers of Helen Jones Rich were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from the Boston Book Company in 2001. Additional papers were given by Adrienne Rich in 2011.
Processed: September 2014
By: Mark Vassar, with assistance from Caitlin Jones and Henry Shull.
- Account books
- Baltimore (Md.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Courtship--United States
- Europe--Description and travel
- Home economics--United States
- Mothers and daughters--United States
- Musicians--United States
- Scripts (documents)
- Women musicians--United States
- Rich, Helen Jones, 1898-2000. Papers of Helen Jones Rich, ca.1888-2000: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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