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A. Quinn Jones Collection

Identifier: MS 245

Scope and Content

The A. Quinn Jones Collection documents the life and career of a leading African American educator in Florida in the 20th Century. The collection also documents the life of his wife, Frederica "Freddie" Jones, and other members of the Jones family; the history of Lincoln High School and the Greater Bethel AME Church in Gainesville, Florida; and the activities and people of the African American community in Gainesville and the state. The collection spans 1901 to 2007 and includes biographical materials, family papers, correspondence, educational materials, news clippings, audiovisual recordings, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia.

The Biographical Information and Family Papers group (1904-2006) includes information about A. Quinn Jones, Frederica Jones, and other members of the Jones family. Of particular interest are autobiographical notes and "Retrospections" written by A. Quinn Jones, and an oral history interview of Jones conducted by the University of Florida. This group of papers also includes numerous news clippings, publications, and other documents pertaining to both A. Quinn and Freddie Jones. The family papers consist of correspondence, school papers, and documents pertaining to the death and estates of family members.

The largest group of materials in the collection pertains to Lincoln High School, other K-12 and higher education schools, and education in general. The Lincoln High School files (1915-1991) include administrative materials, programs, commencement programs from 1924 to 1960, faculty information, handbooks, schedules, teacher records, and reunion materials. The bulk of these materials are dated from the 1930s to the 1960s. The Miscellaneous Education files (1913-1993) include A. Quinn Jones' notes on education, course notes and teaching aids, information on teacher salaries, and papers relating to various groups such as the Alachua County Teachers Association, the Alachua County School Board, the Florida State Teachers Association, the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools [(National Education Association)], and the Alachua County Retired Teachers Association. Also included are state educational directories and statistics, and documents regarding Principals and Supervisors in Florida.

The files in the Higher Education and K-12 Schools group (1905-1995) document the long relationship that both A. Quinn Jones and Freddie Jones had with numerous schools in Florida and around the country. Several of the files pertain to Florida A&M College and its successor, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). These papers include commencement programs, newsletters and other publications, materials relating to extension classes and coursework, diplomas, and correspondence with the FAMU Alumni Association. Other higher education institutions represented in the collection include Bethune Cookman College, the Hampton Institute in Virginia (including research papers and a Master's thesis written by A. Quinn Jones), and New York University. The K-12 schools represented include A. Quinn Jones Elementary School, Williams Elementary School, Mebane High School, and several others in Alachua County and Florida.

The Greater Bethel AME Church files (1945-1995) include church programs, financial reports, Sunday school materials, and information on special events, including Founder's Day, Men's Day, Women's Day, and A. Quinn Jones Day. Of particular interest is a folder of papers describing the history of the church. A related group of files, the General Church Papers (1919-1994), consists of materials pertaining to the AME Church, Freddie Jones' choir materials, handbooks, pamphlets, sermons, and miscellaneous religious notes and writings created by both A. Quinn and Freddie Jones.

The Correspondence files (1908-1994) cover a variety of topics, including Bethune-Cookman, FAMU, former students, education, and the family and friends of both A. Quinn and Frederica Jones. These files are grouped together because the Jones family labeled the folders as "correspondence." Additional correspondence can be found in several of the other groups in the collection.

The Miscellaneous group (1901-1997) includes awards, certificates, date and address books, financial papers, travel files, speeches, and memorabilia. Of particular interest are the hundreds of funeral programs, obsequies, and memorials of African Americans in Gainesville, Jacksonville and other communities in Florida. Many of these materials include birth and death dates, as well as biographical information about the individuals. Also included in this group are materials pertaining to civil rights, race, and ethnicity, including publications, conventions, and events.

The Organizational Affiliations group (1938-2006) consists of papers regarding A. Quinn and Freddie Jones' affiliation with organizations such as the Gainesville Council for Human Relations, the Masons, the Visionaires Club, and fraternities and sororities including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho. The files pertaining to the Visionaires document that club's activities over fifty years, and include the organization's by-laws, handbooks, meeting notes, programs, and other information.

The News Clippings (1953-2007) pertain to several people in Gainesville and Florida, including family members, friends of the family, church members, teachers, and other acquaintances. Some of the clippings cover race relations and civil rights, including desegregation and integration. The Audiovisual Recordings (1972-1988) include two videos of an Alpha Phi Alpha Founders Day Program "Dedicated to the Life of Brother A. Quinn Jones, Sr." Also included are audio cassettes pertaining to the life and career of A. Quinn Jones. The Publications group (1949-1992) includes issues of New South, The Sphinx, Time, Rattler Quarterly, and The Bulletin.

The Photographs group (1910-1993) includes prints and negatives of A. Quinn Jones, Freddie Jones, family members, friends and colleagues, members of the Visionaires, and several prominent people in the Gainesville African American community. There are numerous photos of Lincoln High School, class portraits, and class reunions.

The Scrapbooks and Memorabilia (1951-1993) group includes several scrapbooks pertaining to A. Quinn Jones, birthday celebrations, the Gainesville Council on Human Relations, the Visionaires, and memorials to various people. The memorabilia primarily consists of items pertaining to social organizations and fraternities, including the Masons, the Elks, and Alpha Phi Alpha. The memorabilia also includes family bibles, plaques, certificates, and miscellaneous objects received or collected by both A. Quinn and Freddie Jones. Note: The following titles in the inventory haves been retained in this finding aid to preserve historical context and access: "Growth of Educational Opportunities for Negro in Alachua County" (1959), “Pictures of Distinguished Negroes catalog from The Associated Publishers” (undated), and “Secondary Education For Negroes” (1932). Also, the current updated names for the “National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools” (National Education Association), the “Colored Parent Teacher Association” (National Parent Teacher Association), the “Florida State Negro Business League” (National Business League) and the “Journal of Negro History” (Journal of African American History) were added in parenthesis next to the older organization’s name.


  • Creation: 1901-2007



The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Some photographs in this collection are particularly sensitive to light. Please do not use flash photography or scan photographs present in box 36.

Biographical/Historical Note

A. Quinn Jones was born in Quincy in Gadsden County, Florida, on March 3, 1893. He attended elementary school in Quincy, and moved to Tallahassee to continue his education at Florida A&M College. Jones completed high school and college in seven years at Florida A&M, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1915. After graduation, he was encouraged by Florida A&M President Nathan Young, to accept a teaching position at the Sawdust School, a one-room school near Quincy. Between 1916 and 1921, Jones accepted other teaching positions in Marianna and Pensacola. In 1917, Jones married a Pensacola teacher, Agnes M. Smith, and over the next seven years they had four children, Vera, Lydia, Oliver, and A. Quinn Jones, Jr. His wife Agnes Jones passed away in 1928. He married his second wife, Frederica "Freddie" Jones, in 1937.

Pursuing a career in education, Jones earned a Master's in Arts degree in 1920 from Oskaloosa College in Iowa. In 1921, again with the encouragement of President Young, he moved to Gainesville to take the position of principal at Union Academy. The Union Academy was organized in 1866 under the auspices of the Freedman's Bureau, and later operated under the control of the Alachua County School Board. In 1923 the school, with Jones as its principal, moved to a new building located at NW 10th Street and 7th Avenue. It housed both elementary and high school grades, becoming the first African-American high school in Alachua County. Between 1924 and the 1925 school term, the school added senior high school curriculum. At the June commencement in 1925, Lincoln graduated its first group of eight students. Between 1925 and 1926, Lincoln High School became one of the first two African-American schools to attain state accreditation by the State Department of Education (the other being Central Academy in Palatka). The State Department of Education also authorized Lincoln High School to conduct a High School Training course as part of the high school curriculum from 1928 to 1931.

Jones worked towards furthering his education during the years he spent teaching in Gainesville, and in 1935 he received a second Master's degree from Hampton Institute in Virginia. Although he never earned a Ph.D., he completed studies towards the degree at the School of Education at New York University during the summers of 1936, 1937, and 1952. Jones also taught courses for both Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach during teaching breaks at Lincoln.

As an educator, Jones taught a variety of subjects, such as mathematics, science, language and Latin, and throughout much of his career, he was responsible for educating many of the state's future African-American teachers. Jones continued teaching until 1945, and served as principal until 1956. In 1956, a new Lincoln High School was constructed, and the original school was renamed the A. Quinn Jones Elementary School in honor of its first principal. Jones formally retired from education in 1957.

Jones was a resident of Gainesville for over 75 years, living for most of those years in the same house on the south side of the school that ultimately would bear his name. He was a member of the Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for sixty years, and served as Sunday School Superintendent for the church for over thirty years. He died in Gainesville in 1997 at the age of 104.

Frederica "Freddie" Marie Copper Jones was born December 7, 1903 in Fernandina Beach. She attended Bethune-Cookman High School from 1919 to 1923. She received a Bachelor of Science degree, with a specialization in the subjects of English and the Elementary School Course, from the Division of Education at Florida A&M College in 1931. She was a member of the first graduating class from Florida A&M University when she received a Master of Science degree in 1954. Freddie married A. Quinn Jones in 1937. She was a teacher at Lincoln High School from 1928 until her retirement in 1966. She was a longtime member of the Greater Bethel AME Church, serving as organist for the choir and Sunday school.

Freddie Jones also was a charter member of the Visionaires, an organization of African American women in Gainesville. The Visionaires Club was charted on February 24, 1938 at the home of Mayme Taylor Cook by eight young women for the purpose of fostering civic, cultural, and social affairs in Gainesville. Throughout its history, the club has sponsored projects and participated in activities designed to improve the quality of life for citizens in the community. Over the years, the group has helped to bring cultural and educational affairs such as concerts and art exhibitions to Gainesville. In addition, the group has donated funds to civic and charitable organizations and organized youth outreach programs to foster and encourage leadership among high school students.


22.75 Linear feet (45 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the life and career of African American educator, A. Quinn Jones, his wife Frederica Jones, and the African American community in Gainesville, Florida, concentrating on Lincoln High School and the Greater Bethel AME Church.


The A. Quinn Jones Collection contains 14 series.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by the family of A. Quinn Jones in 2006. Addition from the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center added in 2023.

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Processing Notes

The majority of the papers in this collection were not organized at the time of acquisition. Most of the documents were not stored in folders, and the few folders that did exist were often unlabeled. During 2007 and 2008, staff and interns in Special Collections organized and arranged the papers into the order represented in this description of the collection. Additional material was added to the collection in 2017.

This finding aid was revised in September 2022. Recognizing that historical terms do not always completely or directly map to contemporary terms, that historical terms can be offensive or inaccurately describe a person or group, and that the presence of both historical and contemporary terms may be useful for researcher discovery, the archivist has attempted to employ historical terms as they appear in the context of the collection in the description, along with contemporary terms in brackets.

A Guide to the A. Quinn Jones Collection
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff. Updated by Patrick Daglaris in 2017.
June 2008 (September 2023)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America