Richard Foster Jones

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Richard Foster Jones (July 7, 1886–September 12, 1965) was a professor of English at Stanford University, and executive head of the university's English department. His research interests included early modern English literature (especially Sir Francis Bacon), the history of science, and the writings of Jonathan Swift.


Born in Salido, Texas, he was the son of Samuel J. Jones, an educator who had been the head of Salado College before it closed, and who, following the college's closing, established in its former building the Thomas Arnold High School, a private academy which he headed from 1890 until 1913.

Following his graduation from his father's school, Richard Foster Jones attended the University of Texas, from which he received a bachelor's degree in 1907. He then went on to Columbia University, where he received a master's degree, and a doctorate in 1918. Jones joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1919 and remained at that school until 1945, by which time he had risen to the position of Dean of the Graduate School.

Though Jones spent only the last seven years of his academic career at Stanford, his name is closely associated with the school. Stanford's Jones Room, a meeting and reading room for students in Stanford's creative writing program, is named for both Richard Foster Jones, who established the program, and his brother, Dr. E. H. Jones, who financed the program's establishment and whose E. H. Jones Endowment has been the primary source of the grants provided to recipients of the program's Stegner Fellowships.


  • Ancients and Moderns: A Study of the Rise of the Scientific Movement in Seventeenth Century England
  • Ancients and Moderns: A Study of the Background of The Battle of the Books. St. Louis: Washington University Studies, 1936.
  • Bacon, Francis. Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis and Other Pieces. New York: Odyssey Press, 1937, editor
  • The Seventeenth Century: Studies in the History of English Thought and Literature from Bacon to Pope. Stanford University Press, 1951, (with others)
  • Triumph of the English Language. Stanford University Press, 1953.