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J. Christopher Jones Papers

Identifier: Ms-1989-023

Scope and Content

This collection contains photocopies of the compiled writings of designer J. Christopher Jones. The collection includes copies of published articles, unpublished manuscripts, internal reports, and proposals concerning such subjects as streamlining, implications of automation, human error and accidents, and mechanization and design. The fifth volume in the series, titled "Dear Architects," consists of a set of open letters in which Jones addresses questions raised by students during his time as a visiting scholar at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's College of Architecture and Urban Studies.


  • 1950 - 1975


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

John Christopher Jones (also known as J. Christopher Jones, John Jones, Chris Jones, and John Chris Jones) was born in Wales in 1927, the son of Christopher John and Jennie Humphreys Jones. After attending Cambridge University, where he studied engineering, Jones began working at Associated Electrical Industries in Manchester, England and teaching industrial design courses at Manchester's Regional College of Art.

Throughout the 1950s, Jones published a number of works on the design process, culminating on his article "A Systematic Design Method." Jones advocated a user-centrist philosophy to the engineering process, bringing ergonomics to the forefront of considerations in the design process. In the 1960s, he established the Design Research Laboratory at Manchester University and taught a master's course in design technology. In 1962 he was a co-founder of the first Conference on Design Methods, from which grew the Design Research Society.

In 1970, Jones published Design Methods: Seeds of Human Futures, an authoritative work on the subject. The following year, he became the first professor of design at Britain's Open University. Since leaving that position in 1975, Jones has worked as an independent consultant, author and lecturer. He was a visiting scholar at Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies from 1974 to 1975.


1 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


The volumes in this collection are arranged in chronological order.

Source of Acquisition

The J. Christopher Jones Papers were transferred to the Special Collections from the Newman Library book collection in 1989.

Related Material

Bibliography of Jones' works, created by Tom and Claire Mitchell of Indiana University, archived version at, accessed Dec. 15, 2022.

Website of John Chris Jones,, accessed Dec. 15, 2022.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the J. Christopher Jones Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the J. Christopher Jones Papers commenced and was completed in March 2007.

J. Christopher Jones Papers, 1950-1975
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2007 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US