SAH Newsletter

In Remembrance: Julie Jones (August 26, 1935–June 22, 2021)

by SAH News | Sep 17, 2021
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I was saddened to learn of the passing of Julie Jones, curator emerita of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and longtime SAH member and traveler. Those of us who had the great fortune of traveling with Julie on SAH Study Tours will never forget the love for learning and life that she shared with us all whether in Croatia, China, Cuba, or Japan. She was a wonderful traveling companion! Kind, lovely to chat with on the bus or at dinners, smart, funny, and so inquisitive. I had the great fortune to visit Southern China and Cuba with Julie, and I was always so impressed by her complete enjoyment of every moment of each trip (even sitting on a bus in China in stopped traffic at the Yangtze River for two hours because we couldn’t cross a very long bridge due to fog!) Several of our tripmates also shared remembrances with me, and I include a few here:

SOUTHERN CHINA (December 26, 2017–January 7, 2018)

“I've always thought of how she was full of curiosity and delight at whatever we saw on our trips in China, and always ready for a good laugh no matter how strange and unfamiliar the situation might be. Her smiles and spirits were so contagious. It was so much fun to be around her. My condolences to Julie’s family on their loss.” 

– Yan Wencheng

CUBA (December 1–14, 2018)

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“I have a great Julie memory: We got lost from the group in the Coppelia Ice Cream parlour. Understandably, I was confused with a Cuban citizen and Julie was with me, and as I was escorted to the "Cuban side" of the building, she grabbed my armed tightly. I could tell she was thrilled! You should've seen her mischievous smile! Once inside, we sat and ate our ice cream. The fact that we were in a hurry and separated from the rest of the SAH group did not bother her, she decided to enjoy her treat, very slowly!!! I was worried about the bus and the schedule, but not Julie! Julie wanted to savor the moment, the cold comfort of the ice cream and my company. She asked about me, she listened carefully, and she gifted me with a wide smile all throughout. We were late, I was apologetic, but Julie was just blissful.”

– Valentina Davila

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JAPAN (December 6–18, 2019)

“Julie is at Byodo-in a Buddhist temple that dates to 1052. This was outside the city of Uji, located 18km south of Kyoto. She had just watched a group of Japanese school girls crowd the edge of the lake for their own pictures. I remember I had told Julie about my mom and dad, married in 1948 in Tokyo, and their experience on their Kyoto honeymoon. I had their tourist map from that date and she was as interested as I am about the things that have changed and those that hadn’t in this historic city. It was just another occasion when I felt a strong connection to her.”

“The other picture from Japan is of Horyu-ji, which is a very old temple founded in 607. This photo is a favorite of mine because it shows my wife, Karen, in deep conversation with Julie. They often were. This place is just south of the city of Nara, Japan, and the picture was taken immediately before Julie lost track of time in the co-located "Gallery of Temple Treasures." The sun had set and all of us were ready to return to the hotel in Kyoto. Julie had continued to look at the art in the museum. Julie was on a wave of enthusiasm and appreciation; she would never have consciously inconvenienced anyone. All of us understood.”

– Paul McGuff and Karen Weitze

Julie-at-Horyu-ji-in-JapanJulie had an incredible career and life, and I encourage you to read about it at: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/washingtonpost/name/julie-jones-obituary?pid=199298409

https://www.doaks.org/research/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/historical-records/oral-history-project/julie-jones

The family has created an online tribute page for Julie where you can leave remembrances and photos: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/JulieJones/

My deepest condolences on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians to all of Julie’s family, friends, and colleagues. My life is enriched from having known her, and I celebrate her extraordinary life with you. 

Victoria Young
President, SAH

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