US philosopher, historian, and social reformer. A prolific author, he was best known for the four volumes he published (1905–21) on the history of Quakerism and related religions. A militant pacifist, he was widely admired for his work with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which he helped found in 1917. During World War II he directed the AFSC's many activities on behalf of refugees; for this work the AFSC shared (with its British counterpart) the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.
Born in South China, Maine, the child of devout Quaker parents, he attended Haverford College (BA 1885, MA 1886) and chose to devote himself to understanding and promoting Quakerism. He taught at Quaker preparatory schools before returning to join the faculty of Haverford to teach philosophy 1893–1933. He was a minister of the Society of Friends from 1890 and was much in demand as a preacher and speaker. He founded the Quaker periodical American Friend which he edited 1893–1912. He was chair of the AFSC 1917–28 and 1935–44, and succeeded in having overseas service with the AFSC count as an alternative to US military service. He directed the AFSC's many projects in the years between World War I and World War II – helping refugees, sufferers from famine, and those caught up in revolutions. The AFSC was one of the few non-Jewish organizations that intervened to help Jewish victims of the Nazis and Jones himself went to Germany in 1938 to obtain some cooperation from the Gestapo. By the end of his career he had effectively reinvigorated the US Quaker community through both his activities and intellectual efforts.