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Mary Gardiner Jones Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Jones, Mary Gardiner, 1920-2009.
Title: Mary Gardiner Jones Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1964-1984
Quantity: 23.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner. Collection includes general and legal files, correspondence, speeches, and memorabilia.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Mary Gardiner Jones (1920-2010) was a Federal Trade Commissioner and attorney. Her family had a long history of public service dating back to the 17th century, including her aunt, Rosalie Jones, who was a Senator's wife and suffragette, and the first woman lawyer to pass the District of Columbia bar exam.

Ms. Jones attended private schools and graduated from Wellesley College where she studied history and political science. She taught briefly at the George School (near Philadelphia) then in the 1940s joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1946 she entered Yale Law School, one of only two women in her class, where she was Law Journal editor and Order of the Coif. After graduation, her interest in policy issues and in international and antitrust law eventually led to a position with the Justice Department's Anti-Trust Division (1953-1960).

In 1960 she left to take a position as antitrust litigator with the New York law firm of Webster Sheffield, where she worked for four years. In 1964 the Johnson Administration, who under Johnson's leadership was actively recruiting talented women for various positions, was searching for a politically-neutral candidate for Federal Trade Commissioner and offered her the appointment. In an oral interview in 2003, Ms. Jones recalled her first months in office:

I knew the antitrust side. I didn't know anything about the consumer side. I learned the consumer side and then I developed an agenda. Being the only woman on the Commission, I was constantly invited by small consumer groups to speak. I wouldn't have known a consumer if I fell over one in those days, but I learned...

As she grew more comfortable in her role, Jones began to alter the focus of the FTC.

I suddenly realized that the purpose of the FTC up to that time had been to try and educate business as to what its responsibilities were...[and] I suddenly realized that what we needed was to have consumer supporters and to have them know what their rights were. We started to turn this around. We began to issue guidelines that talked to consumers about what their rights were and how they could exercise them.

Jones strove to get the FTC more involved in social justice issues, such as the higher prices and questionable marketing practices experienced by low-income inner-city consumers. During her tenure the Commission produced the Kerner Report, a study done just after, and partly in response to, the Watts Riots of 1965, which explored fraud, deceptive pricing, the resale of installment contracts, and other inner-city problems. The FTC also brought a series of cases in an attempt to address some of these practices that primarily affected the urban poor. She saw the FTC as "a very small, but significant tool to impact these larger issues." She also campaigned vigorously, and successfully, to get the FTC the power to impose sanctions on businesses rather than being limited to simple "cease and desist" orders. Two of the most useful sanctions were corrective advertising and ad substantiation (documentation of claims prior to using them in advertisements), both of which significantly strengthened the FTC's ability to act on the behalf of consumers.

Jones was a frequent and talented speechmaker for the FTC, capable of "throwing away" a speech in the middle of it if it wasn't working for her audience or for her purposes. Her speeches often concerned inner city problems but she was also deeply interested in the cultural and social impact of advertising on American society.

After leaving the FTC in 1973, Jones taught briefly at the University of Illinois' law and business schools. In 1975 she became vice president in charge of consumer affairs for Western Union, which brought her back to Washington, D.C. for seven years until she officially retired in 1982.

Recognizing the shift in consumer dissatisfaction from products (cars, clothing, false advertising) to services (health care, insurance services), she then founded the non-profit Consumer Interest Research Institute, which existed briefly before folding due to lack of funding. However, the Alliance for Public Technology, of which she was co-founder and president, throve in the technology-rich environment of the early 1980s, and still actively promotes consumer interest in telecommunications today (2007). In 1998 she became President of the Mental Health Association of D.C. where she instituted programs as diverse as children's services and mental health education for senior citizens in African-American churches.

Jones is the author of numerous articles and papers as well as 21st Century Learning and Health Care in the Home: Creating a National Telecommunications Network and the autobiographical Breaking Down Walls, One Woman's Triumph. In 2003 she received the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award from the National Consumer's League for her efforts on behalf of consumers. She is also the recipient of distinguished service awards from the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, an honorary member of the American Home Economics Association, and was the Colston E. Warne Distinguished Lecturer at the Association of Consumer Interests (1992).

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mary Gardiner Jones Papers includes materials from her tenure as a Federal Trade Commissioner from 1964-1973. Material is arranged in eight series.

General files contains subject files on a variety of topics. Circulations consists of circulations produced by the FTC. Proposed upgraded ADP system contains material relating to the FTC's adoption of an automated reporting system in the late 1960s. Printed material consists of miscellaneous printed matter.

Correspondence includes official and personal; correspondents include government personnal (congressmen, the Federal Bar Association), professional organizations (American Association of University Women, American Political Science Association, National Council of Jewish Women, National Industrial Conference), media and marketing organizations (New York Times, Marketing Committee, National Association of Food Chains), academic institutions (Emory University, Northwestern University, Cornell Law School, Yale Law School), and individuals (David Buswell, Leon Sullivan, Don Wilmer). Companies represented in Legal files include American Cyanamid Company, Campbell Soup Company, Firestone Tire and Rubber, Standard Educators, and Zale Corporation.

Memorabilia contains awards and appointment books, scrapbooks, and an oral history. Writings contains speeches, opinions, articles, unidentified fragments, and a taped interview.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Copies of two books were found to be duplicates of items already in our holdings and were deacessioned. These were The Regulators: Watchdog Agencies and the Public Interest (1969) by Louis M. Kohlmeier, Jr. and Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States (1927) by the Government Printing Office.

Audiocassettes of oral history have been digitized. Please contact the repository listed above for more information.

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Subject Headings


Jones, Mary Gardiner, 1920-2009.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Federal Trade Commission -- Officials and employees.


Consumer protection -- United States.


United States -- Politics and government -- 1963-1969.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1969-1974.

Genres and Forms

Appointment books.
Speeches (documents)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mary Gardiner Jones Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Bulk of collection, gift of Mary Gardiner Jones, 1968-1973.

Binders of speeches and opinions, scrapbooks, oral history recording, gift of Charles Watkins, 2010.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MPK
Date: 20 Nov 1978
Revision history: 24 Jul 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 6 Oct 2010 - adds, M10-086 (MRC); 8 Mar 2012 - added altformavail (MRC)

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Note on alternate formats:

Audiocassettes of oral history have been digitized. Please contact the repository listed above for more information.

General files
American Association of University Women
Box 1 Miscellaneous (3 folders)
Box 1 Area Representative
Box 1 I.C. Arts
Box 1 Association Day April 21, 1968
Branch meeting
Box 1 1967 (Sep-Dec) (4 folders)
Box 1 1968 (Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec) (10 folders)
Box 1 1969 (Jan-Jun) (6 folders)
Box 1 Branch reports
Box 1 Regional conference 1966
Box 1 IC education
Box 1 Emerging issues 1970
Box 1 IC-Gap
Box 1 General
Box 1 Implementation chairmen (2 folders)
Box 1 Juvenile reports
Box 1 Law and citizen committee (2 folders)
Box 1 Law and citizen program material 1966-1967
Box 1 Legal comments
Box 1 Meeting on programming for 1968-1969
Box 1 Meeting times questionnaire
Box 1 Membership
Box 1 Newsletter
Box 1 Notices regarding meetings
Box 1 Pending reports
Box 1 Possible speakers
Box 1 Program chairman
Box 1 Program chairmen
Box 1 Program material
Box 1 IC values
Box 1 Speech 15 Sep 1965
Box 1 Workshop on Urban Problems
American Home Economics Association
Dallas, Texas
Box 2 Drafts and notes
Box 2 Requests for speech
Box 2 Completed speech
Box 2 Correspondence
Box 2 Wisconsin material
Box 2 American Home Products Corporation
Box 2 American Motors Corporation
Box 2 Appointments
Box 25 Baum, Daniel J. - binder containing typescript of paper, "Public participation in Federal Trade Commission Proceedings"
Box 2 Beatrice Foods
Box 2 Books requested by Mary Gardiner Jones
Box 2 Boston College 12 Apr 1966
Box 2 Brookings Institute
Box 2 1967-1969 (3 folders)
Box 2 Helen Nelson
Box 2 Canton Advertising Club
Box 2 Carvel Corporation
Civil Rights Documentation Project
Box 2 Dr. Vincent Brown
Box 2 Judge J. Skelly Wright
Box 2 Clippings
Box 2 Community Blood Bank of Kansas City Area
Box 2 17 Feb 1969
Box 2 31 Oct 1969
Box 2 2 Dec 1969
Box 2 12 May 1970 (did not attend)
Box 2 Consumer Protection Task Force
Box 2 Core - real estate deceptions
Box 2 Council on Community Affairs
Box 2 D.C. Bar Association
Box 2 Dean Foods Company
Box 2 John Douglas
Box 2 FBA-BNA Briefing
Box 2 Georgetown visitation 25 Apr 1967
Box 2 Great Books Group
Box 2 Hatch Act
Box 2 Howard University 28 Apr 1966
Box 2 International Student Service
Box 2 Interns
Box 2 FTC matters (Federal Trade Commission)
Box 2 9 Jan 1966
Box 2 2 Mar 1971
Box 2 Kirkpatrick party 28 Feb 1973
Box 3 Legal Aid
Box 3 John V. Lindsay
Box 3 McCrindle - real estate
Box 3 Media 11 Dec 1967
Box 3 8 Mar 1968
Box 3 16 Mar 1970
Box 3 16 Nov 1970
Box 3 Morgan Guaranty Survey
Box 3 Nathan, Frederic
Box 3 National Association of Food Chains (3 folders)
Box 3 Neighborhood Consumer Information Center (NCIC)
Box 3 New York State Bar Association
Box 3 North American Van Lines
Box 3 Notes
Box 3 12 Jun 1968
Box 3 25 Jun 1968
Box 3 18 Feb 1969
Box 3 12 Aug 1970
Box 3 Photo
Box 3 Practicing Law Institute
Box 3 Project Outreach
Box 3 Rabb, Bruce
Box 3 Radio Station WGMS
Box 3 Reading Requests
Box 3 Receipts
Box 3 Rochester, New York
Box 3 Sherman Act Commission
Southwest Legal Foundation 16 Sep 1967
Box 3 Correspondence
Box 3 Completed outline
Box 3 Notes
Box 3 Staff problems
Box 3 Ibrahim B. Tejan
Box 3 To Tell the Truth
Box 3 Turner, Don
Box 3 Visitors interviews
Box 3 Montgomery Ward
Box 3 Washington Ethical Society
Wellesley College
Box 3 Alumnae magazine
Box 4 Club
Box 4 College 25th Union Gift Fund
Box 25 White House Conference on Library and Information Services 1979 - printed vinyl case containing 3 audiocassette tapes and brochure for publication, "Dialogues on the future of library and information services"
Box 4 White House staff recommendations
Work papers
Box 4 Coca-Cola
Box 4 General Foods
Box 4 Grolier Inc.
Box 4 Grove
Box 4 Interstate Builders
Box 4 National Dairy
Box 4 Rodale Press
Box 4 Spiegel, Inc.
Box 4 State Credit Control Board (2 folders)
Box 4 Woman's World TV appearance 2 Jun 1965
Box 4 Apr-Jun, 1967 (6 folders)
April 4-10, 12-28
May 24-31
Jun 1-20
Box 5 Jun-Dec, 1967 (14 folders)
Jun 22-29
Jul 1-31
Aug 1-31
Sep 1-30
Oct 1-31
Nov 1-30
Dec 1-15
Proposed upgraded ADP system
Box 5 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Printed material
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Box 25 U.S. Merger Cases - small binder with reprints from Congressional proceedings
Box 6 Miscellaneous (4 folders)
Box 6 Chronological file 1969-1972 (14 folders)
Reading file
Box 6 Apr 1966- Sep 1967 (4 folders)
Box 7 Oct 1967-Oct 1973 (12 folders)
Box 7 American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Box 7 American Home Economics Association
Box 7 American Management Association
Box 7 American Political Science Association
Box 7 American University (AU)
Box 7 Baltimore, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Box 7 Book review
Box 7 Buswell, David
Box 7 Cigarettes
Box 7 Civil Service Commission
Box 7 Committee
Box 7 General
Box 7 1964-1970 (5 folders)
Box 7 Public: Article Christian Science Monitor
Box 7 Education
Box 7 General correspondence
Box 8 Luncheon
Box 8 Mailing list
Box 8 Research foundation
Box 8 Congressmen, communications with
Box 8 Cornell Law School
Box 8 D.C. (District of Columbia) Bar Association
Box 8 Emory University
Box 8 Fan mail
Box 8 Federal Bar Association
Box 8 Field office
Box 8 Georgetown University
Box 8 International anti-trust speech
Box 8 Acceptances
Box 8 Refusals (6 folders)
Box 8 Marketing committee
Box 8 Media group
Box 8 National Association of Food Chains
Box 8 National Council of Jewish Women
Box 8 National Industrial Conference
Box 8 New attorneys - greetings
Box 8 New York Times
Box 8 Northwestern University
Box 9 Office 1967-1970 (3 folders)
Box 9 1964-1970 (9 folders)
Box 10 1970-1973 (8 folders)
Box 10 Personal 1964-1969 (6 folders)
Box 10 Personnel Club
Box 10 Practicing Law Institute 1965, 1970 (2 folders)
Box 10 Referred to chairman
Box 11 Referred to staff 1968-1973 (8 folders)
Box 11 Rochester, New York
Box 11 Request
Box 11 San Francisco
Box 11 Leon Sullivan
Box 11 University of Southern California
Box 11 Vanderbilt University
Box 11 George Washington
Box 11 Washington Wellesley
Box 11 Wellesley College
Box 11 Don Wilner
Box 11 Women's Bar
Box 11 Women's City Club
Box 11 Yale Law School
Box 11 Zonta Club of Washington
Legal files
Box 12 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box 12 American Cyanamid Company
Box 12 Burlington Industries
Box 12 Campbell Soup Company
Box 12 Crowell-Collier Publishing Company
Box 12 Eastern Detective Academy Inc.
Box 12 Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
Box 12 Julius W. Hobson
Box 12 LaSalle Extension University
Box 12 Merit Distributing Company
Box 12 New York Jewelry (6 folders)
Box 13 The Portwood Company
Box 13 Standard Educators, Inc.
Box 13 Stanley Works
Box 13 Star Office Supply Company (2 folders)
Box 13 Universe Chemicals, Inc.
Box 13 Zale Corporation
American Bar Association (ABA)
Box 13 Robinson-Patman, Los Angeles, California
Box 13 Williamsburg (notes)
Box 13 House Subcommittee on Small Businesses and Robinson-Patman Act
Box 13 Kennedy Subcommittee
Box 13 National Commission on Consumer Finance
Box 13 Awards (3 items)
Box 13 Appointment books 1963-1972 (14 volumes)
Box 29 Oral history (5 audiocassettes) (ID#: jones_mg_001 through 006)
Box 26 Scrapbooks 1964-1971 - includes blue binder labeled "Miss Jones Personal," with letters of congratulation on her reappointment and carbons of her replies (9 volumes)
Box 28 Scrapbooks 1971-1973 (3 volumes)
Box 27 Scrapbooks 1973-1984 (2 volumes)
Box 25 Opinions 1964-1973 - red binders (7 volumes)
Box 14 Speech lists and assortment
Speeches and articles
Box 14 1964
Box 27 1964-1966 - red binder
Box 14 1965 (5 folders)
Box 14 1966 (13 folders)
Box 28 1966-1967 - red binder
Box 14, 15 1967 (10 folders)
Box 15, 16 1968 (45 folders)
Box 28 1968 - red binder
Box 16-18 1969 (32 folders)
Box 28 1969-1970 - red binder
Box 19, 20 1970 (29 folders)
Box 28 1970 - red binder
Box 21, 22 1971 (23 folders)
Box 27 1971 - red binder
Box 23 1972-1973
Box 27 1972-1973 - red binder
Box 29 1975-1977 - white binder
Box 27 1977 and unpublished - binder
Box 29 1979-1983 - white binder
Box 24 Fragments
Box 24 Taped interview

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