Scope and Contents
The collection includes biographical information about Jones, including an unpublished biography by her great-granddaughter Jeanne S. Dunn; oral histories (audio recordings) of Jones' descendents; diaries, including transcripts; political essays by Jones, including anti-prohibition pieces; family photographs; and numerous scrapbooks containing clippings by and about Minona Jones, and about suffrage, women's rights, temperance, and prohibition. There is also a small amount of correspondence of her father Isaac Holden Stearns.
Dates of Materials
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Access
Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works in this collection created by Minona Jones. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.
Biographical / Historical
Sarah Minona Stearns was born in Abington, Massachusetts, the daughter of Catherine Miller Guild and Isaac Holden Stearns (1825-1897), physician and surgeon with 22nd Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War. She attended New England public schools and Oak Grove Seminary in Vassalboro, Maine, and completed her education at Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Female College. She studied medicine, and assisted her father in the Milwaukee National Soldiers' Home, where he was a surgeon. She married Robert Clarence Fitts of Leverett, Massachusetts in 1879. The couple had two children: Roy Field Fitts (1881-1961) and Minona Louise Fitts (Thompson) (1887-1976). Beginning in 1892, Fitts opened the Mitchell Heights Millinery Store. It was also around this time that she began to take an active interest in suffrage, women's rights, prison reform, and labor rights, and began attending political gatherings and giving voice to her own political opinions via lecturing and writing. In the mid-1890s, she organized the Milwaukee Equal Suffrage Association and the Waukegan Association, and served as president of both; was elected secretary to the Federal Suffrage Association; and in 1896 was appointed delegate to the 29th Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She also served as National President of the Race Betterment League, founded the No Vote No Tax League, authored the Woman's Declaration of Independence, and founded the Woman's Good Roads Movement in Illinois. In 1897, she left what had become an unhappy marriage and devoted all her attention to her political interests (the children were raised by relatives). The same year, upon the death of her father, she successfully took over advocacy for Civil War veterans through his pension claims business. It was also around this time that she met Frank Warren Jones, whom she married in 1905. Jones remained politically active throughout her life. In 1923, she moved to Spokane, Washington in order to be closer to her son and his family. Jones died in Spokane in 1926.
8 boxes (3.75 linear feet)