Mary Gibbs Jones


Mary Gibbs Jones, volunteer and philanthropist, was born of a pioneer family. Her father was a physician, and she grew up in Mexia. She attended Methodist College in Waco and married businessman Jesse H. Jones in 1920. During President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, Jesse Jones was chair of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a government agency established to help the country recover from the Great Depression. He later became Secretary of Commerce and was considered as a vice presidential running mate for Roosevelt.

The Joneses used their vast wealth in a number of philanthropic endeavors, and Mary Gibbs Jones spent much of her time in Texas and in Washington, D.C., volunteering her time to causes such as the Red Cross. She helped bring radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera Company to Houston and was a member of the opera company's general council. In 1937, she and her husband established the Houston Endowment, now the largest private philanthropic foundation in Texas, with assets of more than $800 million. In 1955, the board of the endowment gave $1 million to establish the Mary Gibbs Jones College for Women at Rice Institute (now Rice University).

Biography Source Information

Biographies are reprinted from the Foundation for Women’s Resources (now Women’s Resources), Dallas, Texas. They originally appeared in "From Gutsy Mavericks to Quiet Heroes: True Tales of Texas Women," video study guide, Austin: The Foundation for Women's Resources, 1997. Death dates have been added where needed.