February 18th, 2008
Myrtle Jones was born in Winder, Georgia in 1913 to Reverend Vianous Vespiew and Mary Glover Braddy. She had two sisters, Mildred Braddy Rogers and Moriene Braddy Wells. Jones was married two times: for 17 years to Southwood “Smut” Jones. That marriage ended in a divorce, which was followed shortly after by his suicide. Her second marriage was to Leonard “Bill” King. They were married for 15 years before he died of cancer in 1983. Myrtle Jones had no children. She began her artistic career by attending classes at the Telfair Museum of Art and at Armstrong Junior College (now Armstrong Atlantic State University). She considered herself to be largely self-taught, though she was a student of Emil Holzhauer and Rubin Gambrell. Local artist Hattie Saussy served as Jones’ mentor and friend. Jones is best known for her paintings of portraits and cityscapes. She died in Savannah on February 15, 2005 of natural causes at the age of 92.
The Myrtle Jones Papers, MS 002, 1933-2002, consists of 8 cubic feet of material, which document the personal and professional life of the Savannah artist. Arranged in four series, personal, professional, writings, and newspaper clippings, these papers illustrate Jones’ life and work as a largely self-taught artist, her involvement in Savannah’s art scene, ambition to be a published author of fiction, personal investment in the downtown historic preservation movement, and personal relationships.
The Myrtle Jones Visual Materials Collection, VM 002, 1900-2000, consists 10 cf. arranged in seven series, which illustrate Jones’ personal life, work as an artist, and her relationship to the city of Savannah. The series include slides, photographs, Savannah Experience, transparencies, negatives, artwork, and photo album, and items are arranged topically within each series.
The collection also includes materials from her studio including her easels, studio sign, and paint brushes. There are several video and audio tapes with interviews of her and of others, some of which were used in compiling materials for her book, A Savannah Experience: an Artistic Expression of My Life in Savannah.