H.G. Jones: The Librarian Gets Out
Jones had a huge
impact on the
he's still found
at work in the
so many trips
to the Arctic
that he's not
if the count.
It all started with a photograph of a tiny treeless village next to a fjord dwarfed by high, stark mountains and an imposing
icecap: Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, in what's
now the Canadian territory ofNunavut.
H.G.Jones, a North Carolina farm boy who
grew up to be an erudite scholar of South-
ern history, was off on a decades-long fasci-
nation with the Canadian Arctic.
Jones, curator emeritus ofUNC's North
Carolina Collection, saw the photograph in
a brochure in 1972. Something about that
picture resonated with him, and he just had
to see the place. So he went, alone, traveling
the last legs of the journey on tiny planes
- you can't get there by road - and he
has continued to go about once a year ever
since. At this point, he's made so many trips
to the Arctic - not just to Nunavut but
also to Alaska, Greenland, Siberia and else-
where - that he's not absolutely sure of
the count. It's about 50 trips, he thinks,
including 32 to Pangnirtung.
Now in his early 80s, he continues to
go, the past few years as a guest lecturer on
small cruise ships, and on every trip, he
adds to his collection of Inuit art. The walls
and shelves of his Chapel Hill home are
filled with more than 300 sculptures and
carvings and more than 200 of the limited
edition prints that Inuit art cooperatives sell
through annual catalogs.
One room of Jones'
house Is devoted
to the work of
Qappik. Jones has
the only complete
set in existence of
Qappik's work - 122
items at last count -
and a long-standing
friendship with the
artist, who is now in
his early 40s.
]u Iy/ A II< Us I 2005