There is biographical documentation of Jones's life from 1928 to 1997, including papers relating to his appointment at the University of Aberdeen and the honours and awards he received. There are a few printed articles about Jones and several autobiographical drafts. Also of biographical interest is a long sequence of correspondence and papers assembled by Jones under the title 'Bouquets and brickbats' which reflect his many achievements and also some of his failures. A record of day-to-day activities is provided by a series of twenty nine pocket diaries which runs almost continuously for the period 1957-1979. There is also a significant collection of press cuttings, illustrating his public profile, and a sequence of invitations to various social events.
Jones's Second World War papers are of great interest since it is for his work in scientific intelligence during the War that he is best known. There is a significant quantity of wartime documents, many of which were used in the writing of Most Secret War. These include copies of the Air Scientific Intelligence reports he wrote during the War, copies of intelligence reports he received and captured German documents. Jones's work as a consultant to the Control Commission for Germany from 1948 to 1951 is also represented. In addition to the wartime documents there is also considerable material relating to the historical treatment of the Second World War, focusing on topics such as the German air raid on Coventry on 14 and 15 November 1940, Farm Hall and the Oslo Report, and on individuals such as Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Henry Tizard and Lord Cherwell. There is also correspondence with wartime colleagues, British veterans of the war and former members of resistance organisations.
Jones's career as Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, 1946-1981, is represented by correspondence and papers relating to the administration of his department, the Faculty of Science and the University. There are also records of Jones's teaching, with two significant sequences of manuscript lecture notes. Documentation of Jones's research topics and science interests at Aberdeen is arranged alphabetically by subject and includes correspondence with colleagues, drafts of publications and lectures, and manuscript and typescript notes. Research topics represented include aether drag, capacitance micrometers, crystal growing, optical levers and radiation pressure. There is also an interesting sequence of material on 'flying saucers', reflecting Jones's interest in unexplained aerial phenomena.
Jones's interest in defence and intelligence matters after the Second World War is documented including the Strategic Defense Initiative (commonly known as Star Wars) and warship design. There is also documentation of his interests in the history of science, for example James Clerk Maxwell and the history of infrared research, and educational policy, for example, university expansion and the teaching of science in schools. Of some insight into Jones's own thinking is a long sequence of papers assembled by him under the title 'Quacks', consisting largely of letters, circulars and pamphlets sent by numerous individuals and organisations.
There are records of visits made and conferences attended for the period 1948-1997. The material is divided up by country following Jones's own arrangement, with much relating to the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The papers for a number of countries also include general correspondence with friends and acquaintances living there. His German correspondents include several wartime opponents who later became friends. Societies and organisations material is extensive, reflecting his many professional and public commitments. His longstanding service to the Royal Society is substantially documented, particularly his work on the Paul Instrument Fund Committee and as an editor of Notes and Records. His service on numerous Government bodies is well represented, including the British Transport Commission, the Safety in Mines Research Advisory Board, the Electronics Research Council and the Infra-Red Committee of the Ministries of Supply and Aviation. There are also papers relating to Jones's attendance at International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences, together with correspondence about the activities of the Unification Church. Records of consultancy work by Jones include the scientific instrument manufacturer, Hilger and Watts Limited.
Jones's publications are represented by a chronological series of drafts of books, articles, letters to newspapers, obituaries, reviews, and other contributions by Jones, covering the period 1946-1997. These drafts reflect the wide range of his interests, but are especially strong on the Second World War, intelligence issues, scientific research and education policy. The most substantial accumulations of material relate to Jones's two major books, Most Secret War, and its follow up Reflections on Intelligence. The papers relating to this sequel also include drafts for a book covering Jones's experiences before and after the Second World War, which he proposed to call 'No Easy Chair'. Although plans to publish this autobiographical account were abandoned, the drafts nevertheless contain interesting biographical information.
Lectures, speeches and broadcasts material covers the period of about fifty years from the end of the Second World War to the final years of Jones's life. He was a highly accomplished public speaker and many prestigious lectures are documented, together with the numerous invitations he had to decline. There is also a significant quantity of material representing his radio and television broadcasts. These papers include transcripts of recordings and are particularly extensive for the 1970s when he took part in a number of programmes about his scientific intelligence work during the Second World War.
Much of Jones's correspondence was kept with other material relating to the same subject and is therefore to be found with Second World War papers, for example or with the material for particular visits, conferences, lectures and publications. His remaining correspondence files include significant sequences of correspondence with two friends, Sir Harold Hartley with whom he was associated in editorial work on Notes and Records and Henry Cobden Turner who helped to develop the radio proximity fuse and other devices during the Second World War.
Non-textual material consists largely of slides relating to the Second World War, research interests and the history of science. There is also a video cassette of the Memorial Service for Jones at King's College, Aberdeen in 1998.