By KRISTEN GREEN ’14
Ruth Nagel Jones ’42, daughter of famed film star Conrad Nagel and an important philanthropist of the Los Angeles community, died on June 14. On Dec. 8, Wellesley will hold a tribute honoring Jones in the Ruth Nagel Jones theater in Alumnae Hall, for which Nagel Jones provided funding.
Jones, who was an English major at Wellesley, donated the black box theater space, which was converted in the late 1970s. The theater holds about 200 people, providing a more appropriately intimate space for student productions than the large 1,500-seat Alumnae Hall.
Perhaps Jones’ decision to donate the dramatic space stems from her family’s involvement in theater. Conrad Nagel came to Hollywood in its early years, appearing first in silent films such as “What Every Woman Knows” (1921) and “Bella Donna” (1923). His first screen appearance was as Laurie in the 1918 version of “Little Women.” Nagel later went on to play opposite Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson and Marion Davies in various films throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Nagel helped found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which he was the third president. He also hosted the Oscars three times, first in 1930, then in 1932 and 1952.
Jones herself was an accomplished member of the Los Angeles community. She helped found Blue Ribbon, a women’s organization that works to support The Music Center of Los Angeles’ community outreach and education programs. Jones was also a member of The Colleagues, a charity organization that raises funds for Children’s Institute, Inc. in order to help Los Angeles children who are victims of violence and abuse.
The tribute to Jones’ life and achievements will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Kristen Green is a senior studying political science and Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @greengreen_kris.