Indiana Jones Wiki

"You think your teacher is tough? Let me tell you, she's a pussycat compared with Miss Helen Seymour, Tutor Supreme!"
―Indiana Jones[src]

Helen Margaret Seymour was an alumna of Oxford University, member of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Victorian Order. She was the daughter of a minister and fiercely independent woman.[4] Many Oxford scholars were tutored by her, including Henry Jones, Sr. From 1908 to 1910 she traveled around the world with the Jones family as the tutor of Henry's son, Indiana on his father's lecture trip. She had one at least one cousin: Roger Seymour.


Years at Oxford[]

Miss Helen Margaret Seymour[5] taught Henry Jones, Sr. at Oxford University in the late nineteenth century, and later tutored his son Indy.[6] She was the daughter of a minister, and as a result, had strong Christian beliefs. This was in contrast to T. E. Lawrence, who attended Oxford during the period Miss Seymour was teaching there.[7] When not traveling with the Joneses, she lived in Oxford, England.

Lecture tour[]

In 1908, the Jones family visited her in Oxford to hire her to serve as Indy's tutor while they traveled the world on a Professor Jones' lecture tour. While at first she thought the young Henry Jones was far too young and a nuisance[4]–she had been a teacher of boys twice Indiana's age–the lure of world travel changed her mind.

Indiana Jones and Miss Seymour scaling a pyramid.

She accompanied the family to Egypt, where she and Indy met T. E. Lawrence, who invited the pair to a dig by Howard Carter.[8]

She also journeyed to British East Africa with the Jones family and went to the Kirinyaga safari camp, where she met President Theodore Roosevelt, whom she admired. She had an awkward moment in the camp shower when the senior Jones arrived to splash her with a bucket of water, thinking that the woman in the shower was Mrs. Jones. She tutored young Jones in African zoology, but when she dozed off, Jones slipped out to meet with his new friend, Meto, and track down the Fringe-eared Oryx.[9]

When the Joneses visited Paris, Miss Seymour took Indy to the Louvre where they met the young Norman Rockwell, and gave her student an assignment on Leonardo da Vinci. She took both boys to a puppet theater, but they convinced her to let them stay while she went home. When Jones didn't return to the hotel that afternoon, she called the Hotel Inspector, who also summoned the Police Inspector. When she discovered Indy the next day, she punished him by forcing him to read Les Misérables. When he escaped that night to go to a party thrown by Pablo Picasso, she discovered his absence, and a clue to his whereabouts. She went to Le Lapin Agile, where the Barman pointed her to the party. She entered the masquerade just as Henri Rousseau was telling a ghost story. Picasso took her aside, and drew two sketches of her, one in a realist style, and one in a cubist style.[4] Later that evening, Jones showed her the Degas painting, which Kahnweiler was interested in purchasing.[10]

Miss Seymour accompanied the Joneses as the tutor of the young Henry throughout the two-year lecture tour, and visited the countries of continental Europe and the Mediterranean, Egypt, north and eastern Africa, Tsarist Russia, British India and Imperial China among other parts of the world.

After the lecture tour[]

Around 1912, Miss Seymour came into wealth following the passing of her cousin and his son. She was bequeathed the Shalimar Diamond and with her newfound prosperity she sought to repay the Joneses for the opportunity that the world lecture tour had given her. She invited the Jones family to her home but commitments meant that only Indiana could attend. In April, they planned to journey to the United States on the Titanic. However, the ship met with disaster en route and sank, leaving Miss Seymour and Jones as one of the few to survive the experience along with Otto Dietrich.[11][4]

After the death of Anna Jones, Indiana and Miss Seymour traveled to Maine so his former tutor, on her first visit to the USA, could visit a friend.[12] Miss Seymour was present at the Jones residence in Utah—where the Joneses had moved to following Anna's death—when Indiana returned with, and subsequently lost, the Cross of Coronado. A week later, Miss Seymour and Indiana journeyed to the Yukon on the trail of Archibald Malloy's treasure.[13]

Later years[]

In May 1916, shortly after joining the Belgian army, Indy went to Oxford to see Miss Seymour, and introduced her to Vicky Prentiss who accompanied him. Miss Seymour invited them both to attend a dinner with her on the first night there, where Winston Churchill was also to be a guest. Prentiss caused a great deal of embarrassment to Miss Seymour when she flung some dessert on Churchill while in a heated debate with him over the issue of women's suffrage.

Indy received his call papers as soon as he returned to London. When he and Remy left for the war, Miss Seymour came down and met him at the train station to wish him luck and say goodbye.[14]

In October 1918, Miss Seymour fell ill and wrote a letter to Indy, hoping that he would put his talents and mind to good use and finish his education; she also asked him to reconcile with his father. She had hoped to live until the armistice, but died of influenza[15] in the days before peace was declared. After returning from the front, Indy arrived at Oxford only a week too late to see his tutor one last time, but received Miss Seymour's final letter from her maid.[16][4]

Personality and traits[]

Although conservative and emotionally reserved like most women born during the Victorian Era, and was frequently exasperated by Indy's irresponsible immaturity, Helen nevertheless came to love Indy dearly like a son. In his own later years, Indy recalled fond memories of Miss Seymour, as he told numerous stories from his youth.[17]

Behind the scenes[]

Actress Margaret Tyzack portrayed Helen Seymour in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

When additional bridging scenes were shot for My First Adventure in 1997, actress Valerie Varner played the non-speaking role of Helen Seymour.

Henry Jones, Sr. seems to reference Helen Seymour in Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars, the original script of what became Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. After hearing his son's story of his encounter with aliens, Henry remarks "The last time I heard a story like this, was when you were trying to get out of your Greek lessons...We were on the Carpathian off the Bay of Bengal and you told you[sic] tutor, you had just seen a sea serpent."



Notes and references[]

External links[]