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"I, Henry Jones, have been granted an opportunity to find that prize of the centuries, that shining object of man's spiritual yearning since the time of King Arthur – the Holy Grail.
From this day I devote my life, my fortune and my scholarly efforts to the fulfilment of this awesome commission.
―Henry Jones' grail diary.[src]

Doctor Henry Walton Jones, Senior was a Scottish professor of medieval literature, expert on Grail lore, the father of the American archaeologist Indiana Jones, the husband of Anna Mary Jones and the former pupil of Helen Margaret Seymour.

Despite getting Indy into the world of archaeology by taking the his family on an educational tour across the world, Jones had a difficult relationship with his son, which worsened following the untimely death of Anna in 1912. The two drifted further apart after World War I but when the Joneses were reunited during their search for the Holy Grail nineteen years later, near-death experiences for the both of them at the hands of the Nazis undid their estrangement and strengthened the connection between father and son.

Over the years following the Grail crusade, Henry Sr. occassionally accompanied Indiana on other adventures which included a pursuit of the Spear of Longinus towards the close of World War II, and he later filled in for the younger Jones as professor at Barnett College in 1947. He hoped his son would eventually settle down but passed away in 1951 before that could come to be.


Early life[]

"He was never giddy, even when he was a schoolboy."
Indiana Jones[src]

Henry Walton Jones[6] was born in Scotland on December 12, 1872.[2] Jack Williams was a childhood friend,[7] and when he was five years old, Jones would go swimming in the loch. At least once, he ran away from home.[8] He went on to be educated under the tutelage of Helen Margaret Seymour at Oxford University,[9] where he developed friendships with Marcus Brody,[1] Richard Medlicot[5] and Eric Scythe.[10] In addition to Oxford lecturer, Professor Nigel Wolcott was also one of his mentors.[10] Henry graduated from university in 1893, and his relationship with an American woman named Anna led to marriage in 1898.[2]


Jones and Anna presenting their son with Indiana.

That year, on April 2, while living together in New Haven, Connecticut, Jones beheld a vision. As he prepared a gloss for a colleague's seminar that evening, his wine glass rose before his eyes and filled the study with a glow. It transformed into the Holy Grail and a disembodied voice informed him that he would seek the treasure like the knights of old. The next day, firm in the belief he had been given a quest, Jones began his Grail diary and dedicated his life to finding the cup of Jesus Christ, though he didn't have any clues about any names for cities or deserts that could be the Grail's resting place.[11]

A year later, Jones and Anna had moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where their son Henry Walton Jones, Junior was born on July 1.[2] Their union also produced a daughter, Susie, but illness took her life early.[12] However, a new addition to the Jones family would come in the form of Indiana, an Alaskan Malamute puppy who Henry and Anna introduced to "Junior" in the crib. When Henry Jr. had first learned to walk, he demonstrated the ability by somehow finding his way up the roof of the family house, which forced his father to climb up after him.[13] Although his son grudgingly enjoyed the story,[14] Jones often told Henry Jr. about the marvelous feats of the Greek hero Heracles as bedtime stories during his childhood.[15]

In 1900, Jones took a teaching position as professor of medieval literature at Princeton University.[2] In the August of that year, he headed for Massachusetts to attend the conference of the Association of American Medievalists but was disappointed to find his paper on the Grail was met with embarrassment, skepticism and ridicule by his peers. Nevertheless, he ignored their encouragement to pursue a more "serious" subject, and continued his research traveling in the summer of 1905 to visit Europe, including Oxford, where he met Marcus Brody; during his voyage he attempted to inspire other scholars on Grail research.[11]

When he'd returned to America, Jones saw the first "fruit" of the "seeds" he planted; he received a letter from Brody on November 14 which held the promising news that an abbey in Brittany contained a text which treated the Grail as an historical genuine artifact.[11]

Jones made plans for the family to visit France for confirmation the following year. While there, he found a text tracking the Grail's last known resting place in Iona, until it was sacked by the Vikings; a monk also told him where he would find other artifacts related to the legend. That July, while the professor wrote of his findings from an inn in Cantanez, the actions of a rebellious son armed with a slingshot forced the Joneses to find accommodation elsewhere.[11]

The following week found the Jones family at Klasenheim in Austria-Hungary as Henry followed up the monk's information. He traveled to a castle where he saw a painting made by a Franciscan friar who supposedly met a knight of the First Crusade who had found the Grail with his brothers "in a canyon deep in a range of mountains." Logic told him the tale was rubbish—the legendary knight would have had to have been over 150 years old when the image was made—but Jones's spiritual side saw it as confirmation of the Holy Grail bestowing eternal life. However, he would not continue his grail diary for another six years.[11]

World lecture tour[]

By 1908, Jones had produced books which led to him being invited to take a two year long world lecture tour.[9] Beginning in May, he would be speaking at various institutes around the world on the topics of the medieval chivalric code and the Holy Grail.[16] Jones brought his wife and son with him, believing the experience to be a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity for young Henry Jr. Believing her to be the best, he decided to hire his old Oxford University tutor Miss Helen Margaret Seymour so that Junior did not miss his studies. As such, their first port of call was to her home in England. Still living in the city of Oxford, Miss Seymour was introduced to the boy but declined Jones' offer. Seymour eventually relented after the professor enticed her with the chance to see several exotic locations, and the group began the two year stretch.[13]

Henry mfa

Professor Jones, 1908.

They crossed the Mediterranean and landed at Alexandria in Egypt before moving on to Cairo where Professor Jones lectured at the university. It was in Egypt where Jones imparted a thick journal to his son to chronicle his journey, and allowed Junior and his tutor to accompany Thomas Edward Lawrence to his first adventure. Some days later Junior and his tutor reunited with Professor and Anna Jones before departing Egypt for the next leg of the tour: Morocco.[13]

Arriving at Tangiers, the family was met by London Times journalist Walter Harris, an old school friend of Henry staying in the country, who had arranged for the Joneses to meet with the Sharifa Emily Keene. It was soon time for the family to move on to Ouezzane, where Professor Jones was due to give a lecture for the Moroccan Sultan but the Sharifa allowed one of her slaves, Omar, to be Junior's playmate for the rest of their stay in the country.[13]

The Joneses arrived in Ouezzane as guests in Harris' home. Determined to see the minister's severed head on display for displeasing the sultan, as heard by Harris, Junior snuck out his Latin studies the moment his parents and teacher departed, and left the house with Omar. During their walk they were abducted and loaded back onto the camels and taken all the way to Marrakesh. During his long absence, Henry and Anna were worried sick, and Harris promised to find him; catching their trail, he bought both Indy and Omar back. With the Moroccan leg of the lecture over, the family returned to the Sharifa.[13]

In September, the Joneses arrived at a coffee plantation in British East Africa near Nairobi at the invitation of one of Professor Jones' old classmates, Richard Medlicot. From there they were invited to go on safari with Former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was there to collect specimens for the Smithsonian Institution, and Frederick Selous, the best game hunter in Africa. The family traveled with Medlicot to Kirinyaga via train. Medlicot even arranged for a special seat on the front of the locomotive so that the young Jones could watch the wildlife as they traveled. During one of his long absences, Junior was finally found by one of the Askari guards. Taken back to camp, he was punished and not given a chance to explain. Over breakfast, Indy announced that he and Meto had found a small herd of Fringe-eared oryx that Roosevelt was looking for.[17]

In France, Jones and his wife were separated from Junior as Miss Seymour escorted Indiana around Paris, "The City of Art".[17]

When Professor Jones decided to attend the first Psycho-Analytical Conference being held in Vienna, the family stayed at the American Ambassador Richard Kerens's residence. After discovering that Junior had taken the daughter of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Princess Sophie for ice-skating, Professor Jones was angered and withdrew him from his riding lessons, with Anna explaining to the boy that the royal family had many enemies and what they did wasn't safe for Sophie.[18] The next evening at dinner, the Joneses were joined by Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Sigmund Freud, who got into a discussion about the role sexuality plays in the makeup of human nature.[18]

Jones and his family then traveled to Florence, Italy where they stayed with Professor and Senora Reale. They attended an opera written and conducted by Giacomo Puccini. Unknown to Henry, during his week-long absence in Rome, Anna had a brief courting with Puccini, but she ultimately refused to abandon her husband and when Henry returned to Florence he was surprised and happy to see his wife had come to meet him at the train station.[18]

In 1910, the family traveled to Russia, where Jones's first significant rift with his son occurred. The Akhmatovs, Henry's friends, invited them to their daughter's wedding. Indy tried to behave himself and enjoy the wedding at the same time, but failed to do so. He leaned against a cart with crystal on it which sent it crashing into a passing waiter. Indy's father took him out into the hall to reprimand him. He told Indy that he was to stand in the hall and not move, however, Indy disobeyed him. As he walked into an adjoining room, Indiana accidentally brushed against a handle attached to the rope a huge chandelier was hanging from. The handle came unlocked and the chandelier crashed down onto the wedding cake. Indy's parents looked on in disbelief and his mother took him to his room. Indy apologized to his mother, but she told him that his father would deal with him in the morning. Indy, feeling he was being treated unfairly, climbed down a gutter drain outside his window and ran away.[8]

For the following days, Henry went from regret at bringing the boy on the trip to desperation for his son's return. While Indy's parents were looking in on a bedridden Miss Seymour, who had taken ill, a hotel clerk knocked at the door to tell them that Indy had been found. Anna made Henry promise that he wouldn't be too hard on the boy. The Joneses arrived at Tolstoy's estate and were reunited with Indy who apologized for running away. Before he could reply, Henry spotted Leo Tolstoy and was amazed. Indy introduced his parents to Tolstoy. The Joneses left Russia for Athens, Greece. While on the train, Professor Jones blamed him for Miss Seymour's condition. Indy said he hated his father.[8]

After arriving in Athens, Henry took Junior and his mother to see the Parthenon, however, Anna decided they should return to the hotel to look in on Miss Seymour. The next day, Anna left to visit her sister at a spa for the weekend and left Indy to accompany Henry on his research trip. Both father and son did not like the fact that they were stuck with each other. Henry said that he had to go to the hanging monastery in Kalambaka, but Anna said that he'd have to take Indy with him. Henry tried to argue that it was dangerous, but she disagreed. After she left, Henry lectured him on his behavior and said that he had enough work for Indy to keep him busy throughout the weekend.[8]

Indy henry parthenon

Jones educating his son in Greece, 1910.

Upon reaching the site of a theater, Henry gave instructions to the cab driver in ancient Greek, but Indy wasn't sure that he understood properly. Indy's father told Indy that this was the birthplace of Philosophy and explained to him the fundamentals of it. He told him of Aristotle's teachings of logic in a system called syllogism. He demonstrated by using a stick as a sword and acting out a fight. He fell to the floor seemingly dead. As Indy rushed to his side, he jumped up and said that all men are mortal which is a general truth. He is a man, ergo he is mortal which is a specific truth. He then said that Socrates was a man, ergo Socrates was mortal which is a syllogism. This, he told Indy, was an example of Aristotelian logic and that deductive logic is the key that will unlock the great mysteries of our universe and our very existence. The questions that Aristotle asked marked a turning point in the history of mankind. These thoughts set us apart from all the other creatures in the world.[8]

They then went to leave, but Indy found that the cab was gone. His father pointed to a cab and said that that is logically their cab. Their cab was parked there; this cab was parked there now; ergo that was their cab. They got in the cab and took off. They soon realized that the driver was not the same and they were kicked out of the cab. They began trekking to the monastery on foot. On the way, Indy's father continued to lecture to Indy about the ancient Greeks.[8]

Eventually a horse and buggy approached and they managed to get a ride. Henry tried to continue lecturing over the sounds of the chickens in the buggy and another rider's wind flute. They were dropped off still far away from the monastery looking completely disheveled. They bathed in the ocean to clean up. However, a group of goats ate holes in their clothes. They arrived in a nearby village wearing nothing but pieces of a bush and a suitcase respectively and managed to get some very "native" looking clothes from the peasants. They managed to get a lift from a man named Aristotle whose donkey pulling the cart was named Plato.[8]

Aristotle asked Henry if he was interested in politics. When Henry said no, Aristotle called him an idiot. Indy was shocked, however, Henry explained that the English word "idiot" comes from a Greek word meaning "one who is not interested in politics". Indy's father and Aristotle soon got into an argument about democracy. Henry said that Greece was the home of democracy. He explained Plato and Aristotle's system of government. The three began getting confused about what they were arguing about since Henry was constantly talking about what Aristotle and Plato said and the driver kept thinking he was talking about him and his donkey. Aristotle kicked Henry, "the raving democrat," out of the buggy. Henry walked alongside while Indy refused to get out of the cab. He said that if this was really a democracy like Henry argued then he could stay in the cab if he wanted to.[8]

They eventually arrived at the hanging monastery which was situated at the top of a mountain and got into a cage which would be raised up the side of the mountain by the monks above. On the trip Henry was bothered by the height and was sitting completely still. They were greeted by the monks and told that the following day the monks would be cloistered and would keep a vow of silence for the following two days. After dinner, they were shown to their room which was basically a closet with one hard bed. The next day, Henry translated texts in the library and made Indy look up Aristotle's laws of syllogism and write three pages on the nature of Aristotelian logic and its relation to causality.[8]

Indy henry twf

Stranded in the elevator

Later in the day, Indy and Henry said goodbye to the monks at the elevator cage. The monks headed off to begin their vow of silence and Indy gave Henry his report. They boarded the cage and began to be lowered down. Henry read the report on the way down and said it was good although he didn't agree that wisdom is greater than logic. The cage stopped and Indy's father stepped out to find that they were only halfway down. He managed to grab hold of the cage as he fell and climbed back in. Indy began to suspect the worst, thinking that the monks had stranded them there so they would starve to death. They yelled for help, however, no one answered. The sun began to set and the temperature starts dropping. They started a small fire using pieces of wood from the cage, however the cage itself caught on fire. While trying to put out the fire, Henry accidentally broke a hole in the floor of the elevator.[8]

The next morning, they began to doubt that the monks would find them and tried to devise a plan on how to save themselves. Henry attempted to climb up the rope that the cage was hanging from, but only got a few feet before his fear of heights froze him in place. He slid back down the rope and burned his hands in the process. The rope then began to fray. Indy said they needed to be logical to get out of the predicament. He reasoned a ladder is made of wood and the cage was made of wood; ergo their cage was a ladder. They broke off pieces of wood and rope and made individual ladder rungs that could be fastened to the rope above and then unfastened once they had climbed above each rung. Henry made it past the part of the rope that was fraying and barely managed to grab hold of Indy and the rope snapped and the cage plummeted to the ground.[8]


Jones embraces his son.

They reached the top of the mountain cliff and found that the monk working the pulley controlling the cage was knocked unconscious when the pulley fell from the roof. Indy and Henry laughed as the tension was released and shared a hug. Relieved that their ordeal was over, the two traveled back to Athens, deciding not to share the details of the adventure with Anna and Miss Seymour, but exclaiming through a syllogism that they had a great time together as father and son.[8]

They traveled eastward to India and China, where Junior became ill with Typhoid fever while Jones was away visiting the famed scholar Yen Fu, as he had particular interest in reading his translation of the Arthurian legends into Chinese.[12] Soon after Junior recovered, the Jones family returned home.[16]

However, Anna developed scarlet fever which led to her death in May of 1912.[2] She had kept the illness from her husband until all Jones could do was mourn her.[1]

Resuming the quest[]

"This is an obsession, dad. I've never understood it. Never. And neither did mom."
Indiana Jones[src]
Henry 1912

Henry's interest in the Holy Grail deepened over time.

Following Anna's death, Henry and his son relocated to the city of Moab, Utah,[1] and Henry began work at the Four Corners University in Las Mesas, Colorado.[16] Henry's relationship with his son had always been difficult, but Anna's untimely death caused him to withdraw even further into his studies, and the gulf between father and son widened.[1][19][20] Junior enrolled the Boy Scouts of America, who regularly explored the area. Knowing that his father knew about medieval legends, Junior tried to get his father to come along one day with them so he could tell to the scouts the history of the caves and the ancient people who used to live there, but as usual, Henry was too busy to be bothered by a bunch of kids, though his other reason was that he wasn't expert in North American archaeology.[14]

Henry's friend G. Codirolli visited him in Utah and loaned a 13th century parchment found in Constantinople which represented a stained glass window with some Roman numerals and Coptic alphabet.[11] Around that time, an excited Junior burst into their home while being chased by a group of treasure hunters for the Cross of Coronado, but Henry was so absorbed in his studies that he only cared about Junior's behavior, and instructed him to count to ten in Greek.[1] Later that day, he hosted Codirolli, and did not pay much heed to Junior's narration of the morning's adventure.[11]

In 1914 during conference at San Francisco, Henry's friend Carruthers showed off his acquisition of a "genuine 15th – century Inca funeral urn" but Henry pointed out the inscription saying "Made in Japan", embarassing him.[11]

In June, Jones managed to get a lot of research done in Turkey when the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. With talk of war in the air and the chance Turkey would get involved, Jones decided it was best that he and his son leave, not wishing to risk any danger to the boy or Indiana's friend, Herman who had joined them on the trip.[21]

In September of that year, Jones and his son traveled to Greece in search of clues to the location of the Grail, and a month later they moved back to Princeton.[2] Though not for long. With the fighting that had broken out in Europe four months earlier, Jones was now separated from the sources of his medieval research as most of the great libraries and collections were in the war zone. Unperturbed, Jones decided to journey to the west with Indiana, where Asia held information on Marco Polo. There in China, in the November, father and son wound up entangled in events surrounding a bejeweled dragon statue sought after by various groups when it was hidden in the Joneses' luggage.[22] In December, Indy and his father traveled to India where he met and befriended Prince Kasim Khan.[23]


Henry Jones in 1916

By 1916, Jones had resumed his teaching duties at Princeton University, while his son attended high school locally.[24] During spring break, Jones took his son to New Mexico to visit relatives, but during the trip, Junior and his cousin Frank found a ride into Mexico and got caught up in the Mexican Revolution.[20] While in Mexico, Henry Jr. managed to send a letter to his father.[9] During the war, father and son were severely estranged. The senior Jones never received direct communication from his son, though was able to pass messages through third parties. Jones related the news to Miss Seymour, who was surprised to be visited by Indiana the following May in Oxford, telling her that he was on his way to join the Belgian army in order to participate in the war in Europe. Seymour insisted that Indy should write to his father at once, and made sure that his letter was delivered.[25]

In August, Henry visited a Philadelphia conference. There, Carruthers and his peers would ridicule Henry by calling him "Sir Galahad" and looking for "Santa Claus", an experience that shook Henry's faith in being the one to find the Grail.[11]

Sorbonne professor Jacques Levi in Paris, a friend of Henry and personal friend of the Minister of War helped Indy take a leave from the trenches around October of the same year. Henry sent Levi a letter asking him to keep Jones away from his duties and perhaps dissuade him from continuing the foolishness of the war in order to pursue his academic studies, even if not at Princeton.[4]

Around 1918 Indy told to his friend, Ned Lawrence, that he did correspond with his old tutor, but he had not enough time to write also to his father; Ned scolded Indy on his indifference and suggested that Indy should not further estrange himself from his father.[26] Shortly before her death and the end of the war, Seymour wrote a letter to Indy, asking him to reconcile with his father.[27]

Henry 1919

Henry Jones Sr. 'welcoming' his son in 1919.

When Indy returned home in 1919, Henry Sr. acted nonchalant, which saddened his son. He reacted as if he had never left, and was always seen with a book or newspaper in hand, even during dinner. Henry found a job for his son with Dr. Robert Goddard in order to gather money for his studies, and had notified Dean Daly in preparation of Junior enrolling at Princeton University. Indiana, however, neglected to mention that he was still intent on attending the University of Chicago.[28]

Tensions arose when Indy failed to return home in time for dinner. Another dinner ended up in fight, as they disagreed about the recent Treaty of Versailles, which Henry regarded as "the latest settlement in the traditional European nation-state conflict" and dismissed his son's view that times were changing as romantic.[28]

Henry flat out refused to engage in conversation about whether he was angry with Junior for joining the war but their arguments escalated to the point where Indiana accused Henry of having never cared about him or his mother, and that the only moment he felt he had a father was during their time in Athens and the hanging monastery.[28]

Father vs son

Another dinner ending in tension.

After that night, Henry was met in his study by Indiana who expressed his regret at the pair not having talked more. Deciding it was what his wife would have wanted, the elder Jones agreed but he was surprised to see that Junior had a suitcase waiting in the hallway. On discovering that his son was ready to leave for Chicago, instead of attending Princeton, Henry turned cold despite the letter he had once sent Indiana agreeing he could attend the university of his choice. Henry returned to his work and simply directed his son close the door when he left.[28]

The two had little contact with each other over the following twenty years, including a brief occasion when they had a quiet drink before 1938.[1]

Travel to Europe[]

"What you taught me was that I was less important to you than people who had been dead for five hundred years in another country. And I learned it so well that we've hardly spoken for twenty years."
Indiana Jones[src]

Alone again, and with the Great War over, Henry was free to resume his pursuits in Europe. His "legitimate" scholarship had gained sufficient recognition that he had been granted tenure at Oxford, despite the academic community regarding his Grail quest as "obsession". In 1920, Henry left Four Corners and traveled to Europe aboard the George S. Pilkington. There he was talking to a young lady on a promenade deck he met at dinner with his thoughts on romance – until he realized that the woman was the same age as Junior.[11]

In London, he combed the Arthurian collections in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library, where Marcus Brody helped him. He introduced him to Jesuit Brother Matthius who redirected Henry to the works of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen who contain Grail references. Professor Hawken had died, but Henry was allowed to see the Abergavenney manuscript.[11]

The next day Henry and Brody left for Wales to make further investigations. Eventually in Mochdref he heard a local folk legend about Taliesin. After impressing the locals by quoting some of Taliesin’s verses and by matching them in drinking contests at the Purple Dragon inn, a shepherd narrated a verse describing the Grail. However Henry ended the evening roaring a medley of Yale college songs and the next morning Henry woke in jail. It took Brody most of the morning to find his way there to pay his fine.[11]

Later that year he was found in Switzerland, the Abbey of Sankt-Gallen and in its library found the volume of Saint Hildegard where she described the Grail. The manuscript had a line of music with the annotation "The Tunes to open the Tomb", which Henry believed referred to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He also noted some illuminations of twelve images, that matched 15th rather than of 12th century art. Henry did not know that this information outlined the keys to the tomb of Sir Richard.[11]

During a brief visit to Bingen, he found nothing that yielded a clue to the musical notes in the St. Galen codex, and felt a dismay seeing the devastation wrought by the war.[11]

He finally arrived to Bologna and met his old friend Codirolli who brought to him the testament of the Franciscan monk who painted the Crucifixion painting he saw at Klasenheim. The testament read that the monk knew where the Grail was and wrote about "to feel the breathe of God and live, to tread upon the word of God and be saved, ore to walk the path of God and not tumble into the abyss". Codirolli also gave him an 10th century account from Kiev of a Byzantine merchant about the Grail. Henry connected this information to the fragment he found at Cantanez about the Vikings having stolen the Grail and the possibility that they had taken it to Russia.[11]

He concluded his journey by visiting the Balkans, Turkey and even Middle East and the Holy Lands where he had an encounter with Lady Eleanora Ferrers-Lansdowne which impressed him. However he returned home disappointed of his long journey, aboard Atalanta in 1921, hoping that he would visit again the Old World.[11]

Return home[]

In 1923 he was surprised to receive a letter from Lady E who narrated an account by Richard Burton about a Sufi who knew how the Grail looked and that it was kept "eastward from the city" and one had to pass Three Trials to see it. [11]

Henry started to make a map, based on all the accounts; the legends of Klasenheim spoke about "in a canyon in the midst of a range of mountains" and Nur el-Din al-Musafir placed it near the source of a river which he reached after traveling south from an oasis". He decided to start searching in atlases to find a map [11]

While still in Princeton in 1927, Henry learned that Robert Hawe discovered the Gospel of Joseph of Arimathea in an excavation of Kozra. He believed that it may prove to have some connection with Codirolli's Coptic cipher.[11]

When Henry fell upon a journal reference to the death of Codirolli, he also read of an Indiana Jones working alongside Chicago's Abner Ravenwood in Sinkiang. He was hurt by the younger Henry's adoption of their dog's name, but the professor sent a letter care of Ravenwood in hopes of reaching his son nevertheless.[11]

By the spring, Henry Sr. had moved out of his old Princeton home and instead resided in New York.[29] The following year found Henry in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he saw the Hawes papyrus, written in Coptic and after a cable from Brody's in 1930, Jones traveled to Salisbury to study the newly found chronicles of Saint Anselm. Henry read notes again about challenges to pass: Breath, Word and Path of God, consistent to his other sources. It also made a mention that a Knight's Tomb was in the Queen of "Dalmatia" which led Jones to Yugoslavia but he had no other trace of the Grail.[11] Sometime afterwards, Brody suggested Indy to go back to live with Henry for a while after contemplating leaving the National Museum due to René Emile Belloq stealing the Uppsala Scroll from them, but Indy refused and persisted on pursuing Belloq instead.[30]

Back in Princeton by 1932 Henry received a letter came from Wolfgang S. Staubig to tell him about The Book of the Spells of Merlin found in Dubrovnik. His account provided some connection to the Kaffa manuscript. But now Henry had ten conflicting descriptions for the Grail, an enigmatic map and a cryptic reference to a knights' tomb "in the queen of Dalmatia" that may be opened by a musical phrase. [11]

He continued to read news of Junior, who by that time was after "the demon monkey of Laeng-Tran" – that was said to possess some sort of occult power.[11]

In 1933, Jones was no longer teaching at Princeton University. Ironically, at that time, his son was.[31] However, Jones Sr. once again held a position there by 1935, and his office was receiving mail on Indiana's behalf while in the South Pacific.[32] Soon after, Jones sent a cable to Indy about his concerns for his son's constants flights across European borders with the increasing tensions in the area between nations.[33]

Quest for the Holy Grail[]

"You call this archaeology?"
―Henry Jones, Sr.[src]

Later years saw Jones move to 25 Pine Road in Ferndale, New York.[1] Meanwhile, by 1937, Indiana had further dissociated from his father, telling to Victoria Keith that, by not having a family, he could turn his affection to something else such as archaeology, no matter the odds or risks.[34]

Towards the end of that year, Jones was hired by wealthy industrialist Walter Donovan to recover the Holy Grail. He was provided with a luxury suite in the Plaza Hotel by Donovan who showed him the Franciscan monk's chronicle with an incomplete tablet which three brothers left as a "marker" to seekers of the Grail. Henry made a copy of it but he needed to find the tomb containing the second marker.[11]

Eventually Henry understood that the cryptic reference in the Anselm manuscript referred not to the Dalmatian coast of Yugoslavia, but the "Queen city of the Sea of Dalmatia" – Venice – where the knight's tomb was located.[11]

Donovan asked him to lead his research team. As soon as he extricated himself from obligations at Princeton, he flew to Berlin and meet some Dr. Schneider. Fearing that Donovan may have Schneider begin the investigation without him, Henry decided to keep his insight about Venice to himself.[11]

Jones found out that Dr. Schneider was a charming woman scholar named Elsa and together they traveled to Venice to search for the tomb of a grail knight, believed to be buried in or near the city. He conducted his research in Library of San Barnaba, an old library that was formerly a church. His relationship with Schneider resulted in an affair, but Schneider talked in her sleep, which made Jones realize that she was actually a Nazi spy. He then mailed his grail diary to his son, hoping to keep its information out Nazi hands. Afterwards, Jones was captured by Nazi agents and taken to Castle Brunwald in Austria.[1]


Henry's search for the Grail continued in 1938.

Upon learning of this in 1938, Henry Jr. (now known even professionally as "Indiana") traveled to the castle and rescued his father from his prison cell. However, Indy was soon captured through the deceit of Dr. Schneider. Henry and Indy then discovered that Donovan was also working for the Nazis. Father and son soon escaped from the castle and traveled to Berlin to recover the grail diary, before leaving via a zeppelin to Athens. During the flight, Indiana found the opportunity to express his frustrations over Henry's presence during childhood. Henry countered that he had been a good father and gave his son the opportunity there and then to talk about anything Indy wanted. Taken aback by the prompt, Indy responded only with a small laugh, unable to think of anything.[1]

It was not long before they were forced to evacuate the airship on a biplane. Traveling through Europe, the pair met up with Sallah then journeyed to find the Canyon of the Crescent Moon outside of Iskenderun and stop the Nazis.[1]

During a Nazi attack, their car was destroyed and Sallah complained it belonged to his brother-in-law before the senior Jones was captured by the German soldiers and placed in a tank along with the captive Marcus Brody. While Jones managed to defeat a soldier in the tank with a pen, Colonel Ernst Vogel apprehended Jones. After managing to break free, Jones used one of the tank's guns to blow up a vehicle full of Nazis, shocking Brody. Jones defended himself by reminding Brody that they were at war.[1]

With the tank running toward a cliff edge, Indy, on horseback, managed to save his father and Brody, and leapt off the vehicle before it plummeted into the ravine below. Henry mournfully looked upon the burning wreckage below, regretting his estrangement and distance from his only son; only to have him approach from behind, battered but alive. Tearfully, Henry Senior embraced Junior in a warm and loving hug for the very first time in his adult life, finally mending the wounds caused so many years before.[1]

Henry drinks from the grail indy

Henry drank from the Grail.

Reaching the Grail Temple, the elder Jones was captured along with Indy, Sallah, and Brody. Donovan shot Henry, Sr. to force Indiana to retrieve the Grail in order to save his father's life. Indy passed through the lethal traps of the Grail Temple, and eventually returned with the Grail, which was used to heal Henry's fatal gunshot. After Dr. Schneider caused the temple to collapse and fell to her death in a chasm trying to reclaim the grail, Henry convinced his son to let the grail go in order to save his son, no longer addressing him as Junior, but instead as Indiana. Reconciled and restored as a family, they escaped the temple with Sallah and Marcus.[1]

As they prepared to depart with their horses during Hatay's sunset, when asked by Indy what he had found inside the Temple of the Sun, Henry responded that the quest for the Grail had provided illumination.[1] However, while they rode back to civilization, Henry inwardly admitted that he should have stayed to remain as the guardian of the Grail, but was too weak and unworthy, among other things.[35][36]

At some point, Henry became aware of Indy's engagement to Marion Ravenwood the year prior. Although the marriage was called off and nothing seemed to have come from it, much to Henry's dismay,[37] Jones unknowingly became a grandfather for the first time with the arrival of Marion's son Mutt Williams, born Henry Jones III,[38] in July 1938.[2]

Later years[]

"You know, sharing your adventures is an interesting experience."
―Henry Jones, Sr.[src]

Jones is caught in a trap.

Professor Jones joined his son on an excavation in Egypt in 1939 and almost lost his life when the reckless actions of their companion, Dafoe, set off a spike trap within the tomb of Pharaoh Azudab the Great. Dafoe was skewered through the heart but Jones narrowly avoided the same fate when the spike's tip was stopped by the water bottle he was carrying inside his jacket. Afterwards, the Joneses found Azudab's hoard of gold.[39]

The professor also assisted Indiana in chasing a pair of artifacts stolen from them in South America by the Nazis. His cooperation proved vital in their recovery.[40] In the summer of 1941, Jones was visited by Indiana at his home in Ferndale. With his friendship with Harold Oxley strained, Indiana sought his father's assistance in deciphering the hieroglyphics he'd found on a Mayan stela in Mexico.[37]

Henry explained that no-one among the living could translate the markings. Instead, he pointed his son toward the secret library in Vatican City where he believed the works of ancient Greek scholar Solon could help. Professor Jones then made a phone call to Italy, to a friend of his in Rome who could give Indiana access to the library.[37] By 1943, Jones had retired from teaching medieval literature.[41]

In March 1945, Jones was a lecturer at the annual Holy Grail lore conference held in Glastonbury, England when he was approached by several men interested in the Spear of Longinus. Realizing that Dieterhoffmann and his son Seigfried were probably Nazis, he wrote to Indiana, who was supervising a dig in Ireland of the potential danger. Indiana arrived, with his assistant Brendan O'Neal. At Wearyall Hill, the elder Jones explained the lore of the spear, and with the help of Edwina Cheltingham (who ordered Jones to not pick leaves from the Holy Thorn), they realized that the Nazis still needed wood from the Holy Thorn to complete construction of the spear. Hoping to question Seigfried alone, Jones invited the young seeker to meet with him at the Chalice Well. Jones interrupted Seigfried who was having a vision of the Spear, and confronted him about Nazi ambitions for the ancient artifact. Kept from escaping by the younger Jones and O'Neal, Seig professed ignorance, which the elder Jones believed. Dieterhoffmann arrived and captured his son's interrogators. Despite his admiration for Jones' scholarship, Dieterhoffmann ordered them to be killed after revealing the details of his plans. The interruption of a tour of schoolgirls led by Cheltingham allowed Jones, his son, and O'Neal to escape - with part of the spear tip. Later that night, the three saw the mysterious blond woman in the small chapel below the Lady Chapel at Glastonbury Abbey, who commanded that the three must guard the spear. Cheltingham arrived with a car and driver, and gave O'Neal a sprig of the true Holy Thorn.[35]

Indy henry spear

Before the Spear of Destiny

While escaping to Wales, Jones watched his son avoid a bullet aimed at his chest - deflected by the power of the spear tip. The elder Jones tried to impress their driver, Rebecca Stein, with his knowledge of the Welsh countryside, but she shrugged off his advances since she was only interested in Jewish men. After a flat tire forced them to stop, Jones was captured by Dieterhoffmann when their pursuers caught up to them, and he watched in shock as his son was tied to a rock and thrown from the cliff into a lake.[35]

Taken to the ferry at Holyhead by the Nazis, he dove into the water to safety when O'Neal's sudden appearance created a diversion. He retrieved a small sailboat, in which he picked up O'Neal and his son, who had tried and failed to also save Stein. He handled the rudder of the sailboat as they crossed over to Ireland, keeping the boat under control when a mine left by a submarine knocked O'Neal overboard. Helping get O'Neal and his son back into the boat, he noticed that the spear tip pointed the way for them to go. They navigated to Ireland, and sailed up a river, where Jones and O'Neal headed off to the dig site, while Indiana left to rescue Stein.[35]

Dry inside the mound, Jones listened to O'Neal's stories about the Spear of Lugh, a legendary Celtic weapon, and recognized similarities between it and the Spear of Longinus, as described in Le Morte d'Arthur, - and realized with O'Neal that the weapons were one in the same. After Indiana returned with Stein, the Nazis also arrived, and the partially assembled spear was completed when the final piece of the spear tip flew from Dieterhoffmann's pocket to attach to the rest of the spear in O'Neal's hand. The Spear flew around the room, killed a Nazi soldier and the cave started to crumble. When O'Neal stepped on a spiral, which shrieked, Jones recognized it as the Stone of Fal. After the spear hit O'Neal in the chest, Jones stepped forward and seized it, preventing it from causing further harm to O'Neal. As Jones held it up, the sunrise of the equinox shone into the mound, illuminating the spear in his hands. Jones watched as the spear tip appeared to bleed, though his son, not a believer, was unable to see it. As Dieterhoffmann fell dead and Seigfried began praying, Jones dropped of the spear when the mound started to collapse again. Jones helped Stein get O'Neal to safety while his son dragged Seigfried out of the cave. Seig, in a moment of rapture, expired, and Jones quoted a line from The Quest of the Holy Grail regarding Seig's passing.[35]

In 1947, Henry acted as substitute teacher for his son at Barnett College while his son was away, and he had a hatred of "godless" Communists.[42]

Death and legacy[]

Dad photo

Framed photo of Henry on his son's desk in 1957.

Henry Jones died four years later in 1951, bemoaning that Indiana had never settled down.[2] Indiana kept a photograph of him on the desk of his Bedford home in 1957.[38] He also inherited a chair which he couldn't bring himself to sit in,[43] and his father's watch, which he wore during his search for the Antikythera in 1969.[44]

Posthumously, the elder Jones became the father-in-law of Marion Ravenwood in 1957[38] as originally intended.[37] He was grandfather for a second time with the arrival of Indiana's daughter Sophie,[45] and again with the several children Indy went to sire eventually.[46]

In 1992, Indiana looked back on his father as a very smart man who was adored by his mother.[9]

Eventually, the CIA redacted a confidential file about Henry Walton Jones, Senior. They would go on to release it on April 17, 2003.[47]

Personality and traits[]

"Grail lore is his hobby."
Indiana Jones[src]

Henry Jones was claustrophobic,[29] suffered from musophobia[1] and was also scared of heights.[8] He expressed a hatred towards graverobbers for their looting of archaeological sites.[14] After his wife's death, Jones privately admitted in his diary that he feared he was unfit to raise a son alone.[11] As a teacher, Indiana Jones defined his father as "the one the students hope they don't get", nicknaming him "Attila the Professor".[1]

A conservative person, he dismissed the entire Treaty of Versailles as just "the latest settlement in the traditional European nation-state conflict".[28] He hated both Nazis[1] and Communists,[42] calling the former "goose-stepping morons" that "should try reading books instead of burning them"[1] and the latter "godless".[42] Even after mending his relationship with his son, Henry often was at odds with Junior in issues like politics or family life, as Henry insisted Junior to settle down and give him grandkids even though Indy didn't feel ready to do so. He also didn't trust the American government, dismissing them as a gang of New Deal has-beens and illiterate boobs.[37]

Jones was the author of several books in the field of medieval history. The success of two of his books allowed him to travel on a world tour (1908-1910), giving lectures to his fellow historians.[13] Despite his knowledge, however, he admitted that North American archaeology wasn't his field of expertise, reason for which he turned down lecturing Boy Scouts.[14] He also wasn't an expert on Maya culture like Harold Oxley was.[37] Jones also taught his son how to employ a lighter to reveal hidden marks in a blank paper.[48]


Jones encourages his son to chronicle his adventures.

Some of Jones' works included:

One book which he wrote but did not publish was his Grail Diary. He also had an interview published in The Byzantine Crusader and wrote an article for Princeton Review.[11]

In addition to his native English,[1] Jones was able to communicate in broken Italian.[37]

Behind the scenes[]

"He even said in the film that he's not the kind of father that says, 'Eat your food, go to bed, brush your teeth!' He's not that kind of guy at all. He's a very liberal parent for the 1900s."
Lloyd Owen[src]

Henry Walton Jones, Senior was portrayed by the late Sir Sean Connery and Alex Hyde-White in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hyde-White played the character briefly during the film's prologue, and his lines were dubbed by Connery, who played the character later in the film.[1] Lloyd Owen later portrayed a younger version of the character in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.[9] Henry Jones, Sr. ended up being actor Corey Carrier's favorite character of the series.[50] The character's middle name, Walton, which he shares with his son, is also the middle name of George Lucas and his father.

Sean Connery was cast in the role of Henry Jones, Senior due the fact that director Steven Spielberg was a fan of the actor due his portrayal of the titular British spy of the James Bond film franchise, having always wished to make a Bond film but only with Connery.[51] However, the late Gregory Peck[52] and former Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee[53] were also considered for the role in case Connery turned it down. Connery had been reluctant initially to accept the part as he is only twelve years older than Harrison Ford, but eventually took the role, portraying Jones, Senior as an older man while Ford played a character younger than himself. It was Connery who came up with the idea that both Indy and his father had been in a relationship with Elsa Schneider, and he originated the line "She talks in her sleep" for Last Crusade, which wasn't in the film's script.[54] Connery liked the idea of playing Indy's father a la Sir Richard Francis Burton, making him more academic and active to allow the audience to realize that Indy came from his father's genes while still behaving like a Victorian father.[55]


Alex Hyde-White at the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade set.

For the 1912 flashback sequence of the film, Alex Hyde-White was hired as the younger Henry Jones by the casting director Mike Fenton after sending in two video auditions: one was a regular video test and the second was the same scene played again but with his back to the camera. To prepare for the role, Hyde-White went horseback riding in Alamosa, Colorado the day before filming to get in the spirit and was given an audio cassette of Connery saying the lines which were intended to be dubbed over. Despite all of the characters present in the scene, Hyde-White only worked with the late River Phoenix, regarding working with him as a singular experience.[56]

In order to play Henry in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Lloyd Owen watched many of Connery's movies and imitated Connery's voice along with wearing brown contact lenses during the series' first production. However, during the second production, the TV movies and the newer bridging segments, Owen can be seen with his own blue eyes. Owen was cast to portray Henry Jones, Sr. at an age corresponding to the nine-year-old Indy as played by Corey Carrier, but is actually a year younger than Sean Patrick Flanery, who appeared opposite Owen in two episodes of the series (Flanery — like Ford — was playing a character younger than himself).[57]

Following Last Crusade, Lucasfilm Ltd. implemented a publication guideline that restricted the usage of Henry Jones, Sr. in the Indiana Jones Expanded Adventures. However, Dark Horse Comics writer Elaine Lee later pitched for the character's inclusion in Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny, and despite her proposal meeting with some hesitation in the authorization process, Lucasfilm authorities liked the idea which allowed Lee to include Indy's father in the story.[58]

Connery retired from acting in 2005, but was later asked to reprise the role for a cameo appearance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Connery opted out, however, stating that he found retirement too enjoyable,[59] despite his previous interest in returning for another film.[60] Henry was included in early versions of the screenplay respectivelly written by Jeb Stuart and Frank Darabont,[61][62] though Kathleen Kennedy stated that same year that she didn't know if Jeff Nathanson's script included Henry back or not.[63] After a conversation with Spielberg, Connery recommended that the character of Henry Jones be killed off as Indy's father wasn't too important in the film's story.[64] Earlier drafts had Henry Jones giving Indy a hard time for not providing him with grandchildren,[54] an idea The Complete Making of Indiana Jones author J. W. Rinzler later implemented in his subsequent novel Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai.[37] In the final film, Indiana looks at a picture of Henry and mentions that he had died prior to the movie's 1957 setting, which was established as having occurred during 1951.[38] In Dark Horse Comics' comic book adaptation, while the picture is absent, Henry still gets a mention.[65] Ultimately, the role that Henry Jones, Senior would have filled was rewritten for the original character Charles Stanforth; but in the end, Lucas decided that Connery's absence "turned out better", because Crystal Skull's story "didn't work in a way he could be in the whole movie".[66]

Lewis Macleod voiced Henry Jones in the Nintendo Wii co-op mode of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings.[40]

The Grail Diary replica from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure mentions that Henry Jones was 45 in an entry dated 1921.[67] However, according to the later canon, he would be 49 that year as established by Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide.[2]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989 junior novel
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Paris, October 1916"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, "British East Africa, September 1909"
  6. The opening narration to My First Adventure reveals that Henry Jones and his son share the middle name, Walton.
  7. Race to Danger
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 Travels with Father
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Young Indiana Jones and the Journey to the Underworld
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 11.23 11.24 11.25 11.26 11.27 Grail Diary
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Peking, March 1910"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 My First Adventure
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade novel
  15. Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 IndianaJones Indiana Jones' Marshall College entry on (backup link on
  17. 17.0 17.1 Passion for Life
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The Perils of Cupid
  19. The Mata Hari Affair
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Adventures of Young Indiana JonesSpring Break Adventure
  21. Young Indiana Jones and the Secret City
  22. Young Indiana Jones and the Face of the Dragon
  23. Young Indiana Jones and the Eye of the Tiger
  24. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Princeton, February 1916"
  25. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "London, May 1916"
  26. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Palestine, October 1917"
  27. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Young Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Peacock's Eye"
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 Winds of Change
  29. 29.0 29.1 Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge
  30. Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 1
  31. Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone
  32. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom junior novel
  33. Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb: 1935 Journal
  34. FAIJ The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones – "Double Play!"
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny
  36. Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide, Fading Light, Pg. 99
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 37.7 Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  39. Facing Death!
  40. 40.0 40.1 Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
  41. Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
  43. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
  44. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  45. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Ireland, April 1916"
  46. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Vienna, November 1908"
  47. Indiana Jones: Den of Destiny
  48. Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold
  49. 49.0 49.1 Young Indiana Jones and the Ghostly Riders
  50. StarWars Young Indy Time Capsule Interview: Corey Carrier on (backup link on
  51. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch at The New York Times
  52. Indiana Jones: Making the Trilogy
  53. Revisiting Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade at Den of Geek!
  54. 54.0 54.1 The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
  55. IndianaJones Father Figure on (backup link on
  56. Interview to Alex Hyde-White at El Recoveco del Geek (Spanish site)
  57. StarWars Young Indy Time Capsule Interview: Lloyd Owen on (backup link on
  58. IndyCast: Episode 331 at IndyCast
  59. The Indiana Jones Cast Expands
  60. Indiana Jones: Behind the Adventure
  61. Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars
  62. Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods
  63. Indiana Jones 4 Script Update and More at (Web archive)
  64. Why Sean Connery Passed On Indiana Jones 4 at Cinemablend
  65. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic
  66. George Lucas Hails Maverick Filmmakers, Teases Indy 4 at TV Guide
  67. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure

External links[]