Richard Hutton Jones was born in Rye, Colorado, in 1914. He attended the University of Northern Colorado, earning a bachelor's degree in 1934 and a master's degree in 1937. In 1935, he and Alyce Decker were married. He taught history at Stanford College from 1938 until 1941, when he began teaching at Reed College. He taught at Reed until 1982, specializing in medieval and constitutional history. He continued his education later in life, earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1947 and an doctor of laws degree from Reed College in 1982. He was active in Republican politics in Colorado and Oregon. He served as campaign chair for Mark Hatfield in 1958, 1966, 1978, and 1984, as well as for Tom McCall in 1964. Jones died in 1998.