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Born in Rhosfelyn, Glamorgan, South Wales, educated first at Swansea Grammar School (later known as Bishop Gore School) then in Cardiff and London, qualifying as a psychiatrist. He knew Freud personally, having learned the German language in order to be able to understand his ideas more clearly, and was largely responsible for introducing them to the profession in both the UK and the United States. In 1913, he founded the British Psycho-Analytical Society.
Jones's writings on the subject of psychoanalysis prompted him to launch The International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1920.
He was also interested in politics, becoming an early member of Plaid Cymru. His first wife was the composer Morfydd Llwyn Owen. His last great work was the authoritative biography of Freud, which he published between 1953 and 1957 with the aid of records provided by Freud's daughter, Anna Freud, who personally approved him for the job.
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