History

Herff Jones founders

Harry J. Herff and Randall H. Jones founded Herff Jones in 1920, locating its headquarters and first plant in Indianapolis, IN. Here the company produced insignia jewelry.

In the early years, the business expanded product lines quickly. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Herff Jones added a line of class rings and award medals in addition to its jewelry business.

The company contributed to the country's war effort in the 1940's, when 170 HJ employees served in the armed forces. Herff Jones also produced bullet dies and ordnance until 1943. In 1944, Herff Jones was selected by the U.S. Government to produce the Bronze Star medals for heroism for soldiers returning from World War II.

At the end of the war, Herff Jones held a stock offering and became publicly held.

The years after the war brought continued growth and expansion. The two founders had since retired from the business, but plants were added and expanded, and new product lines introduced. In 1963, the company entered the yearbook production business.

In 1971, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and in 1973, the Carnation Company purchased Herff Jones.

By now, the company had expanded its product offerings to fine papers, diplomas and graduation apparel and school photography.

In the 1980s, the company expanded into Canada with its yearbook and diploma business. Then, in 1989 the company sold about a third of its stock to its 2,500 employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Growth continued, and in 1995 as part of a recapitalization plan the ESOP, making Herff Jones an employee-owned company, purchased the remainder of the stock.

With production facilities across the U.S. and Canada, the Herff Jones name is recognized as a leader in school commemoration products.