The James W. Jones Gay and Lesbian Literature Collection and Fund

Over the years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s library collection has benefitted from the generosity of donors who have given both books and financial contributions. One such donor is James W. Jones. Dr. Jones earned his PhD. in German from UW-Madison. He went on to have a long career as a professor at Central Michigan University (CMU). At CMU, Dr. Jones taught German language, literature and cultural history courses, and served as chair of both the Academic Senate and the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures over the course of his career. Dr. Jones’ scholarship focused on LGBTQ+ cultural history and AIDS discourses in both Germany and the United States. Those scholarly interests are reflected in the collection of more than 2,500 monograph and serial volumes he donated to the Libraries. Many of the books are mysteries and detective fiction that feature gay protagonists and storylines. The donation also includes German language books and some non-fiction titles, many of which are focused on the AIDS crisis. Because the collection spans decades, it offers a broad and unique look into the evolution of gay literature and culture over time. Dr. Jones’ dedication to examining the LGBTQ+ experience led to a collection that will have a great impact on students and researchers for years to come.

Dr. Jones retired from CMU in 2017, and sadly passed away a year later. His legacy lives on however, through his book collection, which will benefit future generations of scholars and students, as well as through a planned financial gift that he made to the Libraries. This gift established an endowment that supports the James W. Jones Collection of Gay and Lesbian Literature, which will build upon Dr. Jones’ original collection. The endowment supports the acquisition of books, as well as the processing and preservation of this collection. Together with the Bemis/Flaherty Collection of Gay Poetry, the Jones Collection has added tremendous value to LGBTQ+ scholarship at the UW. The Libraries continue to add holdings in this area, including subscriptions to databases of primary resources, such as LGBT Thought and Culture, LGBT Life with Full Text, and Archives of Sexuality and Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940.

If you are interested in contributing to the Libraries’ efforts to build unique and distinct collections in this area, please see the Giving page for more information or contact Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian, Dr. Karla Strand, at

Article reproduced with permission from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries magazine, Spring 2018, pp.6-7, found here: