Jones, James, 1921-1977

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James Ramon Jones, known more commonly as James Jones (November 6, 1921 – May 9, 1977), was an American novelist known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath. He won the 1952 National Book Award for his first published novel, From Here to Eternity, which was adapted for the big screen immediately and made into a television series a generation later.

James Jones was born and raised in Robinson, Illinois, the son of Ramon and Ada M. (née Blessing) Jones. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1939 at the age of 17 and served in the 25th Infantry Division, 27th Infantry Regiment before and during World War II, first in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, then in combat on Guadalcanal at the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse, where he was wounded in his ankle. He returned to the US and was discharged in July 1944. He also worked as a journalist covering the Vietnam War.

His wartime experiences inspired some of his most famous works, the so-called war trilogy. He witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to his first published novel, From Here to Eternity (1951). The Thin Red Line (1962) reflected his combat experiences on Guadalcanal and Whistle (posthumous, 1978) was based on his hospital stay in Memphis, Tennessee, recovering from surgery on an ankle he had reinjured on the island.

Jones was the father of two children including Kaylie Jones, an author best known for A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, a thinly veiled memoir of the Joneses' life in Paris during the 1960s. (The son Jamie Jones was adopted in France.) Kaylie Jones' novel was made into a film starring Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey and Leelee Sobieski in 1998. The release of this film, along with the 1998 release of a new film version of The Thin Red Line, directed by Terrence Malick and produced by Robert Michael Geisler and John Roberdeau, sparked a revival of interest in James Jones' life and works. In 2011, Ms. Jones was instrumental in publishing an uncensored edition of James Jones' From Here to Eternity.

Jones assisted in the 1950 formation of the Handy Writers' Colony in Marshall, Illinois, by his then-lover Lowney Handy and her husband Harry Handy. It was funded partly by Harry and, after the financial success of From Here To Eternity, partly by Jones. Originally conceived as a Utopian commune where budding artists could focus exclusively on their writing projects, the colony dissolved after only a few years, because James Jones relocated to France following his marriage to Gloria Mosolino after a fight with Lowney, leaving the colony back in a financially compromised situation in 1957.

Jones died in Southampton, New York, of congestive heart failure and is buried in Poxabogue-Evergreen Cemetery, Bridgehampton, New York. His papers are now held at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. His widow, Gloria, died on June 9, 2006. Many of James Jones's books are still available in digital format including excerpts from They Shall Inherit the Laughter, published as To the End of the War.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones Papers, 1890-1981 (bulk 1941-1978). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Lewis, Judy. James Jones, Judy Lewis gift, 1951-1997. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf James Jones Papers, 1890-1981, (bulk 1941-1978) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Correspondence (arranged by correspondent), c1909 to 2004 St John's College, Oxford
creatorOf Delaney, Beauford, 1901-1979. Beauford Delaney collection, 1964-1977. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Taradash, Daniel, 1913-. From here to eternity : screenplay / by Daniel Taradash. De Anza College
creatorOf Malick, Terrence, 1945-. The Thin red line : second draft screenplay / by Terrence Malick. University of Missouri-Kansas City, Miller Nichols Library; Health Sciences Library; Dental Library
creatorOf Lindower, Howard Nelson, 1933-. Papers. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Hendrick, George,. George Hendrick collection of James Jones materials, 1948-1988. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Harper's magazine records, 1847-1983 (bulk 1940-1983). Library of Congress
referencedIn Harper's Magazine Records, 1847-1983, (bulk 1940-1983) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf James Jones Papers, 1890-1981, (bulk 1941-1978) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. From here to eternity. Chapter XII. Hello, goodbye, and farewell / story and teleplay, Tony Palmer ; executive producers, Harve Bennett and Harris Katleman ; supervising producer, Lionel E. Siegel ; producer, Carl Pingitore ; executive story editor, Tony Palmer. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Krim, Seymour, 1922-. Papers of Seymour Krim, 1953-1990. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Hendrick, George,. George Hendrick collection of Samuel Arthur Jones materials, 1872-1941. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Cerf, Bennett, 1898-1971. Bennett Cerf papers, ca. 1898-1977. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones collection, 1953-1978. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Malick, Terrence, 1945-. The Thin red line : revised first draft screenplay / by Terrence Malick ; based on the novel by James Jones. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones collection, 1953-1978. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. Letter, 1951 Jan. 10. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones page proofs and letter [manuscript], 1951,1965. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf James Jones papers, 1926-1977 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones typescripts. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Walthall, Melvin C., 1920-. [Scrapbook dedicated to the memory of James Jones]. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Howie, Helen,. Helen Howie gift of James Jones materials, 1940. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Bennett Cerf Papers, ca. 1898-1977. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
creatorOf James Jones Letter, 1951 The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. James Jones papers, 1926-1977 (inclusive). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Malick, Terrence, 1945-. The Thin red line : based on the novel by James Jones / screenplay by Terrence Malick. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Jones, James, 1921-1977. From here to eternity : original manuscript / [James Jones]. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Illinois IL US
Southampton NY US
Subject
Purple Heart
World War, 1939-1945
Publishers and Publishing
Literature--History and criticism
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Solomon Islands--Guadalcanal
Authors and publishing
Novelists, American--20th century--Biography
Authors, American
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
Best sellers
National Book Awards
World War, 1939-1945--Hawaii
Soldiers as authors
Occupation
Authors
Writer, Prose, Fiction and Nonfiction
Soldiers--United States
Activity

Person

Birth 1921-11-06

Death 1977-05-09

Male

Americans

German,

English,

French

Information

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