The Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is an international center for scholarship on Ernest Gaines and his work. The center honors the work of UL Lafayette’s Writer-in-Residence Emeritus and provides a space for scholars and students to work with the Gaines papers and manuscripts. Born in 1933 on a plantation near New Roads, Louisiana, Gaines based his award-winning novels on the African American experience in the rural South. His works include The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) and A Lesson Before Dying, both later produced as award-winning films. Gaines’s generous donation of his early papers and manuscripts (through 1983) and some artifacts to Edith Garland Dupré Library provided the foundation for the center’s collection. The center also anticipates acquiring the remainder of Gaines’s papers.
Along with the Gaines papers and published scholarship, the Ernest J. Gaines Center can also anticipate the donation of extensive papers, manuscripts, and tape-recorded interviews of Gaines scholars. The center will expand the collection on Gaines to include all books, journal articles, essays, interviews, theses, and dissertations on Gaines and his work. In addition, it will include a complete collection of all the published translations of Gaines’s writings. It will be the site of the only complete collection of Ernest Gaines scholarship in the world.