Lewis Wade Jones was born in Cuero, Texas, on March 13, 1910. He received his A.B. degree from Fisk University in 1931 and followed it with postgraduate study as a Social Science Research Council Fellow at the University of Chicago in 1931-32. Jones returned to Fisk where he continued to work closely with Charles S. Johnson as a research assistant, supervisor of field studies, and instructor in the Department of Social Sciences from 1932 to 1942. Jones was a Julius Rosenwald Foundation Fund Fellow at Columbia University, where he was awarded an M.A. degree in 1939. He earned his Ph.D. in 1955. Jones, Johnson, and John Wesley Work III collaborated with the Archive of American Folk Song on the Library of Congress/Fisk University Mississippi Delta Collection (AFC 1941/002). In the spring of 1943, Jones, Work, and Willis Laurence James documented the folk festival at Fort Valley State College (now Fort Valley State University) in Fort Valley, Georgia (see Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943). Almost immediately afterwards, Jones served three years in the U.S. Army and became a reports analyst for the domestic branch of the Bureau of Special Services, Office of War Information. He was associate editor of the Negro Yearbook in 1952 and contributed articles to several journals. Jones spent much of the remainder of his career at Tuskegee Institute School of Education as assistant professor of sociology, director of research for the Rural Life Council, research coordinator, and professor. He was a consultant to a variety of organizations, including the Opportunities Industrialization Center, the Bureau of Social Science Research, and the U.S. Department of Labor. At the time of his death in September 1979, Jones was a professor of sociology and director of the Tuskegee Institute Rural Development Center.