Jim Jones teaches African History at West Chester University, but his interests extend to local history and the impact of technology on society. For years, he lived in Riggtown (a historic West Chester neighborhood). He served on the West Chester Bicentennial Commission in 1999, the Planning Commision from 2001 to 2003 and the Zoning Hearing from 2004 to 2007, and Borough Council since January 2008.

Jones earned his PhD in African History from the University of Delaware in 1995. He also has an MA in Central European History and a BS in Mathematics from the same institution. His research focuses on the interaction between industrial and preindustrial societies.

Jones' publications include a book about railroad workers in West Africa entitled Industrial Labor in the Colonial World: The African Workers of the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002), Made in West Chester: The History of Industry in West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1867 to 1945 (West Chester, PA: 2003), and Railroads of West Chester (West Chester, PA: 2006).

Jones would like to thank everyone who has contributed to his Web pages including, but not limited to, the students of HIS480 ("Computer Applications in History"), the residents of West Chester (especially Riggtown), various local historians and the wonderful people who work at the Chester County Historical Society, the Chester County Archives, and the West Chester University Library.

picture of young jones

Four unusual things
about Jim Jones

  1. Hitchhiked across the Sahara Desert three times
  2. Worked as a grape picker in France for three years
  3. Has visited all fifty states plus six provinces of Canada, two states in Mexico, fifteen countries in Europe, eleven in Africa, two in Asia, plus a number of Caribbean Islands
  4. Does not subscribe to cable television or have a cell phone
picture of Jones in Sahara
The young scout
Jones (in blue pants) and colleagues
enroute from Mali to Algeria