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The mission of the Ernest J. Gaines Center is to foster research and scholarship on the life and works of Dr. Ernest J. Gaines, to archive, house, preserve, protect and utilize the “Collection of Ernest J. Gaines,” and to make the collection available to scholars in perpetuity. As part of its mission, the Center will collect, catalog and maintain a body of scholarship surrounding Gaines and his works; organize and conduct, as appropriate, colloquia, seminars, and conferences centered upon the Ernest J. Gaines Center and the collection; and sponsor The Ernest J. Gaines Speakers and Readers Series.

Dr. Ernest J. Gaines and his wife, Dianne Saulney Gaines, have entrusted for scholarly research purposes to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Ernest J. Gaines Center the “Collection of Ernest J. Gaines” consisting of any and all published and unpublished manuscripts, drafts and notes; selected personal and business correspondence; first editions of published works of the author; miscellaneous papers; awards, honors and memorabilia. The Ernest J Gaines Center embraces its role as guardian of the Gaines legacy.