James Jolly grew up in Pontiac, Michigan and earned his A.B. from Central Michigan University in 1959 and his M.A. from Michigan State University in 1960. He came to Millersville State College in 1966 as a member of the History Department where he taught until his retirement in 1998. He and his wife, Bonnie, now reside in Florida.
He collected these materials as part of his interest in the American political system.