Who we are


William Alexander PercyWilliam Alexander Percy (1885-1942) was the son of US Senator LeRoy Percy, owner of the 20,000 acre Trail Lake plantation near Greenville, Mississippi. He matriculated at Sewanee at the age of 14, spent a year in Paris after graduation, and then earned a law degree from Harvard. He served with Herbert Hoover on the Commission for Relief in Belgium in 1916-17, and was subsequently appointed by Hoover to oversee relief efforts during the devastating Mississippi Delta flood of 1927, an experience recounted in his best-selling memoir, Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son (Knopf 1941). He published four volumes of poetry with Yale University Press, was the editor of the ground-breaking Yale Younger Poets series, was a godfather to the Southern Agrarian movement, and a friend of the gay African-American poet Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. A lover of younger black men, Percy offers a fascinating window into the intersections of race, class, religion, age, and sexuality in the segregated South of the 1920s and 30s.

William A. PercyWilliam Armstrong Percy III was Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, for over 40 years, specializing in classical and medieval history. A native of the Old South, he counted among his relatives prominent literary figures including William Alexander Percy (Lanterns on the Levee, 1941) and the novelist Walker Percy, as well as former governors and senators from Mississippi. He was valedictorian at Middlesex School in 1951, later enrolled at Princeton, and served in the US Army from 1953-1956. He received his MA from Cornell and his Ph.D. from Princeton (1964). Sexually active since the age of five, he turned his scholarly attention to gay issues in the 1980s, co-editing the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality with Wayne Dynes, co-authoring with Warren Johansson Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence (Harrington Park 1994) and Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (University of Illinois Press 1996), as well as significant work on Roman demography. He counted among his friends prominent sexologists Vern Bullough and C. A. Tripp, as well as gay activists including Jim Kepner, Dorr Legg, Larry Kramer, and Charley Shively. For recent projects of William A. Percy that the Foundation has supported, see here, and for more about his interests and oeuvre, visit the archive of his personal website.

Thomas HubbarkThomas K. Hubbard is the President and Executive Director of the William A. Percy Foundation for Social and Historical Studies. Trained as a classicist with a MA from the University of California, Berkeley (1977) and a Ph.D. from Yale (1980), he has taught at a number of institutions including the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and the University of Texas at Austin, from which he retired in 2021 as the James R. Dougherty, Jr. Centennial Professor of Classics. He is the recipient of many research grants and awards, including a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2017-18. Among his many books are Greek Love Reconsidered (2000), Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents (University of California Press, 2003), Censoring Sex Research (Left Coast Press, 2013), and A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). For more on his landmark legal victory against political attempts to misrepresent and silence his scholarship READ MORE HERE …

Senior Director Beert Verstraete is Professor Emeritus of History and Classics at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. He was born in The Netherlands and immigrated to Canada at the age of 14, completing a doctorate at the University of Toronto. He has translated Erasmus and authored a range of studies on Roman literature, culture, and sexuality, including a co-authored monograph (with William A. Percy), The Age of Marriage in Ancient Rome (2003). He co-edited the volume Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West (2005) and (with Thomas K. Hubbard) Censoring Sex Research: The Debate over Male Intergenerational Relations (2013). For more on him and his work, see http://beertverstraete.yolasite.com.

Senior Director James Dubro is a well known writer and producer of documentaries on organized crime and state espionage, who worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the 1970s & 80s, before becoming a freelance journalist and TV producer. In addition to the CBC, his award-winning work has appeared on The History Channel, Oxygen, PBS, A&E, CTV, and OUT-TV.  He has also regularly written on crime issues for the Canadian LGBT magazine Xtra! Born in Boston and educated at Boston University, Columbia, and Harvard, he taught English literature & Biography at Victoria College of the University of Toronto in the early 1970s . He is the author of five books and received the Derrick Murdoch Award of the Crime Writers of Canada in 2002 and a lifetime achievement award from the Inspire Foundation in 2016 for his many years of LGBT activism, particularly on policing issues. He was twice national president of the  Crime Writers of Canada and is frequently interviewed on TV news shows & documentaries on organized crime and true crime stories.

Director of Criminological Research Dr. Shawn Rolfe earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice in 2020 from the University of Louisville, where he worked on a variety of topics including prison violence and rape, unintended consequences of the sex offender registry, and residential solutions for homeless sex offenders. He has published over 15 articles on these topics and others, including school bullying and sexual harassment, correctional officer misconduct, and social re-entry problems for the formerly incarcerated. Dr. Rolfe enhances the Foundation’s visibility by presenting papers based on our data at scholarly conferences. In addition, Dr. Rolfe is actively involved in helping to design future surveys of both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons, making grant applications to other like-minded foundations, and suggesting future directions for research and scholarly outreach.

Vanessa, Office Manager and Treasurer. Vanessa manages The Insiders’ Bookstore project for the Foundation, collecting and cataloguing book donations from the public, filling book orders from prisoners, and maintaining the Foundation’s mailing list. She started as a volunteer Student Intern with the Foundation in 2017, and after receiving her BA in Humanities at Chico State University, began to work for us in a paid position as the Office Manager. She is the daughter of a close-knit Central American immigrant family living near Los Angeles.

Ivana, former student intern. Ivana received her BA in Criminal Justice from Chico State University in 2020, and worked with us as a Student Intern during Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020. In addition to helping Vanessa and Dr. Hubbard with The Insiders’ Bookstore project, Ivana had the chief responsibility for administering our Spring 2020 research survey of prisoners concerning their institutions’ response to the COVID epidemic and the quality of prison health care they have experienced. She also assisted us with the writing of the final report on that survey. She grew up in a Chinese immigrant family in San Francisco, and has previously interned with the San Francisco Public Health Department and Sheriff’s Department. Her career goal was to be a forensic investigator, and she fulfilled this goal by obtaining such a position with the Las Vegas Police Department shortly after completing her post-graduation internship with us.

In addition to the President and two Senior Directors, the Foundation is regularly advised by a wider circle of academics, journalists, attorneys, and activists who share its values and concerns. They bring to the table specialized knowledge and experience in the areas of criminal law, philosophy, anthropology, and media studies.