Mass was born in New York City in 1940. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Hamilton College in 1961, a master's degree in history from New York University in 1965, and he received his doctorate in history from Yale in 1971.
During many years, his research was supported by a Fulbright Research Fellowship, a Mellon Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and other grants.
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- Warrior government in early medieval Japan: a study of the Kamakura Bakufu, shugo and jitō, 1974
- The Kamakura bakufu: a study in documents, 1976
- The development of Kamakura rule, 1180-1250: a history with documents, 1979
- Court and Bakufu in Japan: essays in Kamakura history, 1982
- The Bakufu in Japanese history, 1985
- Lordship and inheritance in Early Medieval Japan: a study of the Kamakura Soryō system, 1989
- Antiquity and anachronism in Japanese history, 1992
- The origins of Japan's medieval world: courtiers, clerics, warriors, and peasants in the fourteenth century, 1997
- Yoritomo and the founding of the first Bakufu: the origins of dual government in Japan, 1999
- Sanford, John. "Jeffrey Mass, a leading authority on Japanese medieval history, dead at 60," Stanford News Service. April 9, 2001; retrieved 2012-11-9.
- Hamilton College, "Hamilton College Honorary Degree Presented in memoriam to Jeffrey P. Mass ’62"; retrieved 2012-11-9.
- WorldCat Identities Archived 2010-12-30 at the Wayback Machine: Mass, Jeffrey P.; retrieved 2012-11-9.