Cratis D. Williams (1911-1985), widely recognized for his work T he Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction, a landmark study in literary representations of the Appalachian region, left a prodigious legacy of scholarship on southern mountain people and is remembered as the Father of Appalachian Studies. Unfortunately, for those who want to delve further into the primary sources which informed Williams' work, a 1966 fire destroyed many of Williams' personal and professional papers. The largest collection of surviving documents and artifacts related to Cratis Williams, the Cratis D. Williams Papers (AC.102), are held within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. The collection includes information valuable to understanding the career and personality behind the scholarship produced by Dr. Williams as a folklorist, a balladeer, and an educator.
Maxine Hawks Thompson was an Appalachian State University student and long-time friend of Cratis Williams. She secured the letters to Betsy Webster Schuchardt, a former Appalachian student and friend, from Betsy's survivors. Walter Boone was a high school student of Williams who stayed in touch with him later in life.