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John Alexander Williams papers

Identifier: AC-829

Scope and Contents

The John Alexander Williams Papers consists of research materials, publications, and ephemera compiled by Dr. John Alexander Williams. The collection includes copies of materials dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, copies of academic articles and book chapters, course materials, correspondence, photographs, and floppy discs. A bulk of the collection is centered on Dr. Williams' research for publications focused on Appalachia and Christopher Columbus as well as the States of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The collection also contains drafts of manuscripts published by Dr. Williams, including several drafts of Appalachia: A History.


  • 1717-2009, undated


The materials are in Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

No interlibrary loan.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research in the Dougherty Reading Room.

Biographical Note

John Alexander Williams (born 1938) received his doctorate in history from Yale University in 1966, having studied with the eminent American historian, C. Vann Woodward. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Chicago before joining the Department of History at West Virginia University in 1972. He came to Appalachian State University as a Professor of History in 1989. Williams directed the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State for seven years. He is the author of West Virginia and the Captains of Industry, West Virginia: A History, Appalachia: A History, and co-author of Sinking Columbus: Contested History, Cultural Politics, and Mythmaking During the Quincentenary.


64.25 Linear Feet (113 boxes, 4 half sized boxes, 2 media boxes, 2 oversize)


The John Alexander Williams Papers consist of Williams' research and professional files which he developed as a Professor of History at Appalachian State University. Materials include photocopies of primary sources, manuscripts, publications, posters, photographs, CD-ROMs, floppy discs, and West Virginia related artifacts.


The collection is arranged into seven series.

Series I: Research is divided into five subseries including Subseries A: General, Subseries B: Appalachia, Subseries C: Coal, Subseries D: Pennsylvania, and Subseries E: West Virginia. All subseries are arranged alphabetically.

Series II: Writings and Public is arranged alphabetically.

Series III: Courses and Teaching is divided into two subseries. Subseries A: Appalachian Courses and Subseries B: Other Courses are both arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Conferences and Lectures is arranged alphabetically.

Series V: Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.

Series VI: Audiovisual is divided into four subseries. Subseries A: Black and White Photographs, Subseries B: Color Photographs, Subseries C: Mixed Media, and Subseries D: Artifacts are all arranged alphabetically.

Series VII: Oversize is arranged alphabetically.



Acquisitions Information

The materials were donated by Dr. John Alexander Williams in 2005 and 2009.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and finding aid generated by Trevor McKenzie, April 2014. This collection was processed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.
AC.829: John Alexander Williams Papers, 1717-2009, undated
Trevor McKenzie
April 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Appalachian State University Special Collections Repository

218 College Street
Boone U.S.A. - North Carolina 28608-2026 United States
8282624975 (Fax)