Jerry W. Williamson, Ph.D.


Dr. Richard D. Howe, “Jerry W. Williamson, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 27, 2024,

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Jerry W. Williamson, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of English Editor Emeritus of the Appalachian Journal Jerry W. Williamson (March 17, 1944-) was born in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Silver ton High School, Silver ton, Texas, in 1962. He received his B.A. degree in English with a minor in history (1966) from Wayland College, Texas. He earned both his M.A. degree (1968) and his Ph.D. degree (1970) in English from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Dr. Williamson accepted an appointment at Appalachian State University in 1970 as an assistant professor in the Department of English. He received tenure in 1974 and was promoted to associate professor in 1975 and to full professor in 1980. Williamson was the founding editor of the Appalachian Journal, a scholarly journal dedicated to the study of the Appalachian region. Its first issue appeared in the fall of 1972. Williamson edited 103 issues of the Appalachian Journal, which included more than 300 articles, 250 poems, 500 book reviews, review essays, cartoons, and photographs, making it the leading scholarly publication in the field. He was an articulate spokesman for Appalachian studies through his teaching, public presentations, and appearances in documentary films and the media. Williamson received one of the highest honors in the field of Appalachian studies, the W.D. Weatherford Award, as well as a special Laurel Leaves Award from the Appalachian Consortium. Both awards honored a body of work that made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of Appalachian people. In 1978, Williamson was one of the founders of the Appalachian Studies Association. He served on its steering committee, chaired sessions, and exhibited the Appalachian Journal at its annual meetings. He was also a member of the Modern Language Association, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Chi and Phi Alpha Theta. In the course of his work as teacher, editor, and scholar, Williamson published books and articles. He has interviewed Appalachian writers, including James Still, Gurney Norman, Harry Caudill, Daniel Boyd, Jim Wayne Miller, Herb Smith and Helen Lewis, Jean Ritchie, Andrew S. Garrison, and Steve Fisher. These interviews appeared in Appalachian Journal, Now and Then (East Tennessee State University), and Southern Quarterly. Williamson's publications include: • HILLBILLYLAND: What the Movies Did to the Mountains and What the Mountains Did to the Movies. Chapel Hill and London. University of North Carolina Press, 199b. • "Hillbilly Gals and American Burlesque," Southern Quarterly, 32 (Summer 1994): 84-96. • SOUTHERN MOUNTAINEERS IN SILENT FILMS: Plot synopses of Movies about Moonshining, Feuding and Other Mountain Topics, 1904-1929. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 1994. • "Interviewing Appalachia," Co-edited with E.T. Arnold. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994. • "The Politics of Coming Home: Contemporary Appalachian Literature," Southern Exposure 9 (Summer 1981): 69-74. • Myth of the Conqueror: Prince Henry Stuart, A Study of 17th Century Personation, New York: AMS Press, 1978. • "Thackeray's Mirror," Tennessee Studies in Literature, 22 (1977): 133-53. • "Myth of the Conqueror: Prince Henry Stuart and Protestant Militancy," Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Duke University) 5 (1975): 203-33 (Co-authored with B.N. Lindsay.) After thirty years of service to Appalachian State University, Williamson retired in June 2000, and was awarded emeritus status by the Board of Trustees the same year. In 2001 he was awarded the Cratis D. Williams & James Brown Service Award by the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA). In 2005, ASA honored him and his wife, Pam with the Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award. Sources: Appalachian State University files, and personal correspondence. -Dr. Richard D. Howe

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