Many today consider Loyal Jones to be the progenitor of Appalachian Studies, and with good reason, as he did establish the very first academic Appalachian Center at Berea College back in 1970. However, in this book, Jones illuminates the stories of four gentlemen he considers his mentors and predecessors in the field. Cratis Williams (1911-1985) is the best known of the four, and widely considered the father of Appalachian Studies. He was a native of Lawrence County, Kentucky, and rose to become Acting Chancellor of Appalachian State University. The graduate school there is now named for him. His doctoral dissertation from New York University, “The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction,” is a 1,661 page document that set the tone for subsequent studies. Leonard Roberts (1912-1983) was a unique Appalachian folklorist who grew up in the Appalachian folk culture – in Floyd County, Kentucky – and later achieved a doctorate from the University of Kentucky in the field. His many books are considered seminal works. Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1882-1973) was a lawyer, folklorist and performer of traditional mountain music from Mars Hill, North Carolina. He received his law degree from Trinity College, the precursor to Duke University. In 1928 he organized the first annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, considered the first music event to use the name “Folk Festival.” He performed there until 1965, and it continues to be held to this day. Josiah Combs (1886-1960) was born in Hazard, Kentucky, and raised in Hindman where he became the first graduate of the Hindman Settlement School. While studying at Transylvania University he published his first book of Kentucky folk songs. He taught English and Spanish at West Virginia University from 1922 until 1924 and received his doctorate from the Sorbonne with a dissertation entitled “Folk Songs du Midi des Etats-Unis.” He retired from the University of Virginia in 1956. All four of these scholars were delightful raconteurs whose repertoire of folk songs and folk tales often took a back seat to their jokes and humorous stories. The reader will come away entranced, enchanted and captivated in addition to becoming well-versed in the lives and contributions of the pioneers in Appalachian folklore.
Urbana: The University of Illinois Press, 2017. 236 pages with an Index, Sources, Notes, photos and tunes complete with the notes. Trade paperb