The life and career of Tom Watson (1856-1922) embodied the major themes of southern politics for two generations. Studying Watson's public life offers valuable insights on Populist and Democratic Party politics, race relations, rural poverty, antimilitarism, isolationism, and many other topics central to understanding the region and the times. In more than 30,000 pages, Watson's papers amply reflect the breadth of his impact. There is his nationwide correspondence with fellow Populists and others, including many of the impoverished white farmers who made up his core constituency. His productions as a writer of fiction and history are here, including drafts of his autobiographical novel, Bethany, a Story of the Old South, his biographies of Napoleon and Andrew Jackson, and his popular history of France. Press coverage of his career is preserved in voluminous scrapbooks. The collection also preserves many of the ephemera of the Populist movement.