Originally a restaurant owner, Elmer Williams began supplementing his income by taking photographs for insurance companies, weddings and family portraits. In 1952, the publisher of a Nashville magazine hired Williams to take candid photos at music industry gatherings and backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Williams’ casual, easygoing approach helped him develop a friendship with many country artists. In the 1990s, Williams donated his archives of more than four thousand historic photographs – many unpublished – to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Frist Library and Archive.
As of May 31, 2014