Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

Speech | Spartanburg Female College Board of Trustees | 1855
            William Gilmore Simms spoke at the opening of the Spartanburg Female College at approximately 1pm[1] on August 22, 1855 to an audience comprised largely of the Board of Trustees and other persons involved in the founding of that institution[2].  His remarks were published several weeks later in a pamphlet entitled Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College.  His talk focused on the two related topics of the value of education in general and the importance of female education specifically.  On the former, Simms compared the mind of man to a wilderness terrain awaiting ...
Poetry and the Practical

Poetry and the Practical

Speech | The University of Arkansas Press | 1996
         Poetry and the Practical was published in 1996 by The University of Arkansas Press as part of The Simms Series.  Edited with an introduction and notes by James Everett Kibler Jr., the book contains a lecture written by Simms between the years of 1851-54, which expanded from one to three parts.  Kibler summarizes the lecture as “a clear, forceful, inspired defense of poetry against those who would relegate it to the margins of life.”[1]  In a 12 November 1850 letter to Evert Augustus Duyckinck, Simms made first mention of the lecture: “I recieve [sic] another application for a public Lecture ...
Self-Development

Self-Development

Speech | The Thalian Society | 1847
            William Gilmore Simms was invited to give the oration, which would become Self-Development, by the Literary Societies of Oglethorpe University in Milledgeville, GA in 1847.  In consideration of his student audience, Simms took as his theme the nature and progress of the individual, especially in relation to his function within God’s plan.  The title quality, according to the author, is about recognizing one’s God-given potentials and subsequently nurturing and expressing them in action.  Everybody has inborn strengths and aptitudes; self-development is the art of fully ...
The Power of Cotton: A Paper Read in the City of New York

The Power of Cotton: A Paper Read in the City of New York

Speech | 1856
         The Power of Cotton is a pamphlet published by Chatterton & Brother of New York in 1856.  The work claims to be a paper read in New York in November 1856.  The only known copy of the paper had been in the possession of Theodore Parker, the most prominent Unitarian and Transcendentalist minister in the northeast in 1856.  The work was bequeathed to the public library of the city of Boston from the Parker estate on 30 October 1864, four years after Parker’s passing.  On both the cover and title page, the precise location of the reading and the author’s name were both removed ...
The Sense of the Beautiful.

The Sense of the Beautiful.

Speech | Agricultural Society of South Carolina | 1870
            Simms delivered The Sense of the Beautiful, his final public oration, on May 3, 1870, a little over a month before his death.[1]  The occasion was the first Floral Fair held by the Charleston County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, a group that would merge in August with the older and recently revived Agricultural Society of South Carolina.  In his speech, Simms stressed the importance of natural beauty, a harmonious home life, and female leadership.  He praised the spiritual value of the natural world and claimed that a stable domestic sphere was a precondition for the progress ...
The Social Principle

The Social Principle

Speech | The Erosophic Society of the University of Alabama | 1843
            William Gilmore Simms delivered his lecture The Social Principle: The True Source of National Permanence to the Erosophic Society[1] at the University of Alabama on 13 December 1842 during the occasion of his receiving an honorary LL.D. degree from that university.[2]  An important text in Simms studies, this oration marks “Simms’s single most extensive published exposition of his social philosophy.”[3]  He took as the genesis for his talk what he perceived as the fundamentally changed nature of the environs of western Alabama from his previous visit to the area, ...
The Sources of American Independence

The Sources of American Independence

Speech | The Town Council of Aiken, SC | 1844
            The Sources of American Independence. An Oration, on the Sixty-Ninth Anniversary of American Independence was delivered by William Gilmore Simms on 4 July 1844 in Aiken, SC.  As its long title suggests, the speech was composed to celebrate the sixty-nine years of American nationhood since the Declaration of Independence; what is unmentioned in the title but equally relevant to an understanding of this work is the fact that it was composed essentially as a stump speech[1] during Simms’s successful 1844 run for a seat in the South Carolina State Legislature.  Giving a speech ...