Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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The History of South Carolina, from its First European Discovery to its Erection into a Republic

The History of South Carolina, from its First European Discovery to its Erection into a Republic

History | Redfield | 1860
            Believing it “necessary to the public man, as to the pupil,” Simms undertook The History of South Carolina explicitly for the education of the state’s young people, so as to tell them the vibrant history of the state and the distinguished accomplishments of her leaders.[1]  There is evidence to suggest that Simms was particularly motivated to write such a history in order to provide an historical account of South Carolina and notable South Carolinians, to his eldest child Augusta, who was attending boarding school in Massachusetts in the late 1830s.[2]  Simms seemingly ...
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
            Believing it “necessary to the public man, as to the pupil,” Simms undertook The History of South Carolina explicitly for the education of the state’s young people, so as to tell them the vibrant history of the state and the distinguished accomplishments of her leaders.[1]  There is evidence to suggest that Simms was particularly motivated to write such a history in order to provide an historical account of South Carolina and notable South Carolinians, to his eldest child Augusta, who was attending boarding school in Massachusetts in the late 1830s.[2]  Simms seemingly ...
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
            Early in the morning of 7 November 1825, in the town of Frankfort, KY, a young lawyer named Jereboam O. Beauchamp crept to the house of the state attorney general, Solomon P. Sharp, and stabbed him to death.  The murder was orchestrated to avenge the honor of Anna Cook[1], Beauchamp’s wife, who as a single woman had been seduced, impregnated, and abandoned by Sharp[2].  The event was a national sensation immediately following its discovery and Beauchamp’s capture days later.  Following Cook and Beauchamp’s failed joint suicide attempt and the latter’s subsequent execution, ...
Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Poetry | 1825
In 1825, a nineteen-year-old Simms published his first major work, Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and thus took his initial step toward establishing himself as one of the leading literary voices in Charleston.  His work at this time, and especially in this long poem, pointed to intellectual concerns that would follow him throughout his literary career.  Monody was published during one of Simms’s first periods of sustained literary labor, his acting as editor of the Album: A Weekly Miscellany, a magazine first published on 2 July 1825, and then every Saturday for the rest ...
Lyrical and Other Poems

Lyrical and Other Poems

Poetry | Ellis & Neufville | 1827
            The Charleston firm of Ellis & Neufville issued Lyrical and Other Poems, which was Simms’s first published collection of poetry, in January or early February of 1827.  An early date is most likely, because the copyright notice reprinted at the front of the text indicates that Ellis & Neufville filed the necessary paperwork on December 13, 1826, and a review of the volume appeared in the New York Literary Gazette and American Athenæum on February 3, 1827.  The collection was generally well-received by critics and in later years Simms would recall fondly the praise ...
Early Lays

Early Lays

Poetry | A.E. Miller | 1827
            The year 1827 was an eventful one for William Gilmore Simms.  He completed reading law in the office of boyhood friend Charles Rivers Carroll and was appointed as a magistrate for Charleston; his first child, Anna Augusta Singleton, was born, and he published two volumes of collected poetry.[1]  Early Lays was the second of those volumes and it was published by A.E. Miller of Charleston in the fall of 1827.[2]  In his dedication Simms noted, however, that the material in Early Lays was “principally compiled from a surplus quantity of matter left from the publication ...
The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

Poetry | James S. Burges, 44 Queen Street | 1829
            The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems, Simms's fourth separate publication, was issued in the summer of 1829.  Like his three previous works, it is a volume of poetry.  Comprised primarily of the three long poems “The Vision of Cortes,” “Cain,” and “Ashley River,” the volume also contains a number of shorter works, some of which had been previously published in other venues.  The subject matter of the volume ranges widely, moving from the title poem, which recalls in verse the 1518 expedition of Hernán Cortés into Mexico, to an ode to South Carolina’s ...
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 1952
            In his lifetime, William Gilmore Simms “was the author of thirty-four works of fiction, nineteen volumes of poetry, three of drama, three anthologies, three volumes of history, two of geography, six of biography, and twelve of reviews, miscellanies and addresses, a total of eighty-two volumes.”[1]  The estimate of the output was impressive, if not quite complete.[2]  Regardless, Simms’s influence was unparalleled.  No mid-nineteenth-century writer and editor did more to frame white southern self-identity and nationalism, shape southern historical consciousness, or foster ...
The Tri-Color; or The Three Days of Blood in Paris. With Some Other Pieces

The Tri-Color; or The Three Days of Blood in Paris. With Some Other Pieces

Poetry | Wigfall & Davis, Strand | c. 1831
          William Gilmore Simms published The Tri-Color; or the Three Days of Blood, in Paris. With Some Other Pieces in the winter of 1830 or the spring of 1831.  He did so anonymously, and the advertisement at the front of the text says simply, “The Work, now offered to the notice of the British Public, is by an American Citizen.”  Though Simms told James Lawson that he did not “wish to be known as its author for a variety of reasons,” he did list it among his publications multiple times within his letters.[1]  James Kibler suggests that one reason that Simms may have ...
Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
          Guy Rivers was published by Harper & Brothers in July 1834 as the first of Simms’s many fictional frontier writings known as the Border Romance series. According to the author, these works were “meant to illustrate the border & domestic history of the South.”[1]  Writing to James Lawson in December 1833, Simms described the novel as “a tale of Georgia—a tale of the miners—of a frontier and wild people, and the events are precisely such as may occur among a people & in a region of that character.”[2]  Mary Ann Wimsatt notes that Guy Rivers established ...
Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1834
          Guy Rivers was published by Harper & Brothers in July 1834 as the first of Simms’s many fictional frontier writings known as the Border Romance series. According to the author, these works were “meant to illustrate the border & domestic history of the South.”[1]  Writing to James Lawson in December 1833, Simms described the novel as “a tale of Georgia—a tale of the miners—of a frontier and wild people, and the events are precisely such as may occur among a people & in a region of that character.”[2]  Mary Ann Wimsatt notes that Guy Rivers established ...
Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

Novel (Romance) | Carey and Hart | 1838
           Richard Hurdis, the second of Simms’s Border Romances (following Guy Rivers of 1834), presents an intriguing study of the author’s development, as its publication history illustrated Simms’s notorious sensitivity to critical reception.  Hurdis came out during a worrisome time in Simms’s life, with his second wife, Chevillette Eliza Roach Simms, severely ill while pregnant, and the writer’s relationship with his publisher, the Harper Brothers of New York, souring.  John C. Guilds notes that “alternating moods of depression and optimism—lifelong traits—soon became dominant ...
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1842
            Believing it “necessary to the public man, as to the pupil,” Simms undertook The History of South Carolina explicitly for the education of the state’s young people, so as to tell them the vibrant history of the state and the distinguished accomplishments of her leaders.[1]  There is evidence to suggest that Simms was particularly motivated to write such a history in order to provide an historical account of South Carolina and notable South Carolinians, to his eldest child Augusta, who was attending boarding school in Massachusetts in the late 1830s.[2]  Simms seemingly ...
The Geography of South Carolina

The Geography of South Carolina

History | Babcock & Co. | 1843
            The Geography of South Carolina, written as a companion piece for the 1842 edition of The History of South Carolina, was published by Babcock & Co. in 1843.  Simms conceived of The History and The Geography as parts of a single project and initially desired the two books to be published together in one volume.[1]  Sean R. Busick notes that such a publication was cost-prohibitive; thus, The History and The Geography were published separately.[2]  In the preface to The Geography, Simms suggests another reason for their separate publication:  by breaking up his subject ...
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, ...
Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
           Richard Hurdis, the second of Simms’s Border Romances (following Guy Rivers of 1834), presents an intriguing study of the author’s development, as its publication history illustrated Simms’s notorious sensitivity to critical reception.  Hurdis came out during a worrisome time in Simms’s life, with his second wife, Chevillette Eliza Roach Simms, severely ill while pregnant, and the writer’s relationship with his publisher, the Harper Brothers of New York, souring.  John C. Guilds notes that “alternating moods of depression and optimism—lifelong traits—soon became dominant ...
The Wigwam and the Cabin

The Wigwam and the Cabin

Short Stories | Redfield | 1856
                Originally published by Wiley and Putnam in two volumes—the first series in October 1845 and the second in February 1846—for the Library of American Books series, The Wigwam and the Cabin is a collection of border stories about the southwestern frontier.  Simms best summarized the collection in a dedicatory letter to his father-in-law for the 1856 Redfield edition: “One word for the material of these legends.  It is local, sectional—and to be national in literature, one must needs be sectional.  No one mind can fully or fairly illustrate the characteristics of any great ...
Voltmeier; or, The Mountain Men

Voltmeier; or, The Mountain Men

Novel (Romance) | U of South Carolina P | 1969
           Judging by a letter he wrote to his friend Evert Augustus Duyckinck in December 1868, William Gilmore Simms considered Voltmeier, his forthcoming Mountain Romance, to be, “in some respects, one of the most remarkable books I have ever written,” and “among the most excellent of my prose writings.”[1]  Part of the Border Romance series, the novel was inspired by the story of the infamous Allen Twitty, “a highly respected member of a prominent family noted for public service,” whose indictment and sensational trials for counterfeiting between 1805 and 1815 became a cause célèbre ...
Stories and Tales

Stories and Tales

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
           Stories and Tales is Volume V of the University of South Carolina’s Centennial Edition of the writings of William Gilmore Simms[1].  This volume contains fifteen stories and tales, chronologically presented, collecting writings from all phases of Simms’s career. [2]  Simms wrote short fiction, often of wildly inconsistent quality, throughout his long career; his best fiction was praised by Poe, while his poorer fiction was often self-consciously born out of economic necessity[3].  Simms published his short fiction widely both in a variety of periodicals and multiple book-length ...