Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Ancient HistoryFrench Colonial HistorySpanish Colonial History
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Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
Civil War and Early Reconstruction
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  • Publication date: 1850s (x)
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    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1836
              The second of eight novels in the Revolutionary War series, William Gilmore Simms’s Mellichampe was originally published by Harper in 1836, then revised and republished in the Redfield edition in 1854.  The story follows the fictional band of Francis Marion’s partisans in the fall of 1780 after the Battle of Camden, as they engage in guerrilla warfare on the Santee River against loyalist and British forces.  In his advertisement to the first edition, Simms considered Mellichampe a “Historical romance” that accurately conveyed the career of Marion[1] to the “very ...
    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
              The second of eight novels in the Revolutionary War series, William Gilmore Simms’s Mellichampe was originally published by Harper in 1836, then revised and republished in the Redfield edition in 1854.  The story follows the fictional band of Francis Marion’s partisans in the fall of 1780 after the Battle of Camden, as they engage in guerrilla warfare on the Santee River against loyalist and British forces.  In his advertisement to the first edition, Simms considered Mellichampe a “Historical romance” that accurately conveyed the career of Marion[1] to the “very ...
    Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

    Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

    Revolutionary History | 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 ...
    South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War

    South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War

    Revolutionary History | Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
               Throughout his life, William Gilmore Simms was deeply invested in researching and interpreting the history of the American Revolution and was particularly concerned with promoting the participation of his native South Carolina in that conflict.  As evidenced by his biographies of Francis Marion and Nathanael Greene, his series of epic romances of the Revolution largely set in South Carolina, and his emphasis on the Revolution in his The History of South Carolina, Simms’s understanding of South Carolina’s role in the conflict was one of patriotism and heroic self-sacrifice.  ...
    The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens, in the Years 1777-8, Now First Printed from Original Letters Addressed to His Father, Henry Laurens, President of Congress, with a Memoir

    The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens, in the Years 1777-8, Now First Printed from Original Letters Addressed to His Father, Henry Laurens, President of Congress, with a Memoir

    Revolutionary History | Documents | The Bradford Club | 1867
                    The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens was published in an 1867 limited edition printing by the Bradford Club of New York.[1]  This collection displays Simms’s efforts of documentary editing in the vein of a similar project he published the prior year, Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond (1866).  The Army Correspondence consists of letters John Laurens wrote to his father, Henry, between the years of 1777 and 1778 during his service with the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War.  The volume also features an introductory ...
    The Forayers; or, The Raid of the Dog-Days

    The Forayers; or, The Raid of the Dog-Days

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
                Simms biographer John Caldwell Guilds notes that, in 1855, Simms would "enter a four-year period marked not by the exuberance and the surging creative force of the young Simms, but rather by an artistic imagination tempered and refined by maturity and experience."[1] The first major product of this new period was The Forayers, another in Simms's series of revolutionary romances, published by Redfield in 1855.  The Forayers is concerned with the British army's retreat from its outpost at Ninety-Six, and explores the events leading up the Battle of Eutaw Springs in 1781; ...
    The Kinsmen; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.  A Tale.

    The Kinsmen; or, the Black Riders of Congaree. A Tale.

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1841
                William Gilmore Simms’s third novel of the Revolutionary War (though fifth in order of plot chronology) was originally published in 1841 under the title The Kinsmen.  It became an early offering as part of the Redfield edition under its more popularly-known title The Scout in 1854.  A novel of familial conflict in the context of war and a broad-minded exploration of patriotism across classes, The Scout opens shortly after the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill (aka the Second Battle of Camden)[1] in May 1781.  The action ends with the British departure from the Star Fort at Ninety ...
    The Life of Francis Marion

    The Life of Francis Marion

    Revolutionary History | Biography | Henry G. Langley | 1844
    A significant aim throughout Simms’s work is to provide South Carolina, and the South generally, with pride of place in the emergence of the American nation, its people, and their national character.  Simms does this work largely through his narration of the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, the focus of numerous romances, histories, and other works.  One such work is The Life of Francis Marion, a biography of the legendary “Swamp Fox.”  Simms’s interest in Marion is pronounced, as the famous general appears in several of the revolutionary romances; while flawed at times, Simms’s ...
    The Life of Nathanael Greene, Major-General in the Army of the Revolution

    The Life of Nathanael Greene, Major-General in the Army of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | Biography | Geo. F. Cooledge & Brother | 1849
                    Simms was interested in the American Revolution throughout his career, writing significant works about the conflict in both fiction and nonfiction.  By 1840, he had already produced the first edition of his History of South Carolina as well as two of his Revolutionary Romances, all of which are works largely concerned with the effect of the Revolution on his native state.  Around this same time, Simms had decided to complement this work by writing biographies.  In April 1840, he wrote to James Lawson that he was “meditating and taking notes for several Biographies—say ...
    The Partisan:  A Tale of the Revolution

    The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1835
              The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution (1835) was the first composed of Simms’s series of romances about the Revolutionary War, though the second in the series’ overall chronology.  The Partisan was also the first of a “trilogy” of closely-related novels within Simms’s overall Revolutionary War saga, sharing characters and other links with Mellichampe (1836) and Katherine Walton (1851).[1] The novel deals with the 1780 Battle of Camden and its aftermath, especially the guerilla warfare tactics employed by “The Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion, and other ...
    The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution

    The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
              The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution (1835) was the first composed of Simms’s series of romances about the Revolutionary War, though the second in the series’ overall chronology.  The Partisan was also the first of a “trilogy” of closely-related novels within Simms’s overall Revolutionary War saga, sharing characters and other links with Mellichampe (1836) and Katherine Walton (1851).[1] The novel deals with the 1780 Battle of Camden and its aftermath, especially the guerilla warfare tactics employed by “The Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion, and other ...
    The Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

    The Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
                William Gilmore Simms’s third novel of the Revolutionary War (though fifth in order of plot chronology) was originally published in 1841 under the title The Kinsmen.  It became an early offering as part of the Redfield edition under its more popularly-known title The Scout in 1854.  A novel of familial conflict in the context of war and a broad-minded exploration of patriotism across classes, The Scout opens shortly after the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill (aka the Second Battle of Camden)[1] in May 1781.  The action ends with the British departure from the Star Fort at Ninety ...
    The Sword and the Distaff; or, "Fair, Fat and Forty," A Story of the South, at the Close of Revolution

    The Sword and the Distaff; or, "Fair, Fat and Forty," A Story of the South, at the Close of Revolution

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Walker, Richards & Co. | 1852
           Written in the “midst of one of the most productive creative surges in his career,”[1] Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote: A Story of the South at the Close of the Revolution makes the most serious and sustained claim as Simms’s masterpiece in the novel form.[2]  The fifth novel composed in Simms’s saga of the American Revolution, it is set during the chaotic close and aftermath of the war.  This makes it the last (eighth) Revolutionary Romance in terms of chronological action. As the work opens, the British are evacuating Charleston in December 1782. Then the novel shifts ...
    Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote

    Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
           Written in the “midst of one of the most productive creative surges in his career,”[1] Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote: A Story of the South at the Close of the Revolution makes the most serious and sustained claim as Simms’s masterpiece in the novel form.[2]  The fifth novel composed in Simms’s saga of the American Revolution, it is set during the chaotic close and aftermath of the war.  This makes it the last (eighth) Revolutionary Romance in terms of chronological action. As the work opens, the British are evacuating Charleston in December 1782. Then the novel shifts ...
    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

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

    Era of the Early Republic | 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, ...
    Early Lays

    Early Lays

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Era of the Early Republic | 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

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Lyrical and Other Poems

    Lyrical and Other Poems

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

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

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

    Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

    The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

    Era of the Early Republic | 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

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Areytos

    Areytos

    Antebellum Period | Poetry | John Russell | 1846
                Published in 1846 by John Russell in Charleston, SC, Areytos was also titled Songs of the South, because all the poems dealt with subject matter related to the southern United States.  Many had been published previously in various periodicals.[1] Simms issued this collection on the heels of his Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies. A Collection of Sonnets.[2]  Thinking of himself primarily as a poet and wanting to secure his place as one of America’s best, he followed the publications of Grouped Thoughts (1845) and Areytos (1846) with five other volumes of poetry, all published ...
    As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean

    As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean's Story

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | A. Hart | 1852
                As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann are two short novels that reveal Simms’s talents as a comedic writer.  While other works, like Border Beagles, contain humorous sections or characters, these two works stand out as sustained comedic successes.  In these, Simms shows an understanding of and skill at utilizing the tropes of frontier humor, popularized by the likes of A.B. Longstreet’s Georgia Scenes, as well as a use of humor as social commentary that foreshadowed the work of Twain.  While each was published previously, they were published together in one volume in 1972, ...
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