Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Subject time periods
Ancient HistoryFrench Colonial HistorySpanish Colonial History
Medieval HistoryEarly Modern HistoryBritish Colonial History
Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
Civil War and Early Reconstruction
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  • Publication date: 1710s (x)
  • Holding Institution: University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library (x)
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    The Lily and the Totem, or, The Huguenots in Florida

    The Lily and the Totem, or, The Huguenots in Florida

    French Colonial History | Novel (Romance) | Baker and Scribner | 1850
                    While it largely fell out of the public consciousness after the author’s death, Simms’s The Lily and the Totem is one of his most intriguing works, both because of its overall quality and its experimentation with the possibilities of mixing history and fiction.  While The Lily and the Totem is a story of French Huguenots in sixteenth-century Florida, it is not, importantly, a historical romance.  Rather, Simms here experimented with a new way in which to relate history—by telling history through fictionalized narratives that fill in the gaps between what we do and do ...
    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

    Medieval History | 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 Life of the Chevalier Bayard

    The Life of the Chevalier Bayard

    Medieval History | Biography | Harper & Brothers | 1847
               For Simms, it was in a time “when chivalry was at its lowest condition in Christian Europe,” that the Chevalier Bayard provided the world, “the happiest illustration, in a single great example, of its ancient pride and character,” and “the most admirable model to the generous ambition of the young that we find in all the pages of history.”[1]  Simms wrote The Life of Chevalier Bayard, a biography of the late-medieval French knight, to serve as an archetype of virtue for Americans.  In 1845, Simms had written two articles on Bayard for Southern and Western[2], and ...
    The Damsel of Darien

    The Damsel of Darien

    Early Modern History | Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1839
               The Damsel of Darien was published in two volumes in 1839.  Simms first mentioned the story to James Lawson in a 2 September 1838 letter, revealing that he “wrote during the first part of the summer some 150 pages of a new novel & there it sticks.”[1]  Simms informed Lawson in January of 1839 that Damsel would be published with Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, who would pay $1000 for a first edition of 3,000 copies; in the meantime, Simms was busy revising the “numerous errors of history & geography” committed while composing the first volume of the story.[2]  ...
    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

    Early Modern History | 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 ...
    The Life of Captain John Smith. The Founder of Virginia.

    The Life of Captain John Smith. The Founder of Virginia.

    British Colonial History | Biography | Geo. F. Cooledge & Brother | 1847
               The Life of Captain John Smith was published by George F. Cooledge & Brother in March 1847 as part of The Illustrated Library series intended for school libraries and general reading.[1]  Simms’s letters indicate that he began the biography as early as November 1844 when he wrote to George Frederick Holmes: “I have half contracted to prepare a Life of Sumter, one of Paul Jones, and a third of John Smith, with a new edition of his history of Virginia.”[2]  By the middle of the month Simms informed James Lawson he had already “written a chapter.”  The process of getting ...
    The Yemassee.  A Romance of Carolina.

    The Yemassee. A Romance of Carolina.

    British Colonial History | Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1835
                The Yemassee is historically the best known of the long fictions of William Gilmore Simms.  Set on the South Carolina frontier, Simms’s third book-length fiction treats the Yemassee War of 1715-17, when the Yemassee Indians, with their Spanish and Native American allies, attacked the low country colonial settlements.  Writing in the midst of the removal of natives from east of the Mississippi to the newly created Indian Territory in the future Oklahoma, Simms emphasized such motives for the war as the colonists’ need for land, the conflict between rival European powers ...