Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Subject time periods
Spanish Colonial HistoryAncient HistoryFrench Colonial History
Medieval HistoryEarly Modern HistoryBritish Colonial History
Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
Civil War and Early Reconstruction
Refined by:
  • Publication date: 1850s (x)
  • Time period: Antebellum Period (x)
  • Holding Institution: University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library (x)
Refine by: Refine by people: Refine by location:
    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, ...
    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy

    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
                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, ...
    Border Beagles:  A Tale of Mississippi

    Border Beagles: A Tale of Mississippi

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
              In The Major Fiction of William Gilmore Simms, Mary Ann Wimsatt argues that Border Beagles, the sequel to the scandalous Richard Hurdis, shows Simms as continuing to explore the contentious relationship between the older, civilized tidewater south and the wild trans-mountain frontier.[1]  While thus continuing a theme begun with Guy Rivers and Richard Hurdis, Border Beagles saw Simms decidedly scaling back the violence found in those two books, especially the latter.  Here, the author’s presentation of the chaos and dangers of the frontier is tempered by humor, with ...
    Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

    Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
                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, ...
    Charleston: The Palmetto City.  An Essay

    Charleston: The Palmetto City. An Essay

    Antebellum Period | Travel Writings | Harper & Brothers; Southern Studies Program, University of South Carolina | 1857, 1976
                    Charleston: The Palmetto City is a 1976 pamphlet republication of an essay of the same name, originally published anonymously by Simms in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in June 1857.[1]  The pamphlet edition of this essay is a facsimile of the original Harper’s piece.  In the essay, a rare example of the author’s travel writing, Simms focused on the architecture and geography of his native city, descriptions that are complimented by detailed illustrations of many of the most significant of Charleston’s buildings and memorials.[2]  While a minor work, the essay ...
    City of the Silent

    City of the Silent

    Antebellum Period | Poetry | Walker & James, Publishers | 1850
                The City of the Silent is a poem of 500 lines written by William Gilmore Simms in November 1850.  It was published by Walker & James in Charleston, SC that same year.  The cover lists a specific date, November 19, which was the date that Simms delivered the poem at the consecration of the new Magnolia Cemetery on the banks of the Cooper River, just north of Charleston.  Although it was being published in December of 1850, and despite the fact the cover notes the date of publication as 1850, the work was released as a pamphlet in February of 1851.[1]             ...
    Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

    Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
                Building out of his early experiences with writing in the psychological gothic mode in such texts as Martin Faber (1833) and Carl Werner (1838) and anticipating his later work Castle Dismal (1844), William Gilmore Simms published Confesssion; or, The Blind Heart in 1841.  Coming at the front of what many consider to be the author’s most productive period, this novel is the extended confession of Edward Clifford who is orphaned at a young age and sent to be reared by his aunt and uncle in Charleston.  Rising above his foster parents’ scorn, Clifford becomes a lawyer, a prominent citizen, ...
    Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside

    Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside

    Antebellum Period | Miscellany | E.H. Butler & Co. | 1853
                    Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside was published by E.H. Butler of Philadelphia in 1853 as a collection of Simms-authored laconics written over the course of many years.[1]  Simms began composing his proverbs as early as April 1846 when he published selections of them in the Southern Patriot until April 1847 under the title, “Wayside Laconics.”  Soon afterward, Simms collected these alongside many others and sought Rufus Griswold’s assistance in locating a book publisher for the manuscript, which proved unsuccessful.  Simms then ...
    Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

    Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City, Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City, Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Antebellum Period | Novella | Lippincott, Grambo, and Co. | 1853
                    Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City is a collection of stories published in 1853 by Lippincott, Grambo, and Co. of Philadelphia.  In addition to the title story, the collection includes “The Maroon” and “Maize in Milk.”  Each story was published serially prior to the collection and gradually expanded from its serial version into novella form.  In a 20 June 1853 to James Henry Hammond, Simms mentioned “collecting my scattered novellettes & tales.  You have probably seen ‘Marie de Berniere &c.’ This will be followed up by other vols. of similar ...
    Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

    Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

    Antebellum Period | Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
               “I have also a very Texan drama unpublished in my desk,” Simms wrote to state legislator, Armistead Burt, in January 1845, “which will make a rumpus, be sure, if ever it reaches light upon the stage.”[1]  That drama, Michael Bonham, was originally published pseudonymously (by “A Southron”) in the Southern Literary Messenger from February to June 1852.  Richmond publisher, John R. Thompson, released it as a small pamphlet after its serial run in July 1852.[2]  The drama is based on James Butler Bonham, a South Carolina native and lieutenant in the Texas Calvary, who died ...
    Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People.  An American Drama in Five Acts.

    Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People. An American Drama in Five Acts.

    Antebellum Period | Drama | John R. Thompson | 1851
                    Throughout his long career, Simms was regularly concerned with theatre, though drama would always be the genre with which he had the least commercial and critical success.  Norman Maurice; or,The Man of the the People is perhaps Simms’s best dramatic work, though its failings are typical of his theatrical frustrations.  Norman Maurice was a lofty experiment, mixing contemporary politics with common language presented in the format of the Elizabethan tragedy.  Written in strict blank verse, Norman Maurice is a play in which the Constitutional and slavery questions that ...
    Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative

    Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative

    Antebellum Period | Poetry | Redfield | 1853
                William Gilmore Simms’s ultimate ambition for his collected poetical works titled Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary, and Contemplative was limited to posterity.  Unlike most of his literary efforts, it was not a money-making operation.  He wrote his friend B.F. Perry in January 1852, “my hope & expectation are not profit.  I seek only to put myself fully on record for the future.”  Remarkably, Simms went on to explain this bid for future acclaim:  “I regard my career as pretty well over, and wish now to revise and make myself as worthy as possible in the eyes ...
    Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine

    Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
                William Gilmore Simms assembled his 1854 Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine largely out of his various periodical fiction publications, many from the late 1840s.  Often categorized as one of the author's novels, the work is organized as a collection of short stories unified by the central narrative conceit of a group of storytelling passengers on a sea voyage from New York to Charleston.[1]  The travelers pass the time by sharing stories of their homes or other familiar (usually southern) locales.  Because of this organization, John C. Guilds says the text exhibits ...
    The Golden Christmas: A Chronicle of St. John

    The Golden Christmas: A Chronicle of St. John's, Berkeley

    Antebellum Period | Novella | Walker, Richards & Co. | 1852
                    Published by Walker & Richards in 1852, The Golden Christmas is novella of social manners set in the lowcountry of Berkeley County near Charleston, South Carolina.  Geography is of central importance to both the book itself and the story within.  Charleston, as the home of the author, the setting of the story, and the location of the publisher and printer is as much the focus of the work as any characters or details of plot; in a 2005 introduction to the novella, critic David Aiken claims that The Golden Christmas “today provides one of the most comprehensive and accurate ...
    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

    Antebellum Period | 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 Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 3

    The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 3

    Antebellum Period | Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 1954
                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 Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 4

    The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 4

    Antebellum Period | Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 1955
                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 Wigwam and the Cabin

    The Wigwam and the Cabin

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...