Wlliam Gilmore Simms

Simms Initiatives Staff

Todd Hagstette


Todd Hagstette (PhD, University of South Carolina) has been with the Simms Initiatives from the beginning of its active development in 2010, serving first as Simms Curator and, since 2012, as Director. His scholarship on Simms has appeared in The Simms Review, the edited collection William Gilmore Simms’s Unfinished Civil War (2013), and as critical introductions to a handful of USC Press editions of the author’s selected works. An enthusiast of Simms’s gothic fiction, Hagstette relentlessly tries to cram the ghost story “Grayling” down the throats of his colleagues and students.

(803) 777-2403

Kate Boyd

Head of Digital Collections

Kate Foster Boyd is the Digital Initiatives Coordinator at the University of South Carolina Libraries and Program Director for the South Carolina Digital Library. Ms. Boyd was a reference librarian at USC from 2001-2003. Before that she spent 2 years at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where she was a Digital Conversion Specialist and helped create the digital library Meeting of Frontiers. Ms. Boyd received her M.L.I.S. from the School of Information at the University of Michigan in 1999 and a B.A. in Art History and French Area Studies from Kenyon College in 1992.

(803) 777-2249

Jessica Hemphill

Head Digitizer

Jessica Hemphill is a native of east Tennessee. After completing a degree in English, she advanced her professional skills in the nonprofit world--serving one year in AmeriCorps NCCC before beginning work at United Way of Greater Knoxville. A passion for helping others and a love of information led her to focus on a career in libraries. She earned a master’s degree in library and information science from USC in 2012. At the Simms Initiatives, Jessica oversees the digitization of Simms’s works and maintains the digital collection.

(803) 777-0735

Ashley Knox

Digital Project Manager

Ashley Knox is the Digital Projects Librarian at University of South Carolina Libraries. She has worked in Digital Collections in various capacities for 5 years, first working as a summer intern and part-time metadata specialist on the S.C. Digital Newspaper project, and eventually becoming a manager of digital projects. Ashley enjoys most working with the collections and creating rich sharable metadata to enhance their online accessibility.

(803) 777-0735

Sam Lackey

Research Associate

Sam Lackey graduated in 2006 from the University of South Carolina with B.A. degrees in English and Film Studies. He received his M.A. from the College of Charleston in 2009, taught as an adjunct English instructor for several years, and is now a second-year Ph.D. candidate at USC studying 19th century American Literature. He has been with the Simms Initiative as a Research Associate since August of 2013. His scholarship on Simms has appeared in The Simms Review and he is especially fond of Simms’s backwoods humor and depiction of the frontier.

(843) 421-9334

Cole Mendes


Cole Mendes is a native of northern Virginia and is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina working on his B.S. in Computer Science. Cole became a part of the Simms Initiatives team in October 2013 as a programmer. Outside of the workplace Cole enjoys exploring all aspects of computing, currently geographic information systems and cryptography.

(703) 999-6143

W. Matthew J. Simmons

Assistant Director

Matt Simmons grew up in Whiteville, NC, went to college at NC State, and finds himself here at USC studying Southern literature. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in the English department, Matt's primary research interest is how 20th century Southern writers utilize and reinterpret the South's conservative political and cultural traditions in their work; Simms provides an interesting 19th century counterpoint to such study. Matt's nonacademic interests are gardening, baseball, barbeque, and open-source software.

Jason Steelman

Web Developer


Allen Stokes

Principal Investigator

Spartanburg native Dr. Allen H. Stokes, Jr., has worked with the collections of the South Caroliniana Library since 1967. In 1972 he was named as Manuscripts Librarian and moved into the position of Director of South Caroliniana Library in 1983. He served as Director from 1983 to 2003 and from 2005 until his retirement in December 2012. In 2007, he was awarded the Governor’s Archives Award by the South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board and his alma mater, Wofford College, awarded him an honorary degree. Other prestigious awards include the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina, and a Career Achievement Award from the South Carolina Archival Association. He has also served on the editorial board of the South Carolina Historical Magazine and coedited Twilight on the South Carolina Rice Fields: Letters of the Heyward Family, 1862-1871.

(803) 777-5745

Jill Weber

Research Associate

Jillian Weber grew up in Chicago, IL and attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 2009 with a BA in English. She completed her MA at the University of South Carolina and is currently a PhD student here as well, working towards a degree in 19th century American literature. She has been with the Simms Initiatives since August 2013. Jillian's non-academic interests include photography, camping, and watching Chicago sports teams win championships.

(773) 209-5190

Ghosts of Project's Past

Elizabeth Chiaverini, Web Designer
David Dangerfield, Collections Processor
Martin Dessart, Programmer
Ehren Foley, Research Associate
Randy Heard, Operations Manager
David Moltke-Hansen, Founding Director
Mike Odom, Reserach Associate
Elizabeth Oswald, Research Assistant
Rochelle Outlaw, Collections Processor
Caroline Plowden, Research Assistant
Patricia Sasser, Digital Project Manager
Craig Spurrier, Programmer
Sarah Swinney, Collections Processor
Bella Wenum, Head Digitizer