Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> Front Matter >> Introduction

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Introduction

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription xl THE SIMMS LETTERS
little for articles and welcomed amateur authors who did not have to be paid. A long series of letters to Brantz Mayer points up Simms' difficulties, as do occasional letters to James Chesnut, Jr., Charles Etienne Arthur Gayarre, Matthew Fontaine Maury, and others. In the letters of the 1850s we also see Simms writing for periodicals other than the Review, reviewing books for Charleston newspapers (which helped to fill his library shelves if not his purse), and writing novels and revising for Redfield's edition those already written. Anonymous publication of his novels still appealed to Simms. On January 5, 1852, he wrote to Abraham Hart that "in our country, the better course is to be anonymous as often and as long as possible. Our people, in their passion for change & novelty (even more great than that of the Athenians) soon tire of familiar names, and a reputation is seldom long the guarantee for circulation."
A number of the letters written in 1856 concern Simms' northern lecture tour, arranged by Justus Starr Redfield and doubtless designed in part to promote his edition of Simms' novels. One letter to Octavia Walton Le Vert of November 24, 1856, which deals in part with this ill-fated tour, cancelled shortly after it began, contains Simms' advice on where to publish: "I learn with great surprise that you propose to publish it [her Souvenirs of Travel] in Mobile. This, according to my experience, will seriously prejudice your claims & impair the success of your performance. If you are not too deeply committed to any local publisher, I beg leave most earnestly, to counsel you to get it issued either in New York, Boston or Philadelphia. There, they are professed publishers, with all the mechanism for giving you large circulation." His recent, humiliating rebuff by his New York audience had not kept him from recognizing that it was only in the North that an author could publish with any hope of real success.
A letter to Benson John Lossing written on the eve of the war, on December 13, 1860, shows Simms' concern for his northern friend were he to visit South Carolina to do research at that time: "No personal character however high, no interposition of friends, however influential, though they might save you from personal danger, could serve you to elude suspicion, or to prevent annoyance. ... Such is the exasperation of our people at large that they are no