Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 1: No 1) >> A Visit to Woodlands, 1852 >> Page 9

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Travel Writings | 1852[?], 1857
Transcription A VISIT TO WOODLANDS, 1852

T. Addison Richards

London-born T. A. Richards (1820-1900) came to live in Georgia in 1838.
The young artist visited Simms at Woodlands with his sketch pad on 12 February
1852, the date he signed a drawing of Simms' house. It was this graphite sketch
that became the model for S. V. Hunt's steel engraving in Homes of American
Authors in 1852, the primary visual image by which we know Woodlands today.
The Richards sketch, however, as our "primary" document done on the spot, is
a more historically accurate rendering. It is hoped that a future review can
reproduce it from its private collection in Georgia.
Richards is also said to have described Woodlands in a prose piece entitled
"A Visit To Woodlands" published in the Temperance Souvenir in 1852.'
Searches have not located a copy of this work, perhaps an annual or gift book.
There is no listing for it in The Library of Congress Catalogue of Books. This
piece was likely the basis for Richards' account of Woodlands published in 1857
in his Appletons' Illustrated Hand-Book of American Travels: A Full and Reliable
Guide by Railway, Steamboat, and Stage (New York: D. Appleton), pp. 253-255,
and here presented:

The journey on the South Carolina railway will give the traveller some
inkling of the lowland features of the southern landscape, though not in its
strongest or most interesting character. Since much of the way is through
extensive pine forests, which makes the rhyming sneer bestowed upon this part of
the country not altogether inapt:

"Where to the North, pine trees in prospect rise;
Where to the East, pine trees assail the skies;
Where to the West, pine trees obstruct the view;
Where to the South, pine trees forever grew!"

But a second glimpse will reveal, amidst all these "pine trees," the
towering cypress, with its foliage of fringe and its garlands of moss--the waxen
bay-leaf, the rank laurel, and the clustering ivy; and, if you are watchful, you ma
catch, in the rapid transit of the cars through the swamps, glimpses of almost
interminable cathedral aisles of cypress and vine, sweeping through the deeper
parts of the boundless lagoons. But a railroad glimpse, and especially at the speed
with which you travel here, is quite insufficient for reasonable observation. At
Woodlands, a mile only south of Midway, the centre of the road, lives the
distinguished poet and novelist, Simms; and, as he is always upon hospitable