Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 4: No 2) >> Simms's Least Known Separate Publication: A First Examination >> Page 6

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Page 6

Secondary Scholarship | 1996
Transcription the poet in the best artistic light" ()dv). And Guilds, in his biography (188),
quotes with approval Kibler's statement that the volume was another
indication of Simms's belief that the poet "should voice the sentiments of his
community." Simms had contributed many of the poems to the local press
before sending the volume off to the printer in March of 1848, and we know
from his correspondence that the pamphlet was indeed ready for distribution
during the parade and celebration on July 28 (Kibler, Poetry 77).
Simms's broadside ode 'The Press" has an even closer connection with
that parade and celebration. He makes no mention of the broadside in his
Letters, but in the second Volume Two, in one of their admirable footnotes,
the editors call attention to its publication by quoting the Charleston
Courier's description of the event: 'The celebration in honor of the Palmetto
Regiment took place on July 28. The Courier of July 31 gives a detailed
account, remarking that `one of the principal attractions of the day was a
Printing Press, placed on a Car, tastefully decorated,' which `at intervals
during the march, . . . was put in operation, throwing off copies' of an ode by
Simms, entitled "The Press; An Ode of the Charleston Typographical Society.
At the Reception of the Palmetto Regiment in Charleston, July 28, 1848" .. .
The report continues: The novelty of the Press at work, there being many in
the city who had never before seen one in operation, attracted much
observation, and there was great anxiety exhibited to obtain copies of the
Ode, thus freshly thrown off, especially by the ladies, many of whom received
them from the piazzas and windows, as the Car passed through the streets."
(Letters 2:430n).
The footnote does not mention the fact that no copy of the broadside
is known. Nor does Kibler, in listing this poem in his The Poetry of William
Gilmore Simms: An Introduction and Bibliography, comment on the fact that
no copy is known (279). He identifies two newspaper versions, in the Courier
and the Mercury, and lists two versions, which he does not identify, in
Scrapbook A of the Charles Carroll Simms Collection. One of these is the
Mercury version; the other, which has not previously been identified, but is
apparently the version Simms preferred, is from the Charleston Evening
News, and is the version I quote from here.
The original publication of this broadside is unique, so far as I can
tell, in that the public was privy to the entire publication process. And I