Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> Annual Address Before the South Caroliniana Society, 3 April 1943 >> Page 28

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Page 28

Speech | 2007
Transcription some- weeks in the Congressional Library I went to Europe to,
see what . I could find in the. way of literary reviews of Simms'
books; spurred by the offer of Dr. Meriwether for the. Univer-
sity to help with the expense of acquiring photostats and Mims.
Mr. Salley, whose work is an open sesame to documentary gates
abroad as well as at home, pulled wires to see that guiding
hands were stretched out to me in Paris, London and Berlin.
I even spent a week in the small village of Larne on the north-
ern coast of Ireland, hunting up the modest Scotch-Irish Gil-
mores and Simthses who had gone into the making of the in-
fant named 'William Gilmore Simms born in. Charleston, South
Carolina on April 17, 1806.
When Dr. Odell and I converged. upon Furman University
once more, setting up an office. in the library basement, it was
,with complete accord that we decided that with the hundreds
of Simms letters we had discovered to be still extant would
publish them before we undertook the. biography. Working as
our spare time off from our regular work we have had films
made of all the letters we have found, have copied the letters
from film, .carefully corrected the copies by reading back on
the film; have then had stenographers make typewritten copies
of our copies and carefully corrected their copies, and. have par
tially edited. between five and six hundred Simms-letters, read-
ing from the film as well . several hundred letters written to
Simms. This is no mean task in view of the handwriting' of all
of the letters and the condition of some of them. We will be
able_ to get at least one hundred additional letters. Eventually,
any originals which we may have acquired, photostats of foreign
reviews, typewritten copies and any kind. of material which we
have accumulated on Simms will find a. repository. in 'this an-
cient hall, a rich mine for the worker in almost any field. of
South Caroliidana from Nullification through Reconstruction.
We found some sixty odd correspondents of Simms, such as :
Governor James H. Hammond 'anal his fascinating brother
known affectionately to his intimates as "The Major"; Governor
James Lorr ; Governor B. F. Perry; Armistead Burt; Par-
cher Miles; General Chesxiut.; James K. Paulding; J. P.Ken-
nedy; George Frederick Holmes,. 'classical' scholar, of William
and 'Mary and the University of Virginia ; Edgar Allan Poe ;
Paul Hamilton Hayne ; Hawkins Ferris, Assistant Secretary of
the United States Treasury ; Evert A. Duyckinck, distinguished
New York publisher. and editor ; William Cullen Bryant-; John
Esten Cooke. The. letters we have not found have proved the
most tantalizing feature of our work. J To come across references
to letters to and from -such men as Calhoun, Timrod, Beverley
Tucker, Charles Carroll, Judge Huger and Judge Aldrich,
Bishop Stephen Elliott and such northern literati as James Fen-
imore Cooper, Fitz-Greene Halik , General James Grant Wil-