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William Gilmore Simms papers

Collection MS-1986-032: William Gilmore Simms papers


  • Creation: 1841-1869

Scope and Contents

This collection contains seven handwritten letters and one poem extract written by William Gilmore Simms, a Charleston, South Carolina writer. The letters and poem are dated between 1841 and 1869. Two letters are between Simms and his publisher; three letters request information; and one letter – written the year before his death – talks of his home and garden.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

William Gilmore Simms was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 17, 1806. Raised by his maternal grandmother, Simms was encouraged to produce patriotic verses and plays as a child.

A prolific writer, Simms' literary career spanned over 35 years. His first novel, Martin Faber, was published in 1833. His final stories, "The Cub of the Panther: A Mountain Legend," and "Voltmeier; or, The Mountain Men," were published in 1869. Edgar Allen Poe suggested that Simms produced the best novels since James Fennimore Cooper. Over the course of his career Simms published over eighty books of poetry, romances, historical novels, essays, and literary criticism. He experienced his greatest popularity prior to the Civil War. His reputation declined after the war due to his racism and outspoken support of slavery and secession.

Simms died on June 11, 1870.

Sources: "Simms, William Gilmore (1806-70)." Oxford Companion to American Literature. Edited by James D. Hart. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, 690-691.

"William Gilmore Simms." Appletons Encyclopedia. 2001. (26 April 2004).


.75 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



The collection contains items of correspondence and one poem extract by the 19th century American author William Gilmore Simms.


Organized into two series. I. Correspondence from William Gilmore Simms, and II. Poem.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.

William Gilmore Simms Papers
Elizabeth Delaney, 1986; Sarah K. Nytroe, 2004; and Rachael Young
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States