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William Gilmore Simms Visiting Research Professor Endowment

William Gilmore Simms,
from an etching in Harper's
, July 2, 1870.
William Gilmore Simms (1806–70) was a native South Carolinian who gained far-ranging literary acclaim as the most prolific Southern writer of the antebellum period. Hailed as the man of the letters of the Old South, Simms garnered the respect of readers in the North and South, including such contemporaries as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe. Simms' versatility and talent led him to write 72 book-length works, including novels, short story collections, poetry, drama, literary criticism, essays, histories, and biographies. Following the Civil War and after his death, Simms' works fell out of favor. Fortunately, recent research has revived interest in and appreciation for his writings. Through the William Gilmore Simms Visiting Research Professorship Endowment, scholars are able to explore and study the extensive collection of Simms' published and manuscript works held by the Library.

Mary C. Simms Oliphant,
from a photo courtesy of
Mrs. Alester G. Furman III.
Mary C. Simms Oliphant, of Greeneville, originated the fund to honor Simms, her grandfather. Contributions from her daughter, Mrs. Alester G. Furman, III, and other family and friends made possible the presentation of the Simms Visiting Research Professorship to Professor John C. Guilds, a Simms scholar from the University of Arkansas in both 1995 and 1996. In 1997, funds were used for the restoration of Simms' personal scrapbook, which had fallen into disrepair. This scrapbook is housed in the South Caroliniana Library along with numerous other items and papers from Simms' personal library, which was donated by Mrs. Furman in 1997.

The endowment funds an annual award for research during the summer months and provides for both a stipend and campus housing. Information for those interested in applying for the professorship or for those interested in contributing to the endowment fund is available by contacting us.

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This page was last updated on 4 February 1999.