The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

from a historian's point of view if the author had stuck to
verifiable facts, as did E. Douglas Branch in his superior account,
The Hunting of the Buffalo. Yet this is a basically true work and
one in which the selection of material and the writing combine
to hold the reader's interest.
WAYNE GARD
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Compiled and edited
by Mary C. Simms Oliphant, Alfred Taylor Odell, T. C.
Duncan Eaves. Introduction by Donald Davidson. Biograph-
ical sketch by Alexander S. Salley. Volume I, 183o-1844, pp.
clii+456; Volume II, 1845-1849, pp. xxx+61o. Columbia
(University of South Carolina Press), 1952, 1953. $8.50 per
volume.
As people in the days of William Gilmore Simms were over-
whelmed by the literary output of his heart and hand, so today
readers of these volumes are overwhelmed by the editorial work
that went into them. For many years Mary C. Simms Oliphant,
a granddaughter of Simms, carried on the work of collecting the
Simms letters, and in 1937 she and Professor Alfred Taylor Odell,
of Furman University, began editing these letters. Before the
first volume appeared Professor Odell died. He was replaced
by Professor T. C. Duncan Eaves, of the University of Arkansas,
and he and Mrs. Oliphant have edited the subsequent volumes.
Their work is most complete, but not at all redundant. No
question either as to name of person or place or literary allu-
sion goes unanswered and no cross reference which could serve
any legitimate purpose is left undone. In the completeness of
such editorial work these volumes are certainly not surpassed
in the whole field of American publications.
What did not fall to the editors to do, they assigned to equally
competent experts. Donald Davidson does a masterful short essay
on Simms' place in American letters, in which he places Simms
far above the level assigned to him by William P. Trent, who
up to the publication of these volumes has been looked upon as
the final arbiter on Simms. Incidentally, Davidson leaves Trent
in a most unenviable position as a Simms critic; but at least this
extenuating fact may be argued in Trent's defense that he did not
have available the wonderful collection of letters now being pub-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/. Accessed April 18, 2014.