Inventory of the Lois A. Simms Papers, 1920 - 2003, and undated

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Lois A. Simms was born in Charleston, S.C. She was the 1937 class valedictorian at the Avery Normal Institute. Simms continued her education at Barber Scotia Junior College and later received a B.A. in English and Social Studies at Johnson C. Smith University in 1941. She completed her Master of Arts in Education at Howard University in 1954 and did postgraduate work at Syracuse University and The Citadel. Simms has taught at various schools in the Charleston, SC area including the Avery Normal Institute, Laing High School, Archer Elementary School, Burke High School, and Charleston High School. Simms still resides in Charleston and remains active through her membership at Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church.
The collection contains Simms' academic papers, correspondence, periodicals, student photographs, scrapbooks, yearbooks, awards, and school memorabilia.
Title: Lois A. Simms Papers, 1920 - 2003, and undated
Creator: Lois A. Simms.
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1118
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 7 linear feet
(9 archival boxes)

Biographical Note

Lois Averetta Simms was born in Charleston, SC and graduated as the 1937 valedictorian of the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston. She went on to pursue her education at Barber Scotia Junior College and she obtained her B.A. in English and Social Studies from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. After she finished her degree she returned to Charleston to teach at Avery (1941-1945, 1952). In 1954, she obtained her Master of Arts in Education at Howard University and did postgraduate work at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY and The Citadel in Charleston, SC. She taught at Burke High School (1945-1975) and Charleston High School (1975-1976), where she later retired.

Simms was active in Zion Presbyterian Church and continued her church work when Zion merged with Olivet in 1959 to become Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church. In 1983, she assisted a group of young people in the church to start the Zion-Olivet Scroll and served as editor for a number of years. Other roles she took on in the church include teaching Sunday school, serving as an organist for the Chancel and Men's Choir, and holding membership in the Presbyterian Women's organization.

Simms was one of the first volunteers at the Avery Research Center and was on the The Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture board. She also served as editor of the Avery Bulletin, which is now known as the Avery Messenger.

Simms is the author of Profiles of African-American Females in the Low Country of South Carolina (1992); Growing up Presbyterian: Life in Presbyterian Colleges and Churches (1992); and A Chalk and Chalkboard Career in Carolina (1996).

Collection Overview

1. Biographical Records include Simms' memorabilia from the Avery Normal Institute, and her academic work at Barber Scotia Junior College, Johnson C. Smith University, Howard University, and Syracuse University. The series contains draft versions of Simms' Howard University Masters thesis entitled "A Comparative Study of Provisions for the Education of Negro and White Pupils in the Public Schools of South Carolina," certificates of appreciation, thank you notes and correspondence from students she taught, audio-visual material including a 1996 audio oral history interview, and four personal scrapbooks.

2. Professional Records details Simms' work as a teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. Records include teacher plan books, yearbooks, newspaper clippings about students' achievements, commencement and school event programs, student photos, and certificates of appreciation.

3. Community Affiliations records contain published copies and proofs of the Zion-Olivet Scroll, Zion-Olivet Presbyterian's newsletter. Additionally, there are photos from 1984-1992, that document historic events and activities of the church. There is a certificate of appreciation from the Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture for Simms assistance with establishing the center.

4. Publications includes books, federal statistical pamphlets and journals, educational periodicals, and newspaper clippings.

Collection Arrangement

1. Biographical Records,1925-1996, 2003, and undated

1.1 Academic Work, 1925-1986, and undated

1.2 Personal Papers, 1931-1994, and undated

1.3 Scrapbooks, 1935-2003, and undated

1.4 Audio-Visual Records, 1955-1996, and undated

2. Professional Records, 1937-2003, and undated

2.1 Burke High School, 1937, 1956-2003, and undated

2.2 Charleston High School,1961-1976

3. Community Affiliations, 1983-1992

3.1 Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church, 1983-1992

3.2 The Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture, 1984

4. Publications, 1920-1975, and undated

Subject Headings

  • Simms, Lois Averetta.
  • African Americans -- South Carolina -- Charleston.
  • African American teachers -- South Carolina -- Charleston County.
  • African American women teachers -- South Carolina -- Charleston.
  • Education -- South Carolina -- Charleston County.
  • Zion-Olivet United Presbyterian Church (Charleston, S.C.).
  • Burke High School (Charleston, S.C.).
  • High School of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.)
  • African American high school students - South Carolina -- Charleston - Periodicals.
  • Scrapbooks -- 1930-1960.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Memorabilia.

Related Material

Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Records Collection (AMN 1030)

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Biographical Records, 1925-1996, 2003, and undated.

1.1 Academic Work, 1925-1986, and undated.

Arranged in order of Simms' attendance at the institution

1.1.1 Avery Normal Institute, 1925-1937, and undated.

Box 1   Folder 1
Avery Memorabilia, 1925-1937, and undated
Includes "The Avery Song," 1925 (Words by Beulah Shecut (class of 1928) and Music by Maude H. Smith (class of 1915) and Memories Book, which has faculty and student signatures.
The Memories book is on display in the Avery classroom
Box 1   Folder 2
Lois' Class and Dramatic Club Pins, 1937 and undated

1.1.2 Barber Scotia College, 1980-1983, and undated.

Box 1   Folder 3
Dance Classwork, undated
Box 1   Folder 4
Certificate of Appreciation, 1980
Box 1   Folder 5
Gift Plaque in Recognition of Simms' Annual Contribution to Barber Scotia College, 1980-1983

1.1.3 Johnson C. Smith University, 1967-1984, and undated.

Box 1   Folder 6
Music Classwork, undated
Box 1   Folder 7
Certificates of Membership and Appreciation; and bumper stickers, 1967-1984
Includes membership certificate to Johnson C. Smith University Century Club, Certificate of Appreciation from the Johnson C. Smith Blue and Gold Club, and annual fund bumper stickers

1.1.4 Howard University, 1948-1986, and undated.

Box 1   Folder 8
Howard Classwork, 1948 and 1953
Includes a paper Simms wrote entitled "An Analysis of the Biological Factors in Race Relations" and Explorations in Personal Adjustment by George F.J. Lehner, which was Simms' textbook for an education course at Howard. The workbook contains handwritten answers to questions.
Box 1   Folder 9
Thesis Research, Notes, and Figures, undated
Box 1   Folder 10
Public Schools of South Carolina, 1948
This journal was a reference used by Simms in completion of her thesis.
Box 1   Folder 11
Handwrittten copy of "A Comparative Study of Provisions for the Education of Negro and White Pupils in the Public Schools of South Carolina," undated
Box 1   Folder 12
Carbon copy of "A Comparative Study of Provisions for the Education of Negro and White Pupils in the Public Schools of South Carolina," undated
Box 1   Folder 13
Typed copy of "A Comparative Study of Provisions for the Education of Negro and White Pupils in the Public Schools of South Carolina," 1953
Box 2   Folder 14
Certificates of Appreciation for Financial Contributions, 1979-1986

1.1.5 Syracuse University, 1960 and undated.

Box 2   Folder 15
Special Education Classwork, 1960 and undated

1.2 Personal Papers, 1931-1994, and undated.

Box 2   Folder 16
Memorabilia and Speeches, 1931-1992, and undated
Contains community event programs, draft of a speech entitled "Strengthening Institutions for Survival in the 21st century," Clarence Deas Middleton's grammar school certificate from Wallingford Academy (1931), and the words of Fouchena E. Sheppard at the Outstanding Public Administrator of the Year ceremony (1983) for Joseph P. Riley, Jr., which includes a comment made by Simms about Riley.
Box 2   Folder 17
Student Thank You Notes, 1969-1976, and undated
Box 2   Folder 18
General Correspondence, 1941-1979, 1994
Includes invitations and letters from former students and organizations.
Box 2   Folder 19
Program from the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order, Nobles Mystic Shrine (A.E.A.O.N.M.S) and Daughters of Isis Conference, 1974
Simms' brother St. Elmo was a member of this organization

1.3 Scrapbooks, 1935-2003 and undated.

Box 3
Lois Simms: Scrapbook, 1935-1937
Contains event programs from Avery Normal Institute and other Charleston organizations, invitations, photos of family members and friends, and graduation cards.
Use digitized version
Box 4
Lois Simms: Scrapbook, 1947-1956, and undated
Items and photos in the scrapbook document Simms time in Washington, DC, at Howard University, trips to Virigina, New York City, and other U.S. cities.
Use digitized version
Box 4
Lois Simms: Scrapbook, 1972-1973
Created for Simms by her 1972-1973 10-1 Homeroom class at Burke High School to express their appreciation for her. Contains candid snapshots, lists of favorite things, class superlatives, poems, cards, etc.
Box 4
Lois Simms: Scrapbook, 1954-2003, and undated
Wooden covered scrapbook created by Simms and others that contain original and photocopies of photos, newspaper clippings, invitations, programs, etc. that document Simms' teaching career at Burke High School and Charleston High School.

1.4 Audio-Visual Records, 1955-1996, and undated.

Box 5
Howard University: A Cappella Choir Vinyl Album, undated
Box 5
Learn-a-Language: Conversational French Course, 1955
Box 5
Johnson C. Smith University Choir, undated
Box 5
Oral History Interview, 06/1996
Approximately 70-75 minutes
Simms talks about her writing process for A Chalk and Chalkboard Career in Carolina and how she came up with the various chapters, specifically the ones focusing on her students. Additionally, she provides detail about publishing her three works. Simms discusses her master's thesis. She provides information about her teaching career and some of the challenges that faced women teachers during the 1930s and 1940s. Furthermore, she gives her perspective on the attitudes of African-American students at Charleston High School. Simms gives a brief history of the beginning of Zion Presbyterian Church in Charleston, why Zion merged with Olivet in 1959, and of the Zion-Olivet Scroll.
Box 5
"The Great Major Mission Fund Phone-In," 1978-79
97 frames/14.5 minutes
A cassette and filmstrip for use in the United Presbyterian Churches in 1978-79 to report on the progress of the Major Mission Fund.

2. Professional Records, 1937-2003, and undated.

Alert! Due to privacy concerns Box 8 containing student records have been restricted and are closed for research use until 70 years (2018-2046) from the date of creation.
These records document Simms teaching at Burke High School and Charleston High School and her committment to edcuating young people.
Box 8   Folder 43-46
Student Records, 1948-1976

2.1 Burke High School, 1937, 1956-2003, and undated.

Box 2   Folder 20
Plan Books for English and History, 1956-1957 and 1959-1960
Box 2   Folder 21
Commencement and Event Programs, 1937, 1959-1988
Box 2   Folder 22
Photo Money Envelope, 1966; Student Bulletin, 1971-1972 and English Syllabus, undated
Photo Money Envelope was used by Ms. Simms to collect school photo money from her ninth grade homeroom with student names listed.
Box 2   Folder 23
Burke High School Yearbook, 1959
Box 2   Folder 24
Burke High School Yearbook, 1960
Box 6
The Parvenue, 03/1952 and 03/1967
Box 7   Folder 25
Burke High School Alumni Newspaper clippings, 1961-1984, and undated
Box 7   Folder 26
Burke High School Alumni Reunion Program and photos, 2003 and undated
Contains a reunion program for the 50th Anniversary of the Class of '53, photos from a reunion for the Class of 1970, and of Irvin Reid and Sherman Pyatt.
Box 7   Folder 27
Gift Plaque from Burke High School Classes of 1959, 1979
Box 7   Folder 28
Certificate of Appreciation from Burke High School PTSA, 1986

2.2 Charleston High School, 1961-1976.

Box 7   Folder 29
Plan Books, 1972-1976
Box 7   Folder 30
Papers from Plan Book, 1972-1976
Box 7   Folder 31
Student Photos, 1971-1972, and undated
Box 7   Folder 32
Correspondence from High School, 1961-1976, and undated
Box 7   Folder 33
Commencement and Event Programs, 1974-1976
Box 7   Folder 34
Charleston High School Newsletter and Alumni News Clippings, 1973-1976

3. Community Affiliations, 1983-1992.

These records reflect Simms' community work, specifically at Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church and The Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture.

3.1 Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church, 1983-1992.

Box 7   Folder 35
Zion-Olivet's Scroll, 1983-1991
Box 6
Zion-Olivet's Scroll proofs, 08/1984-02/1991

The proofs are arranged chronologically.

The Scroll is the church newsletter that documents church and community events and presents topics and issues of concern. Simms served as a reporter and editor.
Box 7   Folder 36
Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Photos, 1984-1986
The 1984 photos document the celebration of Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church's 25th Merger Anniversary, a picnic was held at Hampton Park in Charleston, SC.; and Rev. Newbold was the anniversary speaker.
The 1985 photos are of the 25th Anniversary and Pastor Search Committees, of church membership including oldest members and their family, and of the Christmas Candlelight Services by the youth choir.
The 1986 photos are of the church trustees, members, deacons, and of a peacemaking workshop that was held at the church.
Box 7   Folder 37
Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Photos, 1987
Photos of Zion-Olivet's Chancel Choir, of Dr. Carole Priester, the speaker for the Anniversary Celebration and snapshots of people at the celebration, of church Sunday School teachers, of nominating committee, and of the Presbyterian Women on Harvest Day Services
Box 7   Folder 38
Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Photos, 1988-1989
The 1988 photos include snapshots of students and teachers at Daily Vacation Bible School, of the Zion-Olivet Men's Council, and deacons
The 1989 photos include group and single person shots of the Presbyterian Women's organization; and photos of individuals involved in creating a plaque to commemorate "Big Zion."
Box 7   Folder 39
Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Photos, 1990
Photos document Zion-Olivet Church History Celebration, which includes photos of Simms' cake, plaque, and church history display; Pentecost Sunday activities; and the unveiling of Zion Presbyterian Church's Historic Marker at 123 Calhoun St.
Box 7   Folder 40
Zion-Olivet Presbyterian Church Photos, 1991-1992
The 1991 photos include snapshots from Rev. Blackshear's Birthday Celebration, of church members and officials, and of the acquistion of a new piano.
The 1992 photos include group and single person shots of church members and Sunday school/Vacation Bible School attendees and teachers.
Box 7   Folder 41
Certificate for Special Recognition, 1985

3.2 The Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture, 1984.

Box 7   Folder 42
Certificate of Recognition, 1984

4. Publications, and undated, 1920-1975.

Arranged in chronological order

Box 9   Folder 43
Young People Speaker: Designed for Young People of Twelve Years by E.C. and L.J. Rook, 1920
Box 9   Folder 44
Select Speeches for Declamation compiled by John H. Bechtel, 1927
Box 9   Folder 45
Negroes and the War, 1943
Published by the Office of War Information (OWI)
Box 9   Folder 46
Biennial Survey of Education in the United States, 1944-1946
Box 9   Folder 47
Biennial Survey of Education in the United States, 1946-1950
Box 9   Folder 48
Federal Security Agency Circulars, Bulletins, and Pamphlets, 1947-1951, and undated
Box 9   Folder 49
Scholastic Roto, 11/1953
Box 9   Folder 50
Practical English, 01/1964
Box 9   Folder 51
Newspaper Clippings about Porgy and Bess, 1970
Box 9   Folder 52
Newspaper Clippings, 1973-1975, and undated
Topics covered include the inauguration of James B. Edwards to South Carolina governship, crime reports, student school suspension policy change, local marriage annoucement, student achievements, and multiracial child rearing issues.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Box eight is restricted.

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lois A. Simms Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Aaisha Haykal, 03/2012

Encoded by Aaisha Haykal, 03/2012