ptesiient iHhimms JIatkson #imm0ns
By MARY ROSSER
PRESIDENT AND MRS. SIMMONS.
On the eve of the departure of Dr. and Mrs. Simmons from.
Shorter College, where they have served so faithfully and with
such glorious success for a dozen years, to take up their duties
in a new field which offers them a broader scope of usefulness
at Brenau College, the compiler of this pamphlet has undertaken
in her imperfect wa}^ to set forth herein the world's appreciation
©f the exalted character and noble labors of these devoted
educators. The truth of the statement that "we are advertised
by our loving friends" is shown by the thousand and more
expressions from prominent newspapers and persons of note who
have been pleased to bear tribute to the worth of Dr. and Mrs.
Simmons, and to the value of their services to the cause of
education. A few dozens of quotations — made somewhat at
random — from this great mass of tributes to them will fill the
space allotted to this pamphlet, and serve to give an outline of
their notable careers.
The work to which they are giving their lives, the educa-
tion of young ladies, is truly a great one, involving natural
ability, thought, incessant labor, money, and an unswerving de-
votion to the high ideals which impelled them to adopt the profes-
sion of teaching. All this they have lavished upon the young
ladies who have come under their care. To this cause their
lives are consecrated, and the zeal with v/hich they labor em-
bodies the idea that "life, like every other blessing, derives its
value from its use alone."
They are not troubling themselves concerning theories
of woman's rights or making complaints of woman's wrongs,
but in spite of hindrances, they are going forward, with a
courage born of heaven, in their noble work.
They are blending patience with perseverance, culture with
character, society with soul satisfaction; they are filling golden
days with golden deeds and with all that which helps the world
to look up, hope and be better.
A writer once said that Chopin selected his parents with
great care. This seems to have been the case with both Dr. and
Mrs. Simmons; for the following references to the parentage and
early environment of each, bear the writer out in the statement
that Napoleon was only half correct when he said "the fate of a
child is always the work of its ynother."'
A sketch of Dr. Simmons by Rev. Junius W. Millard, D.
D., in "Men of Mark in Georgia" gives briefly the outlines of
his life :
' ' If heredity amounts to anything in determining char-
acter, then Dr. T. J, Simmons was predestined by his
ancestry to be a gentleman and a scholar. Students at
Wake Forest College, North Carolina, during the seven-
ties and eighties, recall with pride the splendid abilities
of the professor of physics, Dr. William Gaston Sim-
mons, a man whose genuine culture was matched only
by his refreshing modesty. The traditions of the col-
lege are that at one time or another, owing to the neces-
sary shifting of the work in a growing institution, or to
the illness of his colleagues. Prof. Simmons taught
almost every class in the college, and was equally at
home in literature, philosophy and science. Like Lord
Bacon he seems to have taken all knowledge for his
province. This ripened scholar took to wife Maiy
Elizabeth Foote, a gentle daughter of one of the lead-
ing families of the Old North State, who still survives
her distinguished husband. Of this union were born
several daughters and two sons, the elder of whom
forms the subject of this sketch. The younger son,
James Henry Simmons, has gained much distinction as
a teacher, first as Professor of English for a number of
years at William Jewell College in Missouri, and since
1898 as head of the same department in Shorter College.
Of the five daughters, the eldest, Nannie, is the wife of
the Hon. W. D. Trantham of South Carolina; the
second daughter, MoUie, is the widow of the distin-
guished lawyer, Hon. David A, Covington, of Monroe,
N. C; the third, Ada, is the wife of Plon. E. W.
Timberlake, a judge of the Superior Court of North
Carolina ; the youngest, Willie, is the wife of Hon. E,
Y. Webb, a member of Congress from the Ninth Con-
gressional District of North Carolina. Of this brilliant
group, one, Evabelle, never married, but spent her too-
brief life in teaching, a profession for which she, too,
like the brothers who survive her, seemed peculiarly-
fitted, for her learning was great, and she was recogniz-
ed by all as the ripest scholar among the young women
of her state.
"Thomas J. Simmons was born at Wake Forest, N.C.,
April 18th, 1864, and was prepared for college in a
private academy in his hotijie town. Entering the col-
lege, he graduated with the degree of A. M., in June,
"His professional career has been both varied and uni-
form; varied in its progress from one success to another,
but uniform in that all that he has attempted has been in
theone directionof educational work. For a yearhetaught
in the public schools of Fayetteville, N.C.,and for six
years in the schools of Durham, in the same state. In
1890 he came to Georgia to become the principal of the
public high school of Athens, and after one year he
resigned this position to accept a more important one as
superintendent of the public schools of Dawson. In
1893 he became president of Union Female College at
Eufaula, Alabama, and after five years accepted the
Presidency of Shorter College at Rome, Georgia, which
position he filled with dignity and marked success from
1898 to 1910. During the twelve years of his adminis-
tration Shorter rose from the rank of a small college of
rather local influence to that of one of the few really
great institutions for the higher education of women in
the South, and came to be noted not only for its thorough
respect for genuine scholarship, but also for its delight-
ful social atmosphere and its decidedly strong and
healthy moral tone.
' 'To the grief of the friends of Shorter College, Dr.
Simmons, in January, 1910, bought an interest in
Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia, under the agree-
ment that at the end of the scholastic year he would
become joint president with the former owner of Brenau,
Dr. H. J. Pearce. In making this change. Dr. Sim-
mons saw in Brenau, with its large grounds, its well-
equipped buildings, and its excellent faculty — after-
wards to be still further strengthened by the addition
of almost the entire teaching force of Shorter College —
a broader opportunity for usefulness than could be
found in any other woman's college in the South.
"So signal has been the success bf Dr. Simmons that
his alma mater honored herself when she conferred
upon him at the commencement of 1905 the honorary-
degree of Doctor of Laws.
"But this success has not been achieved without aid,
for on November 11, 1891, Dr. Simmons was married to
Miss Lessie Muse Southgate of Durham, North Carolina,
one of the most brilliant women of her day and a musi-
cian of national reputation.
"To the advantages of a regal heredity, and a well-
rounded education, and a most fortunate marriage, Dr.
Simmons has added the advantages of extensive foreign
travel. A dozen times he has crossed the seas to visit
the countries of Europe, as well as Egypt and the Holy-
Land, and from each place which he has visited he has
brought with him stores of knowledge and a ripened
"Dr. Simmons's most pronounced characteristic is his
modesty, which came to him in a direct line from his
distinguished father, j^et to those who know him best he
stands most of all for an invincible devotion to truth,
the other side of which is seen in his hatred of all
shams and every species of dishonesty. Tall, big of
body and broad of shoulders, a man of few Vv^ords and
those quietly spoken, like all men of gentle speech he
has hidden behind his quiet manner the strength of a
superb manhood. His is the kind that IS rather than
SEEMS, and those who know him well have not been
surprised at what he has accomplished in the world.
Much has he done in these few years for the education
of the youth of Georgia and the South, and, best of all,
he has evermore insisted upon an education that makes
for Christian character and the real glory of God."
From another source, the late distinguished Dr. Tho;^. H
Pritchard, is taken, in a brief quotation, a characterization
©f his illustrious father :
"* * '•' These are the bare facts of his life, but they
give a very imperfect idea of his great abilit}^ his pro-
found learning and the sterling qualities of his char-
acter. In my humble opinion he was one of the most
remarkable men I have ever known.
"* :!« >r I iiave been thrown into close relations with
three great students in my life time. One of them was
Dr. Crawford Toy, perhaps the most erudite m.an I have
ever known; another was the world-renowned Dr. John
A. Broadus, and the third was Prof. Simmons. His
power of large and ready acquisition, the grasp, vigor
and accuracy of his memory, and the ease with which
his large attainments arranged themselves in systematic
and even scientific order in his mind, were as remark-
able as the kindred qualities which have made these
two gentlemen so distinguished as scholars. There was
scarcely any topic within the wide range of human
learning with which he did not seem familiar. * * *
"He was, too, a profound lawyer. The Hon. S. F.
Phillips (afterwards Solicitor-General of the United
States), pronounced him the ablest student who ever read
law with him, and I doubt not but that under favorable
conditions he would have developed into a chief justice
whose decisions would have been as famous as those of
Henderson, Ruffin, Pearson, or the great man William
Gaston, after whom he was named.
"Mr. T. B, Kingbury, the foremost editor in North
Carolina, recently said of him: 'He was a man of
very superior intellect. We doubt if he ever had his
superior in his departments in North Carolina. He was
a rarely gifted and eminent North Carolinian, an orna-
ment to the excellent literary institution he had done
so much to advance and place upon the permanent
foundation upon which it now rests and he was par
excellence, the most gifted mind among the Baptists of .
North Carolina, whether at home or abroad.'
"This is high praise from such a source, and yet I be-
lieve it is just. His was really a great intellect, and
many men with his ability and learning would have
made a name famous throughout the world. "
At the beginning of his career as a college president, there
appeared in print as an introduction of Professor Simmons
to the people of Alabama, his new home, a few of the letters
written about him by prominent persons who had been pleased
to speak of his character and attainments.
"Executive Department, State of Georgia.
"Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 21, 1893. This letter will introduce
Prof. T. J. Simmons, of Dawson, Georgia. Prof. Sim-
mons is personally known to me both as a man and as
a teacher, I cheerfully recommend him as both. I
have visited his school, and inspected his method of
teaching. He is thorough, progressive, and efficient. I
regard him as an excellent teaclier, and fully recom-
mend him to the fullest confidence and consideration
of all. He is a gentleman of high character and ability
and deserving of the esteem of his fellow-citizens.
W. J. NORTHEN, Governor."
'Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of North
"Raleigh, N. C, June 11,1889. It affords me pleasure
to bear testimony to the high character and excellent
scholarship of Mr. T. J. Simmons, and to say that
these qualifications, added to his experience and suc-
cess as a teacher, commend him to any school officers
who may be seeking a live, progressive teacher. I can
safely say that he will fill with credit any position which
he will accept. S. M. FINGER,
State Supt. Public Instruction."
'President's Office, Wake Forest College.
"Wake Forest,North Carolina, June 15, '89. Mr.T. J.
Simmons, of Wake county, N. C, received his Diploma
as Master of Arts of Wake Forest College in June, 1883.
During the seven years of his student life here, he was
assiduous as a worker and blameless as a Christian
gentleman. His career as a teacher, since his gradua-
tion, has been a marked success. I can very cordially
recommend him to any who may wish to secure the
services, as a teacher, of an honest, earnest-hearted,
scholarly man. CHAS. E. TAYLOR, Pres't."
"Durham,N. C, April 11, 1889. It has been my good
fortune for several years to be intimately acquainted
with Prof. Thomas J. Simmons, in regard to whom it
gives me pleasure to be able to make the following state-
"As regards character, I think I may well say that I
have known no man whose life better evinces the attri-
butes of the true Christian gentleman.
The intellectual and social advantages which he has
enjoyed during his whole life have been of thevety high-
est order, and well to say, he has appreciated them suf-
ficiently to merit the reputation of being one of the fore-
most educators in the vSouth.
"He is a son of the late Dr. William Gaston vSimmons,
of Wake Forest College, who was one of the ablest men
North Carolina has ever produced. The son is follow-
in?- the noble example of the father. He has a strong
mind, and it is well cultivated. In teaching he is
clear, sympathetic, and forcible. His store of inform-
ation is wonderful for a man of his age.
"He will discharge faithfully, creditably, and with
dionity the duties of anv position that he would accept.
EDWIN W. KENNEDY,
Supt, Durham Graded Schools."
"Wake Forest College, N. C, June 14, 1889. It
affords me great pleasure to make the following state-
ment in regard to the mental endowments and personal
worth of Prof. Thomas J. Simmons.
"While he came under my instruction only in Greek,
yet what he did in it revealed such pov/ers of mind as
would generally enable one to master any subject to
which he might apply himself. The grade he main-
tained in Greek was high, and might easily have reach-
ed or approximated the maximum, if he had given
special attention to it. His tastes, however, led him
rather into other fields. In Physical Sciences he did
perhaps his best work. His honored and accomplished
father, the late Prof. W. G. Simmons, LL. D., who
then filled the chair of Natural Science, was his teacher
for the most part in this department. Since his
graduation he has been engaged most of the time as
feading instructor in the large and efficient Graded
Schpoi of Durham, N. C, and from those most com-
petent to express a judgment as to his ability and suc-
cess, there comes only praise of the highest order. All
the accounts place him in the front rank as a teacher,
"I regard Prof. Simmons as a young man of singular-
ly pure morals, and I feel confident that those who may
be brought into intimate official or personal relations
with him will find him a Christian gentleman with
whom it is a pleasure to be associated.
W. B. ROY ALL, Prof, of Greek."
'Slate School Commissioner, of Georgia.
"Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 28,1896. To Whom It may Con-
cern : Having known Prof. T. J. Simmons personally
and professionally for some time, it gives me great pleas-
ure to testify to his ability as a teacher and to his char-
acter as a gentleman. lie bears a most excellent reputa-
tion where he is known, both for his good character,
and his scholarly attainments.
"it v/as my pleasure upon one occasion to visit his
school in Dawsou, Ga,, and I can say that I was more
than pleased with the manner in which he conducted it.
The discipline was as good as the best, and the organ-
ization and instruction v/as such as to recomm.end him
to me as a thoroughly competent teacher.
"Very truly, S. D. BRADWELL,
State School Commissioner of Georgia."
"Wake Forest College, April 30, 1S89. Prof. T. J.
Simmons took the Degree of A. M., at this institution,
"During the period of his connection with the college
it so happened that my work underwent three changes, so
that I caught him at more points than any other professor
in the Faculty. And I can truly say that I never found
him othervv^isethan well prepared, and accurately inform-
ed. In the Moral Philosophy Course, he was noted for
a disposition to inquire still more deeply into the reason
of things than the text-book really demanded, and not
to accept a proposition untill he fully comprehended it
in all its bearings.
"in French, German, and English, he displayed great
interest and succeeded admirably. At graduation he
was unusually well qualified to give instruction in these
branches. To this may be added the fact that having
never allowed himself to neglect the acquisitions of the
college course, he may safely be counted on as an
instructor in any of the branches the study of which
he prosecuted so successfully here. Were I at the head
of any institution of learning, I should certainly feel
no hesitancy in entrusting to him any department to be
taught in or conducted by him if he fully consented
to undertake the work involved, His success in teach-
ing and the reputation he has achieved already are
better grounds of commendation than can be found in
letters or other testimonials.
"I cheerfully recommend him to any college in need
of a teacher in the departments of Higher English,
French and German, Moral Philosophy, the Ancient
WM. ROYALL, Prof, of English."
"Dawson, Ga., May 21, 1893. We, the undersigned,
members of the Board of Education of the Dawson
Public Schools, take pleasiure in recommending Prof. T.
J. Simmons as a man of the best moral character and of
high order of ability as a superintendent of a school
"As a disciplinarian he has few equals,and the interest
manifested by his pupils as well as their advancement
in their studies show him to be a man fully capable of
discharging all the responsible duties of a superin-
tendent. ^ .
"J. M.Griggs, president; J. A. Laing, A. J. Balawm,
E. L. Laney, O. B. Stevens, J. R. Mercer, R. F. vSim-
mons, R. L. Melton, W. C. Kendrick, S. R. Christie,
J. G. Dean. "
"Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 26, 1893. Prof. T. J. Simmons,
Dawson, Ga. Dear Sir:— During a recent visit to Daw-
son I had the pleasure of inspecting the institution of
learning over v,^hich you preside.
"I said then what I take pleasure in repeating now—
that I have never seen a school of the same grade in
which the discipline was more wholesome, and the
teaching more skillfvil and satisfactory.
"I believe you are pre-eminently fitted for a broader
field of usefulness than the one which you now occupy,
and if you should ever determine to remove from Daw-
son, it will give me real pleasure to aid you in procur-
ing a place in which you can exercise your ability to the
best advantage. Yours truly,
J. B. HAWTHORNE, [D. D., LL. D.,
Pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta.]"
'Office of Superintendent Charlotte City Schools.
"Charlotte, N. C, May 6, 1889. 'To all whom it
may concern, ' this testimonial witnesseth :
"That I have known Mr. Thomas J. Simmons since
1883. Mr. Simmons was principal of our High School,
a department of the city schools of Fayetteville, N. C.
He was elected at a higher salary principal of the Dur-
ham Graded and High School.
"Mr. Simmons was unanimously requested by our
Board of School Commissioners (21 in No.) to remain
"He was successful as a teacher to an eminent degree,
and gave universal satisfaction to superintendent,
patrons, trustees avid pupils. He was then quite young.
The very high standard of excellence of vrhich he then
gave evidence in no uncertain manner, he has retained
in Durham. I take great pleasure in endorsing every
v/ord of commendation and praise which he has
"in regard to his address and Christian character, I
cheerfully state that Mr. Simmons is all that the most
exacting could require. The man has fulfilled the
promise of youth, and 1 regard the community as fortu-
nate which secures permanently the services of Mr. T.
J. Simmons. ALEXANDER GRAHAM,
Supt. Charlotte City Schools."
"l have known Mr. Thomas J. Simmons from his
birth, and regard him as an exemplary Christian gentle-
"He has enjoyed exceptional educational advantages,
having stood high in his classes at college, and having
taught for several _vears since with distinguished success.
"His father. Prof. W. G. Simmons, EL. D., was one
of the ripest .scholars and most efficient instructors
North Carolina has yet produced, and he had the bene-
fit of the careful training of such a father.
"in my judgment, any institution of learning v.'ould
be fortunate which should secure Mr. Simmons as
T. IE PRITCHARD, (D. D., EE. D.,)
Pastor First Baptist Church, Wilmington, N. C."
'University of Georgia, Chancellor's Office.
,, Athens, Ga., June 2d, 1891. To whom it may concern:
I have personal knowledge of Mr. Simmons's work as
Principal of the Washington Street Public School in this
cit}^ inasmuch as he has had my sons under his im-
mediate tuition as they, are preparing for the University.
"I regard Mr. Simmons as a scholar and good teacher,
a man of Christian faith and blameless life. And as
such I commend him to any community where his lot
may be cast. WM. E. BOGGS,
Chancellor of the University of Ga."
Regarding the work of President and Mrs. Simmons in
Eufaula, the writer has seen many expressions of highest praise
from the most prominent people of the community and others
throughout the South, from which it is evident that there can
hardly be a better or more artistic school than theirs.
The few quotations made here (1) from a recent Gov-
ernor of Alabama, Hon. W. D. Jelhs; (2) from a well-known
divine. Rev. J. B. Culpepper; (3) from a Judge of the Superior
Court of Georgia, Hon. W. C. Worrill; (4) from a prominent
business man, cotton exporter, A. C. von Gundell; (5) from a
distinguished Congressional leader, Hon. J. M. Griggs, are-
typical of the whole.
(1) "I am of the opinion that as a home for a girl
there is no other place in any state that offers the refin-
ed surroundings, and Avhere she may secure the same
gentle, gracious attention and kindness, as within the
walls of Union Female College. The faculty is made
up of the loveliest people I know. I believe that the
mental training to be secured there is of the highest
order, and that in every way it is superior to any other
school in the South, at least. I freely recommend Pro-
fessor Simmons and his school to any man who has a
daughter or ward to be educated."
(2) "'^ * * '•' I know of no institution in the whole
country which is more deserving of success, and in
whose prosperity I shall more rejoice. I thank God
that there is a college in which young ladies may receive
an education and then return to their Christian homes
and mothers as pure as when they left them,
"a beltet place for parents to send their daughters
cannot be found anywhere south of Mason and Dixon's
line — nor north of it, nor east of it, nor west of it ! "
(3) "The several visits I have made to your College
through the term have given me opportunity to learn
much of your methods and the character of your work,
from which I feel justified in saying that I do not
believe that there is a female college in the country
at large w^here more conscientious, faithful and thor-
ough work is being done.
"I certainly think that you have the most elegant and
refined corps of teachers I have seen collected together,
and it would be impossible for a girl of any degree of
intelligence to come in contact with them and with your-
self and JNIrs. Simmons and not go out gieath^ benefited.
"l notice that all of youi girls get plenty of exercise
and the necessary recreation. They look healthy and
contented, while their neatness of dress and the ease and
elegance of their manners prove that all those graces
that would be inculcated in the home training of their
daughters by parents are scrupulously guarded. In
short I regard Union Female College under your man-
agement as one of the most desirable institutions a
father can select for the education of his daughter.
Certainly I know of no other to which I could send my
daughter with the feeling of more assurance that her
proper training would not be neglected." (Note: Judge
Worrill's daughter mentioned above afterwards be-
came famous as an opera singer in Germany.)
(4) "it has ever been a source of great delight to
my wife and myself that we succeeded in finding for
our daughter a college, so near at home, which in my
estimation ranks as high as any in the South. I find
that the advantages your college offers in all branches
of study can hardly be excelled. As regards music I
do not hesitate to say that no college in the United
States has advantages surpassing those of Union Female
College under the directorship of Mrs. Simmons.
"Last, but not least, I am happy to say that the disci-
pline of 3^our school is perfect, and that all the sur-
roundings are of great refinement. The fact that the
girls love their teachers, and love the college as a
second home, proves that they meet with loving and
(5) "l am glad of an opportunity to give an esti-
mate of your school. Knowing Mrs. Simmons and your-
self as I do, I do not hesitate to declare my firm belief
that no better school exists anywhere in the South.
Mrs. Simmons's genius and culture in music, your
own extraordinary capabilities as an educator, and the
great executive ability and Christian character of both
of you, render you specially fitted to preside over a
school for the traininc; of girls and young ladies. I
look upon your school as an ideal one, and cannot but
wish it were in my own state."
In addition to the great mc;ss of ccmmendatory expressions
similar to the above, the u'riter desires to direct attention to the
following publication issued by the Board of Trustees in 1893.
"office of Board of Trustees, Union Female College.
"Eufaula, Ala., June 29, 1896. In 1893, Prof, and
Mrs. T. J. Simmons took charge of Union Female Col-
lege, and during the past three j'cars they have by their
untiring energy and efScient management placed it
among the foremost female colleges of the land.
' 'After the past three years' acquaintance wnth the work
of Prof. Simmons and his faculty, and after a careful con-
sideration of all matters pertaining to the College, we,
the Board of Trustees, wish to endorse in the strongest
terms the work of the College during said years. Prof.
Simmons lias more than fulfilled the promises made to
the Board of Trustees when he assumed control ; and
if merit ever insures success, Union Female College
under its present management has a most brilliant
career before it.
"We have noted carefully the eminent qualifications
of the large corps of instructors engaged for the coming
session, all of whom have had very successful experi-
ence in teaching in first-class colleges. We feel confident
that such changes as have recently been made are, in
every instance, improvements ; and we desire to claim
that what has been said during the past three years of
the College's superiority over other similar institutions,
will be all the more true as to its future work.
"it affords us pleasure to bear testimony to the high
character and excellent scholarship of Prof. vSimmons,
and to say that these qualifications, added to his experi-
ence and success as a teacher, commend him and his
school in the highest degree to all persons who have
daughters to educate.
"Mrs. Simmons, the gifted wife of the President, at the
head of the Department of Music and Voice Culture,
enjoys a well-earned reputation. She has few equals in
America or Europe. As a teacher of instrumental music
and vocalization, she is almost without a peer.
"in the Literary Department, the College affords
facilities for higher culture which fully meet the most
exacting demand. In the ornamental branches, e.spe-
cially the music under Mrs. Simmons and her superb
corps of assistants, young ladies enjoy the best instruc-
tion given in an}' college in this country. Union Female
College is moreover a Christian home for our daughters,
and stands for all that is purest and best in the develop-
ment of true culture and Christian womanhood.
"in view of the healthfulness of Eufaula, its access-
ibility, the home-like care of the pupils, the thorough-
ness of the instruction imparted, and the reasonableness
of the terms of the school, no parents in this or any
neighboring state should fail to educate their daughters
in Union Female College.
"Not only have Prof, and Mrs. Simmons given to Eu-
faula a college of such high character, but they have
been lavish in the expenditure of their own money in
adding to the beauties of the home. No person who is
in any way interested in Eufaula or her welfare can
afford to overlook these facts or be indifferent to the
College's financial prosperity; for it cannot be denied
that the interest of the College is the interest of the city.
Prof, and Mrs. Simmons certainly deserve the earnest
support and patronage of all our people ; and w^e, the
Board of Trustees, heartil}' bespeak for them the aid
and encouragement they so richly deserve.
"James Milton, President; E. B. Young, G. L.
Comer, L. Y. Dean, J. R. Barr, J. L. Pitts, Z. A.
Barnes, J. B. Stewart, C, L. Boyd, G. T. Marsh, Wm.
Petry, Sec'}^ Trustees."
After a labor of five 5^ears in Eufaula, Prof. Simmons
accepted the presidency of Shorter College in Rome, Georgia,
moving to Rome at the end of the session 1897-'0S. Alabama's
appreciation of the value of his work and that of his estimable
wife is attested by the remarkable tribute accorded them by the
Cit}^ Council of Eufaula, in spreading upon its minutes, and
in giviti.^to the Press in February, 1898, the lollowing resolutions:
"Whereas Prof, T. J. Simmons, who has been at the
head of the Union I^emale College in this city for the
past five years, which institution is under the control
of the City Council of Eufaula, has decided to remove
from our midst and has tendered his resignation to
take effect next June,
"Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council of
■'1st. That we take pleasure in commending Prof. T.
J. Simmons as a gentleman, as a scholar, as a dis-
ciplinarian, as a teacher, as a citizen. He possesses
every requisite to make him a model teacher. Five
years of close observation of his conduct of Union
P'^emale College convinces us that that institution, in its
forty-four years of existence, has never been under
more competent management,
'■2nd. That in our opinions Mrs. T. J. Simmons is
without a peer in the South as a musician and teacher
of music — vocal and instrumental. Her success has been
a marvel. Such results as she has attained were never
considered possible before. She is a woman having in
the highest degree those attributes essential to the effi-
cient management of a young ladies' school.
"3rd, That these people have given us one of the best
educational institutions to be found anywhere, and we
sincerely regret their decision to remove from amongst
us. We cordially commend them to the public every-
where as worthy of every confidence, and competent to
fill any position to which they may aspire. They need
no eulogies from us. Any community into which they
may go will realize an immediate elevation of its moral,
social and intellectual standard.
' 'The good wishes ofja grateful people here will abide
with them wherever they may go.
"Approved, February 1st, 1898.
(Signed) P. B. McKENZlE, Mayor.
(Seal) City of Eufaula, Ala."
Rome's welcome to President and Mrs. Simmons is suffi-
ciently described in the following special to the Atlanta Joumal
concerning the largest and most brilliant reception ever given in
the history of this city.
"Rome, Ga., August 23. — (Special.) — Last night
decidedly the most brilliant and the largest social
function ever given in Rome took place at Shorter Col-
lege. It was a reception given by the trustees of the
college in order to introduce Professor T. J. Simmons,
the new president, and his wife to the public. The fol-
lowing invitation was issued:
"On Tuesday, August 23, at from 8 to 11 p. m., a
reception to the new president and faculty of Shorter
College will be given at the college b3'- the trustees.
They cordially invite all past and present patrons,
pupils, those who contemplate becoming patrons or
pupils, young ladies visiting the city aiid all gentlemen
accompanying ladies. No Avritten invitations.'
' 'Fully 500 guests were present. The beautiful grounds
Avere dotted here and there with Japanese lanterns and
underneath the foliage of the wide-spreading trees, or
in some sequestered nook of the long clambering rose
vine might be found inviting seats. It was a lovely
midsummer night scene — the gay throng, the elegant
toilets, the flashing lights and the music to be found
within the spa.cious hall where all the city's best had
united to make the hour and the occasion enjoyable.
President and Mrs. Simmons, assisted by the members
of the faculty and the wives of the trustees, stood in the
long parlor. This room, by the v/ay, a perfect dream
in color and harmony, has just been newly decorated in
artistic tints of green, white and gold. The carpet is
of moss green, showing a dresden pattern and the bor-
der a dresden pattern of moss rosebuds. The soft v/hite
curtains at the long French windows repeated this design
in garlands of pink roses fashioned in the dresden pat-
tern and tied with bows of white ribbon. At either end
of this elegant salon was banked a huge mass of
palms and ferns. Mrs. Simmons was regal in a yellow
brocaded satin, slightlv decollete, Marie Antoinette col-
lar. The bodice was trimmed in shirred chiffon with
bands of passementerie. The front of the skirt was
shirred in the same material, bordered on each side with
a cascade of pleated chiffon. Her ornaments were
diamonds. She was in every respect handsome and
queenh^ and her cordial graciousuess won her friends
by the score. Professor Simmons, in an elegant dress
suit, reflected the gracious and hospitable manner of
his wife, and during the entire evening these two were
the center of an admiring group. Professor Henry
Simmons, Professor J. L. Kesler and Miss Pell, who are
members of the new faculty, were also present and add-
ed much to the attractiveness of the occasion,
"The long hall, which is 110 feet, was decorated in
pink, and green potted plants and roses only enhanced
the delicate shade of the rose color of its walls.
"These same colors introduced themselves into the
private parlor of the president's wife, into the library,
where 6,000 volumes look down from the walls, and
into the girls' parlor. Roses, roses, and palms, palms,
were on every side, as sweet and as graceful as the
myriad light-robed forms flitting about them.
"The refreshments were ordered from a noted caterer
from a distance, and kept up charmingly the color
schem.e of the midsummer tints of pink and green. The
ices came in the shapes of all kinds of flowers and
"Many guests from a distance came to attend the recep-
tion, and were the guests of the college.
"'Shorter College has given a bright page for the mem-
ory book of her friends. She is now on a firmer basis
than ever, and the future beckons to halls charmingly
filled with golden hopes and promises as rosy as the
summer garlands woven for the delight of those as-
sembled within her gales on the night of August 23,
In the development of Shorter College since 1898, so im-
portant a part has been taken by Mrs. Simmons that a biography
of her would form a most appropriate chapter in an^'- history of
Few women of this or any other age have exercised a
broader or more beneficent influence than Mrs. Simmons.
There are hundreds of musicians and teachers who owe
their inspiration and success to the admirable training given by
this inspired and inspiring teacher. There are daughters all
over the land who "rise up and call her blessed."
We are not siirprised to learn that this brilliant woman had
for her great grandfather on the maternal side, a man who was
noted for his wonderful brilliancy and ability as an orator, Lord
Robert Wvnne of Wales, who was a member of the House of
Lords. Mrs. Simmons had for her great grandfather on the pater-
nal side, a son of Richard Southgate, the bishop of London. His
son assisted John Wesley in his rescue work around Oxford,
where they were students together.
No more enviable reputation could be earned by anybody
than that which has attached itself to Mrs. Sinnnons as a musi-
cian, artist, lecturer and teacher. Wherever she has gone she
has been admired and loved for her wisdom and her womanly
ways. The beauty and strength of her character and the power
of her personality are such that no young woman can be brought
in touch with her without being mentally and spirituall)^ bene-
fited by it; and many a fond mother has selected Shorter College
for her daughter for the sole purpose of placing her under the
influence of this great and noble woman.
To learn something of the life history of the truly great is
always an inspiration, and the writer desires here to give a brief
sketch of this illustrious Southern woman as an aid and encour-
agement to aspiring girls.
Mrs, Simmons was Celestia Muse Southgate, daughter of
James Southgate of a distinguished Virginia family, and Delia
Wynne Southgate, one of the most intellectual women of North
Carolina. Celestia, whose name was shortened to Lessie, was
born in Louisburg, North Carolina, where her^parents were then
engaged in educational work at the head of the Louisburg
Female College. From her earliest childhood she showed unusu-
al powers of mind and in her favorite w^ork, music, she was
considered by all a remarkable prodigy. She was educated in
Virginia and pursued her musical education further in New
York and Europe. No money was spared in her education, and
she had the benefit and inspiration of the greatest music masters
in both hemispheres. Her education did not stop when she her-
self became a teacher, for since then she has enjoyed several
periods of study in Europe, both in voice and piano. The late
E. DelleSedie, the greatest teacher of modern times, regarded
Mrs. Simmons as one of the ablest pupils he had ever taught ;
also one whose own work as a teacher could not be surpassed.
And yet, unlike many other famous musicians, Mrs. Sim-
mons's talent was not confined merely to one thing; on the other
hand, she is a person who can do well anything which she under-
takes. Before becoming a teacher she specialized not only in
music, but in oratory, gymnastics and medicine. In oratory
she displayed such ability that before she was twenty years old
she was urged to go on the stage in Shakespearean tragedy. At
that time she was already doing much concert playing in piano,
which was her favorite work, though she had given much study
to the voice. Two years later she was urged to become a Wag-
nerian opera singer, as such roles as Brunhilde and Isolde seem-
ed suited to her talents and dramatic soprano voice. Coming,
however, from a religious family, she felt seme prejudice against
a stage life. For several years she did much concert work, do-
ing the triple roles of pianist, vocalist and elocutionist, and she
met with great success.
Even as a very young girl she felt "called" to teach, and
was never so happy as when helping some other person grasp
the principles of music. She believed in inspiration, felt that
her life work must be that of a teacher, and so deliberately chose
this occuption. Probably no other woman at any time has been
so successful in the work of teaching, successful from the stand-
point of results accomplished in the cause of music. Her work,
too, was not without reasonable remuneration, for her teaching
the first year brought her a salary of $1500. Later her private
music school in Durham brought her an annual income of $3000 to
$4000. according to the limit of pupils. Some years she would
do more teaching ; others less, in order to have more time for
her studies. She spent her vacations always in study with the
greatest masters, and about every third year would cease from
teaching to devote her entire time to study. In 1890 she was
offered $6000 a year to become connected with a New York
conservator^^ the duties to include also some recital work.
Subsequently she was offered $4000 to conduct a woman's mus-
ical organization for six months in the year. This was a period
of many opportunities, as concert offers made her would have
netted her many thousands a year, but this was also a time for
her to make a serious decision — a decision which has added
to the beauty and happiness of her life. After her marriage on
November 11, 1S91, she went with her husband to Dawson,
Ga., and two years later to Eufaula, Ala., and after five years
moved to Rome, Ga., where she has done a wonderful work aSjDi-
rector of the Conservatory and Plead Professor of Voice. No
person has lived in the South who has been a more potent
factor in the development of music.
Though in her girlhood her special fondness was for the
piano, and her first teaching was largely in that branch of mu-
sic, her subsequent studies in Europe under the greatest vocal
teachers of the age, combined with the fact that her fame as a
teacher created such overwhelming demand for her instruction,
made it necessary for her to confine her work during recent years
entirely to the teaching of voice, and her success in this is ' such
as has not been surpassed by any other teacher in the land. To
an American interested in vocal methods and discussing them
recently with one of the greatest teachers in Europe, the latter
said: "I have never met Mrs. Simmons, but I feel as if 1 had
known her always because of her work; for instance, my friend
D. [mentioning an American pupil of Mrs. Simmons who is
now celebrated as a singer in Europe] whenever I mention what
I consider one of the best points in vocalization, always replies
'That is exactly the way Mrs. Simmons says it'; and from the
knowledge I have acquired of her work with her pupils, I am
sure that there is not anywhere in Europe a better teacher than
you have in America in Mrs. Simmons."
To the few who know intimately the home-life of Dr. and
Mrs. Simmons, there can be nothing more beautiful than the
true affection quietly shown in the home, "in honor prefer-
ring one another, " the husband giving credit for their success
to the wife, she to her husband. The writer without permis-
sion takes the liberty of quoting from a letter by Mrs. Simmons
only a year ago, after eighteen years of married life:
"My husband is my ideal of true, noble manhood. He
has meant more to me than all else in life. His ideals are the
loftiest, his honesty and integrity of the purest type, and his kind-
ly spirit, gentleness and patience have been a daily lesson to me
and have inspired me to struggle to reach his heights. His
modesty, purity, and beauty of character are quite different from
the glamour of the footlights, and I have no cause for thankful-
ness equal to this — that I ignored worldly applause and came in
touch with that life that has inspired me for more enduring
things, and no honor could equal the privilege of being his help-
meet in whatever humble way in his life of usefulness, for I
know that where he is, there, purity, honesty and Godliness
dwell. I am so thankful that we have been permitted to live to-
gether in so useful a work during these eighteen years. I have
seen success come from our efforts, and I know that what suc-
cess we have had is due largely to him; I know that the ideals
were his, and that the plans were all worked out through his
Mrs. Simmons was an important figure in the musical
world almost before she was past her teens, as illustrated in her
early career by the following editorial notice in The Keynote of
New York :
"Among the builders of musical culture of the high-
est order in the South, Miss L. M. Southgate, of Dur-
ham, N. C, appears with the foremost. Her musical
education was begun under the guidance of her mother,
who was one of the most highly cultivated, accomplish-
ed and versatile women of this country. Later on,
she studied under Prof. Ide, of Staunton, Va., where
she graduated, with first honors of her class, in instru-
mental music. Her success at school induced her to
attend the best conservatories of the North. Her work
was pursued under the following renowned instructors :
Organ : George Wm. Morgan and Samuel P. Warren;
Piano : Otto Hackh and S. B. Mills; Voice : Signor
Greco, Madame Murio-Celli, H. W. Green and Paolo
The breadth of her superior musical training, com-
bined with rare native endowments, has enabled her to
accomplish perhaps as much as any musician ofher age,
in imparting to others that which she herself has
The Durham School of Music, of which she is the
Director (organized in 1886), already has a reputation
second to none in the South.
"Many contemporaries have given expression to their
admiration of this estimable ard persevering young
worker in notices and criticisms on her splendid con-
certs. Her programmes exhibit her great knowledge of
the importance of repertoire. The names of Liszt,
Schubert, Heller, Chopin, Kullak, Mills, Gurlitt, Mos-
zkowski, Bargiel, Joseffy, Mendelssohn, Godard,
Mozart, etc., are proof that the lady is one of the noble
musical missionaries. Miss Southgate has been prevail-
ed upon to accept the post of vice-president of the
Music Teachers' National Association."
Even in the earliest part of her professional career such ap-
preciative notices as the following were common:
"Steinway Hall, New York, June 13, 1889. My Dear
Miss Southgate: — Please accept my sincere congratula-
tion on the excellent work you have done, and are
doing with your school.
"You were such an earnest and painstaking student
when you took lessons of me, and also so successful ,
that I feel sure all your pupils cannot fail to be inspired
by your good example.
"l wish you to greet blaster Vernon Darnall in my
name, and also extend to him my best congratulations
for having won my medal ; for I am certain that from
what he has played under your direction, he must be a
student of remarkable talent,
"Wishing you every success, I am your friend and fel-
low-worker. S. B. MILLS."
"Durham, N. C, July 25, '90. Mr.Josephus Daniels,
Dear Sir: — Under the spell of the enravishing feast of
delicious music and hne dramatic recitals — prepared
especially as a delectable compliment to the Press As-
sociation of this state — you honored me by asking for a
written expression of my judgment of the concert. I
thank you for so doing, because you thus give me an
opportunity to gratify my inclination without risking
any imputation of ostentation. * '"^ * ''' * After this
preamble, I need only say that the entertainment gave
me serene enjoyment and intense gratification, much
more replete and complete than very many of the single
forenoon, afternoon and night programs that I very
recentlv enjoyed in New York City, Saratoga and De-
troit ; and regarding the master spirit of the music last
nig^lit — and of all the fine music of Durham — Miss L.
M. Scuthofate, I will at this time only say, briefly as I
can, that I have known from my first meetin.cr with her,
in the musical festival at Goldsboro, in 1884, that she is
a g-enuine artist, instrumental, vocal and dramatic, by
both nature and culture. What I saw and heard last
night not only confirmed my previous high estimate of
her; but very greatly enhanced in the height, breadth
depth, not only in her unaffectedly, graceful, artistic
work but in her invaluable tutorial v/ork as amply
manifested through the charming, alert, and easy capa-
bility of all v/ho participated in the judicious and taste-
ful program. ''' '" ''"
Yours very truly and resDectfully,
Rahigh Daily ChrorAcle. ' W. H. NEAVE "
"The entertainment was conducted by Miss Lessie M.
Southgate, which of itself guaranteed its success.
This most highly gifted woman, on this occasion, fairly
eclipsed herself. As an elocutionist, vocalist and
pianist, she stands facile princeps among the ladies of
North Carolina, and it is no wonder that the refined
and cultured citizens of Durham are so proud of her. —
"Miss Lessie Southgate gave the associatioti a delight-
ful entertainment of music and recitations. I'.Iiss
Southgate is a most accomplished musician, and is very
highly appreciated at home, as is proved by the fact
that she has lately declined the offer of a most flattering
salary from New York. — Stafes%nlle Lcjidmark:'
"The singing of Miss Southgate was a splendid treat,
vifhiie her recitations were greatly enjoyed, and shov/ed
her to be an elocutionist of remarkable powers. She
possesses a rich and highly cultivated voice, and has
an exceedingly graceful and attractive stage presence of
which the audience showed their appreciation by gen-
erous applause, and would not be satisfied until she
responded a second time at each appearance. — H.vider-
son G: hi Leaf:'
"Having been educated to a superlative degree of
excellence, in the best schools in the country, she is a
woman of rare attainments. Her abundant means
have enabled her to cultivate to the fullest extent, her
unusual gifts as a pianist, vocalist and elocutionist.
She has been Vice-President of the North Carolina
Musical Association, was organist and chorister of the
leading church in Durham, and director of the St,
Cecilia Society. Her tireless self-sacrifice in the inter-
est of her pupils has won for her the confidence and
patronage of a large clientde among the Southern
"The young ladies who come under her care are espe-
cially fortunate, not only because of her musical influ-
ence, but because of the high moral tone of this remark-
able woman. — Catalogue of the Metropolitan Conservatory
of Music New York, ' '
"The piano solos by children only twelve and thir-
teen years of age were rendered with a skill and tech-
nique that kept the audience in a delightful state of
interest and wonder. More excellent execution and
expression could not have been expected from profess-
All these young ladies are the pupils of, and have had
their entire musical instruction and training under Miss
Southgate, who is recognized as one of the most ac-
complished lady musicians in the country. Great
inducements have been offered her to move to New
York City. Not more than a month ago she declined
an offer of four thousand dollars per annum, in addi-
tion to which she was offered fifteen hundred dollars a
year to become the organist of a church there — an
aggregate salary of five thousand five hundred dollars
per annum. There are few ladies in this country who
can command greater salaries than United States Sena-
tors, and Miss Southgate is one of them. — Raleigh News
"The instrumentation of Miss Southgate was simply
superb . — A sheville Citizen. ' '
"Her touch is full of pathos with the proper degrees
of light and shade, and at times her playing is charac-
terized by great brilliancy and power. — Brooklyn Eagle,
"Miss Southgate performs with the skill of a master,
and she has the happy faculty of imparting knowledge
to her pupils. — Durham Recorder.""
"The piano recital given Friday evening by Miss
Lessie M. Southgate was exceedingly fine. We doubt
whether Miss Southgate has an equal in the South. —
"Both Miss Southgate's singing and reading were
delightful and beyond criticism. Her reading was
"The Famine" from Hiawatha, and was given with
such impulses as must have inspired the soul of the
poet, Longfellow, when he v>rrote his beautiful, pathetic
and famous Indian story. The wail of lamentation,
the calls of Minnehaha to Hiawatha, and their rolling,
lingering echoes were given by Miss Southgate with
wondrous effect. — State Chronicle.''
"Mr. Greene was assisted by Miss L. M. Southgate,
of North Carolina, who combines a rare degree of excel-
lence as elocutionist, pianist and vocalist, with a charm-
ing personality that has won for her the proud dis-
tinction of being the most accomplished woman in the
South. — Elmira Gazette, Elmira, N. Y."
"Miss L. M. Southgate, of North Carolina, appeared
in an entertainment at Elmira, N. Y., August 21st, and
was well received. She is an eloquent vocalist, elocu-
tionist and pianist.— lF^r«^r'.f Voice Magazine, N. Y."
"Miss Lessie M. Southgate, of Durham, was the star
of the evening, both because of her magnificent ap-
parel, her superb physique and womanhood, and her
perfect mastery of the art, science and mystery of
m.usic . — Warrenton Gazette. '
"Miss Southgate was the recipient of hearty encores
and gave three responses to the persistent appeals of
the admiring audience. — Neiv Berne Journal. ( Cor. from
the State Teachers' Association at Morehead.)"
"Miss Southgate was a favorite, and thrilled and
charmed the audience with both her enchanting sing-
ing and her charming elocution. — Raleigh News ayid
"It is needless to speak of the exquisite performance
of Miss Southgate, Ller power to enthrall her hearers
by her music is well known. Her recitals last night
were especially well received, and three tinies she re-
sponded to encores, — Durham Globe.''''
"Miss Lessie vSouthgate as Pauline (Lady of Lyons)
interpreted the pathos and beauty of that wayward
heroine with faultless personation, and in the more im-
passioned scenes she rose to that intense sublimity of
emotion which passed the bounds of mere acting", and
seemed absolutely real — the perfection of elocution,
whose sliprhtest whisper swept through the audience
with a thrill of sympathetic response. It was irresistible.
— Goliad Guard, Texas.'"'
"Miss Lessie Southgate who alv/ays attains to excel-
lence, both in music and elocution, gave one of the
finest recitations that it has been our pleasure to hear.
It was truly grand and added another gem to this lady's
brilliant reputation. The applause that followed was
earnest and enthusiastic, and she responded with a
humorous selection which was also rendered in admir-
able style and gave evidence of great versatility. — Dur-
ham Tobacco Plant.''''
"Miss Southgate is the happy possessor of a fine voice
of great power, thorough culture and perfect self-poise
— that minute and exhaustive detail which is alone the
result of superior training, — Gcliad Guard, Texas."
"(Account of the third day's proceedings of the Mu-
sical Festival and State Musical Association).
A medal was av^^arded to Miss Lessie M. Southgate,
as the best solo pianist. — Goldsboro Messenger.''''
' 'The treat of the evening was a solo by Mrs. Sim-
mons, of Dawson, — a selection from, the 'Barber of
Seville.' Mrs. Simmons possesses a magnificent voice
and her rendition of the song was truly artistic. Dr.
Palmer announced that no encores would be allowed,
but he received a request from the vast audience that
Mrs. Simmons would favor them with another selection.
He announced that she would give her encore next
The Request — "One thousand entranced hearers
do earnestly request that Mrs, Simmons be allowed to
give an encore. Do not refuse us. Committee." —
For several years Mrs. Simmons was the musical director of
the Georgia Chautauqua at xMbany. The writer finds some press
notices concerning her work during' the first year, 1895, when
she succeeded as musical director the man who was perhaps the
most noted choral leader of New York:
"The Georgia Chautauqua. Entertaining Exercises
at the Tent Tabernacle. A Grand Chorus. Mrs. Sim-
mons' s Work Complimented by Everybody Who Has
"The largest audience that has assembled in the tent
tabernacle yet was there last evening to listen to the
delightful program which had been arranged by Mrs.
T. J. Simmons.
"About 8:30 the applause from the rear of the tent an-
nounced the approach of the choir. They came in
single file and, marching up, took their seats upon the
chorus stand, which had been beautifully decorated for
the occasion. All were in evening dress and a more
beautiful sight cannot be imagined. Mrs. Simmons is
truly a wonderful woman. The chorus this year shows
the training of a master, and surpasses anything v.-e
have ever had. — Moco^i Telegraph.'"'
"The Georgia Chautauqua. — The best part of the
Chautauqua program Vv'ill be music. That will be under
the care and direction of I\Irs. Simmons of the Union
Female College, She is one of the most gifted pianists
and vocalists in America. vShe is besides a great teach-
er, bringing to the work a magnetism inspiring, an
energy that never falters, and a devotion such as only
the best and purest can feel for an art almost divine.
The greatest privilege any music-loving soul can know
is to sit at her feet and learn of the heavenly voiced
harmonies. The Albany people got the best musical
director to be had anywhere. There could not be a better.
The chorus Mrs. Simmons trains will be v»^orth hearing.
— Eufaula Times.''
"The seventh annual assembly of the Georgia Chau-
tauqua began today under the most flattering auspices.
There are hundreds of visitors already in the city, and
the indications are that the Chautauqua will be better
patronized than ever before. The opening sermon, by
Rev. G. T. Dowling, a distinguished divine of Boston,
Mass., was listened to by 3,000 people. The chorus of
150 voices, under Mrs. T. J. Simmons, is the j&nest in
the history of the Chautauqua. — Atlanta Constitution."'
"One of the hits of the evening was the toast to Mrs.
Simmons by Dr. Duncan, in which he said that she
was 'first in music, first in peace and first in the hearts
of her countrymen.' And Mrs. Simmons, assisted by
the chorus, most gracefully responded in a musical
toast to Dr. Duncan, which captured the audience as
well as the subject of the toast. — Albanv Herald.''
"The Tent Tabernacle is now up; the rehearsals of
the big Chautauqua chorus, under the direction of
Mrs. T. J. Simmons, have commenced.
The chorus at this assembly promises to be the largest
and best we have ever had. The department of music
seems to have flourished under the administration of
Mrs. Simmons, and some grand musical concerts may
be expected. These concerts are among the most
delightful features of Chautauqua and never fail to
draw large audiences.
Mrs. Simmons, the Chautauqua Musical Director, is
drilling a large chorus, which meets every night, and
the mornings and afternoons are devoted to classes
taking special courses in music. The music teachers
and others well advanced in music derive great benefit
from these special courses under Mrs. Simmons, who
stands at the head of her profession in the South, and
is never happier than when helping others on the line
of "what to teach and how to teach. ' ' — Albany Herald. "
"The 'jewel Song' from Faust, was magnificently
rendered by Mrs. T. J. Simmons, and her lovely voice
was never heard to better advantage. The audience
never tires of the sweet tones of her voice, and she was
compelled to respond to a thunderous encore.
' 'Everything passed off delightfully, and Mrs. Simmons
has added another wreath to the crown of laurels which
the Albanians have so gladly placed upon her queenly
"Mrs. Simmons was kinder to her audience than she
usually is, and after the rendition of the 'Cavatina'
from Semiramide, she graciously responded to two en-
cores, much to the pleasure of all. Mrs. Simmons and
the chorus are to be congratulated on the selections of
this program and the successful rendition of this part. —
"The music during the entire season gave universal
pleasure, Mrs. Simmons and the Chautauqua Chorus
winning enthusiastic applause. So well was the grand
concert received that at its close the audience by a ris-
ing vote asked that another night be given during the
session — a wish which was granted. — The Chautauquaii
(N. Y. Magazine.)"
"The Choral Society in this city is an organization of
v/hich Eufaula may justly feel proud. Under the direc-
tion of Mrs. T. J. Simmons, whose tastes and talents in
the gifted art are of a high and unusual order and
whose reputation as a teacher is second to none in the
South, the society could hardly fail to entertain the most
cultured and refined tastes. The program last night
was both interesting and varied, and embraced features
of song and instrumental music and readings which
were executed in a most highly creditable manner, and
held the large and intelligent audience perfectly en-
chanted and delighted. — Daily Ti/nes.'"
' 'The Choral Society is composed of the very finest
honie talent, and is under the direct management of
Mrs. T. J. Simmons, whose reputation as a vocalist
stands in critical challenge v/itii the vory best singers of
modern times. — Times."
"As a musician, Mrs. Simmons has no superiors and
few peers in the South. She is queen in the realm of
song, her delivery being easy, natural and impressive,
awaking the enthusiasm of all lovers of music. Hav-
ing enjoyed the best advantages that America and
Europe afforded, her native talent shows the highest
culture and wherever she appears her audiences are
captivated by her grace of manner and charm of voice
— Cuth bert L ib era I- En terprise. ' '
The work of Dr. and Mrs. Simmons in Rome, since 1898,
lias been so universally admired, and has called forth such a
wealth of commendatory expressions that it is difficult to refrain
from attempting to make more extensive quotations than the
space allows. From local papers are clipped editorials of June
2nd, and November 12th, 1903.
"No institution in the state has written more remark-
able history of its own growth and development in a peri-
od of live years than that which all Romans love to
name and are proud to claim. Shorter College. Just
five years ago President and Mrs. T. J. Simmons as-
sumed the management of the college. Their reputa-
tion preceded them, and their coming was heralded
with resolutions in the Alabama papers, regretting to
give up so valuable educators and commending Presi-
dent and Mrs. Simmons for a brilliancy of administra-
tive and educational ability that could not be surpassed.
"in the five years of President and Mrs. Simmons the
evolution of the college into a Southern educational
center has been something marvelous. The dormitory
and college building have been remodeled and enlarged
and the purchase of three additional buildings became
a necessary enlargement, for the increased numerical
strength of the boarding department which is now
twenty-five per cent, more than in any previous admin-
istration. Departments have been enlarged and improv-
ed, the curriculum raised to the highest standard, and
whereas the college formerly found its patronage and
reputation among the people mostly of this section, the
student body is now composed of girls from every South-
ern and many of the Northern and Western states.
"in January the large city papers made the announce-
ment that because of the crowded condition of the col-
lege the registration list was closed, and then pupils
began registering for the Fall, and the September regis-
trations were made in January.
"Nothing in the history of the college has attracted
more attention than the beautiful and artistic fitting up
of the Conservatory of Music > and through President
and Mrs. Simmons Rome in this splendid annex to the
college has been given the privilege of musical treats that
much larger cities could not procure.
"The faculty and assistants number thirty and no
institution of learning- has ever been crowned with
gi-eater literary polish or lustre of art. The social life
is ideal. A beautiful hospitality has characterized the
Simmons administration and the functions at which
President and Mrs. Simmons, the Faculty and Senior
class are at home to Romans have made of the college
a social center from which is drawn attractive lessons
of grace and art and beauty." — Cherokee Messenger.
Shorter College has completed another year of use-
fulness and, within the next few days, will close its
doors for the summer months.
"The scholastic year just ended has been the most
successful in the history of the college. Attendance
has been as large as conditions would permit and the
standard of excellence in all departments has been rais-
ed above even the high standards maintained in the
"President Simmons and his brilliant and accomplish-
ed wife have every reason to feel proud of the results of
their management of the college. Assisted by an able
and hard working faculty they have brought Shorter
up to a grade second to none in the land. Under their
guiding hands the best ideas along modern educational
lines have been put in practice here and the result is
that the young lady who wins her diploma at Shorter
now, goes forth better equipped than ever graduate
went forth before. The Simmons administration has
been given a fair trial, and, believing that we voice the
gi-eat majority in Rome, the Tribune feels that there
is nothing to be said but words of praise and commend-
ation. We believe that Shorter College is today in the
most satisfactory and healthy condition of its history.
"To the graduating class The Tribune extends its
hearty greeting and best wishes for the future. To
Professor and Mrs. Simmons, and their splendid faculty,
we tender our sincere congratulations and we trust that
their vacatii^n may be pleasant and profitable." —
' 'The Tribune is gratified to know that Shorter College,
that grand and splendid institution, has made such a
satisfactory beginning to what promises to be the most
thoroughly successful year of its glorious history.
"Shorter College is one of the grandest institutions of
learning in the South and Romans are proud of it and
never weary of singing its praises.
"As magnificent as the past is, however, it must be
conceded that the college was never before in such em-
inently satisfactory condition as it is today. From 40
boarding pupils in 1898 the rolls have increased to 120
today, and it would be even larger were it not for the
fact that the management has been forced to decline
more for lack of accommodation. The day pupils' roll
is also filled to the limit.
"As for the faculty, all Romans realize that the facul-
ty of Shorter College was never so strong as it is now.
Every chair is filled acceptably and competently and
the scope of the work in all the departments has been
greatly magnified and broadened during the past few
years. The moral atmosphere, the culture atid the re-
finement that permeates everything in connection with
the work of the college was never so studiously and
emphatically maintained as it is at this time; and all
of these things are not said in criticism or disparage-
ment of any past history, but they are mentioned as
facts indicating the inevitable results following a tireless
and persistent struggle to reach a cherished ideal, be
that ideal as lofty as it may if still within range of pos-
sibility. We say, unhesitatingly, that the present
management of Shorter College has conceived a very
high ideal, and if not yet satisfied with the elevation
reached, a continuance of the tireless energy of the
past few years must bring to the faculty an early and
complete realization of their most cherished dreams.
"Rome is proud of Shorter College and every loyal
Roman stands ready to lend its facult}'^ a helping hand
when needed, and, while the argument is not one often
invoked or considered, the fact that the institution turns
$25,000 into the channels of trade in Rome every year
is something beyond the lines of sentimental and educa-
tional thought which may well be considered in render-
ing a verdict in favor of Shorter as one of Rome's most
valuable assets." — Rome TTihune, Nov. 1 2th.
The following is from the Daily Times of Chattanooga :
"while the institution has had an honorable history
from its inception, yet new life was put into the college
and a more progressive policy inaugurated when (in
1898) President T. J. Simmons, a man in the vigor of
youth, though with great experience in educational
problems, was called to the administration of its
affairs. During no time within the life of the College
have greater improvements been made than since the
date of his inauguration; and the higher rating of the
institution in the educational world is due to his work
and that of the eminent educators whom he has brought
into the faculty. It is gratifying also to the friends of
the institution that the number of students who regis-
tered on the first day of the session following his inau-
guration was the largest known in many years, and that
the number enrolled, particularly from states formerly
unrepresented, has constantly increased, until now the
dormitory building is entirely filled.
"President Simmons's theory is that good work done
inside a college will soon have its effect outside, and he
sticks close to his duties on the hill instead of going-
out to talk to people about the excellence of his institu-
tion. He is a man of unusual reticence with reporters,
and it was with some difficulty that we secured the
material for this sketch of the college, though justice to
this splendid institution would compel -us to write a
great deal more, had we the space to print it.
"We cannot close without reference to the College of
Music, with its large and able faculty, mentioning
especially the cultured musician who is the head profes-
sor of two departments, Mrs. T.J.Simmons, pianist
and vocalist, who, under her present name, or as Miss
Lessie M. Southgale, is well known in all musical cir-
cles, both north and south. She has liad the best train-
ing in Europe and America, and no teacher anywhere
has succeeded better in imparting her knov/ledge of
music to her students."
Apart from the excellence of the instruction given by the
faculty, the numerous concerts given by Mrs. Simmons and her
students have served to bring the college prominently into notice
and to establish its reputation throughout the South as a school
affording the highest type of culture. To give an adequate idea
of these entertainments would be impossible in the limited space
devoted to this pamphlet, but a few extracts are given from the
Atlaiita J'jur'iial, Atlanta Const'ttutmi, etc.
"All musical Atlanta, from the recognized critic down
to the casual attendant at a concert, has been comment-
ing enthusiastically on the entercainm.ent given Thurs-
day evening by the students of Shorter College.
It was a really remarkable conceri;, and impressed
the listener, not as an amateur effort, but as a finished
' 'The ensemble piano playing showed fine training
— every arm, hand, finger of these girls moving in uni-
son, the heads directing in unison, the whole a complete
interpretation of the great composers, complete in both
technique and temperament.
"There were two of those ensemble piano numbers,
both classic compositions — Chopin's Revolutionary
Etude and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodic. And a differ-
ent set of pianists performed in each selection, making
a fine showing as to the number of classic musicians in
Shorter College — 16 girls who can render music of that
character being unusual in any one school.
"The utility of such training in accurate work is not
less obvious than its beauty. The discipline of eye and
hand and head and heart necessary for the attainment
of that result is of incalculable benefit to the student.
It brings that discipline without which life's music can-
not be wholly harmonious.
"Mrs. Simmons, who already has a host of admirers in
Atlanta, added numbers to the list during her recent
visit here. She is a very charming and gifted woman,
with that magnetism that comes from the genuinely
sympathetic nature. Her pupils are devoted to her,
and no one wonders at it.
"Mrs Simmons is a woman of wide travel and an
equally wide acquaintance with the best art and artists
of the world. She goes abroad every summer and keeps
in touch with the progressive spirit both abroad and at
home. When a person has this inner enrichment, out-
flowing- in a wealth of comment and talk, it is a liberal
education to those associated with him or her.
"Shorter College and Georgia girlhood there repre-
sented are thus fortunate." — Atlmita Journal.
"The Grand was filled with a brilliant audience last
night for the concert by students of Shorter College,
Rome, and enthusiasm colored the performance and the
reception from start to finish.
"The opening selection was Weber's Jubel Over-
ture, which was presented by eight young ladies, the
brilliance of whose achievement was due to individual
as well as collective excellence of execution, and the
several solo numbers for piano displayed exceptional
"in their singing the young ladies as a whole, and
as soloists, gave evidence of delightful voice quality,
in which the southern softness and sweetness was em-
phasized, and of most creditable training.
"The audience seemed unwilling that some of the
soloists should cease, so pleasing was their work, and
Mrs. Simmons, dean of the college, who is responsible
for the concert, was accorded the congratulations she
deserves. ' ' — A tlanta Constitution.
' 'A brilliant and fashionable audience was present at
the Grand last evening to hear the Shorter College girls
in their annual concert. It is not too much to say that
it was one of the best concerts heard here. There
was not a pause from start to close.
"Mrs. T. J. Simmons, musical director, has long
been recognized as one of the finest teachers in the
South, both for voice and piano. Her pupils show a
finish and ease rarely seen off the professional stage. _
"The two overtures at the beginning and close of the
program were beautifully executed. Eight girls at four
pianos, playing with finish, correctness, naturalness of
close study, made the audience realize and appreciate
the excellent training they had received.
"The entire program was beautiful. It was not only
an artistic success, but another musical triumph for the
musical department of Shorter College." — Atlanta News.
"a magnificent audience greeted Mrs. T. J. Simmons
and her attractive pupils of Shorter College last even-
ing at the Grand. The stage, with its four grand
pianos, palms and a deep row of sweet peas across the
footlights, made a lovely setting for the young musi-
(.jans. * * * * '■' * '-^ *
"The program was exceedingly well rendered and
the great audience applauded most enthusiastically.
The two four-piano numbers were excellent, the eight
participants playing with unusual finish and abandon.
The chorus work was fine, the voices blending beauti-
fully. The St. Cecilians were heartily applauded, and
their little song, 'Cupid Made Love to the Moon,' from
the old Welsh, received an enthusiastic burst of ap-
plause, their encore being equally appreciated. * * "^
"One of the soloists most heartily applauded was
Miss Rena Barbee, whose unusuall}^ sweet voice won
all. Her solo 'Tonight and Tomorrow' (Leoncavallo)
was an exquisite thing, and her encore was also highly
appreciated. Her second encore, 'Mighty Lak a Rose, '
received such a deafening applause that she had to re-
peat it. * " '■' - - '-^ * *
' 'Atlantians evidently realized that a treat was in store
for them, for the Grand was filled. ''^ ''^ *
"The evening was a distinct triumph for Mrs. Sim-
mons and the Shorter girls. They gave their hearers
some genuinely delightful music and they were re-
ceived with the greatest enthusiasm. From every point
of view the evening was a great success." — Atla?ita
'The second day of the Shorter College commence-
ment was distinctive for its two brilliant musical con-
certs. The music throughout has demonstrated that
this institution's musical department will take rank
with any in the country, North or South. To the fine
artistic temperament of Mrs. T. J. Simmons is due the
meed of praise for lifting Shorter into the sphere of the
really great musical institutions and spreading the
name and fame ef the college throughout the length
and breadth of the United States." — Rome Tribune.
Regarding the recent work of President Simmons and his
Faculty in Shorter College, it is superfluous to undertake to speak
here at all, for not only is the splendid work of this regime well-
known to everybody throughout Georgia and all contiguous
states; but a recent issue of the College Bulletin, much larger
than the present pamphlet, was filled with words of highest
praise from patrons and friends of the College not only in Rome
but throughout America.
In January 1910, the plans made some time before by Dr.
and I\Irs. Simmons for their removal with the leading members
of their faculty to Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia, at the
close of the scholastic year, were at last made public. The
news of their intended departure cast a gloom upon the city of
Rome such as no other event in its history had ever done, and
the universal expressions of regret throughout the community
constitute the most eloquent tribute that they could possibly re-
ceive — a tribute even greater than the recently published letters
of praise from the friends of the College. No doubt a still much
greater work will be theirs under more favorable conditions in
the new home to which they are about to go and to which they
carry the best wishes of thousands of appreciative friends.
Regarding the announcement of Dr. Simmons's future con-
aection with Brenau College, the editorial columns of the Atlafita
Constitution of January 23, 1910, have this to say:
"well-known educators come together.
"As the result of the purchase by Dr. T. J. Simmons,
for twelve years president of Shorter College, Rome,
from Dr. H. J. Pearce, for seventeen years president of
Brenau College-Conservator}^, Gainesville, two of the
best known and ablest educators in the state have con-
solidated interests with the purpose of building a greater
' 'Few men in Georgia have become so prominent in the
educational field, or have so well equipped themselves
for the work of educating and training young women.
"in 1893 Brenau had thirty boarding pupils; now it
has more than 300; and Dr. Simmons, who will be as-
sociated with Dr. Pearce in its presidency, goes to it
with the purpose and determination of still further build-
in|^ it, both in efficiency and extent of work.
"This consolidation, which becomes effective in June,
in time for the opening of the 1910-11 term, will give
Brenau as strong and able a force as can be found in
any institution in the south, if not the entire country.
"Presidents Simmons and Pearce are to be congratu-
lated upon their conjunction of forces and efforts, which
will give the south an institution whose influence and
standing must be productive of greater and still more
The news columns of the Atlanta Journal in an illustrated
article, introduced with voluminous headlines, have this to say
regarding the consolidation:
"The announcement comes from Gainesville, Ga., that
Ur. T. J. Simmons, President of Shorter College, Rome,
Ga., has bought from Dr. PI. J. Pearce an interest in
Brenau College. Dr. Simmons will leave Shorter Col-
College next June and will be associated with Dr. Pearce
in the Presidency of Brenau College-Conservatory.
"The larger part of the beautiful equipment of Shorter
College, consisting of twenty -two pianos, all of the mag-
nificent furnishings of the Oriental and Italian parlors,
some of the scientific apparatus and much of the furni-
ture, which is the personal property of Dr. Simmons,
will be transferred to Brenau and used in the equipment
of the splendid new building- which is to be erected
within the next few months. This new building will
be ready for occupancy by the opening of the next
session, September 15th. This addition to the Conserv-
atory equipment gives Brenau a total of more than eighty
pianos. Perhaps no other college in America has so
large an equipment of interesting pictures as will be
brought to Brenau by Dr. Simmons, who has gathered
them from all parts of the world.
' 'The leading members of the faculty of Shorter Col-
lege, both literary and musical, will be transferred to
Brenau and added to the already large faculty of Brenau,
which will thus be increased to some forty-five members.
"This consolidation is the result of several months ne-
gotiation between President Pearce and President Sim-
mons, and means much for the future development of
Brenau, which is already one of the leading colleges for
women in tlie South, having at present the largest board-
ing patronage of any college in Georgia. The present
student-body includes representatives from twenty-five
states of the Union.
"Dr. Pearce has been president of Brenau for seven-
teen years, being, in time of service, the oldest college
president in Georgia, with perhaps one or two excep-
tions, although he is still comparatively a young man
in years. Last year he acquired the complete owner-
ship of the college, and the present consolidation is part
of a comprehensive scheme of development and enlarge-
"Dr. Simmons has been president of Shorter College
for twelve years. During his administration this institu-
tion has greatly increased in numbers, and has become
one of the best knoAvn colleges in the South. The pres-
tige acquired during these dozen years by Shorter Col-
lege through the good work of its faculty will increase
in like measure the prestige of Brenau College when the
two faculties have been consolidated.
"Immediately associated with Dr. Simmons in the de-
velopment of Shorter has been Mrs. Simmons, widely
known both in this country and in Europe as one of the
most brilliant American musicians. As Dean of the
College of Music she has given a tone and reputation to
this department of the institution, which is second to
none. She will greatly add to the already brilliant
reputation of Brenau Conservatory, and will be Head
Professor of A^oice.
"The complete personnel of the new faculty has not
yet been announced, but it is stated that there will be
no material change in the present faculty of Brenau ex-
cept the enlargement which will result from the addi-
tion of the leading members of the Shorter faculty.
Brenau is at present crowded and the time of every
teacher is filled, so that the additional growth which is
expected on account of the coming of Dr. and Mrs.
Simmons and the erection of the new dormitory will
make a large increase in the teaching force also neces-
sary. This increase will be made by the additions
from the Shorter faculty.
' 'The development of Brenau during the past seventeen
years has been little short of marvelous. In 1893 there
were thirty boarding students; during the present year
they will exceed three hundred. When it is considered
that Breuau is a private institution, without support of
Church or State, this growth is the more remarkable,
It is an illustration of what may be accomplished in a
community when its leading citizens give loyal and
united effort to its educational interests. Many of the
city's best citizens, some of whom are gone, have given
largely of their time and money in the interest of the
"Dr. T. J. Simmons, who is now to become identified
with the management of Brenau, is by inheritance and
training an educator. His father was for many years
a well known professor in Wake h'orest College, North
Carolina, and in this institution Dr. Simmons received
his education. He came as a young man to Georgia
and became principal of the high school in Athens, and
then superintendent of schools in Dawson, Georgia;
then president of Union Female College, Eufaula, Ala.,
and finally president of Shorter College, Rome, Ga.
In addition to his master's degree, his alma mater has
conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws in
recognition of his distinguished service to the cause of
"inasmuch as Brenau is strictly non-denominational,
it is perhaps a fortunate circumstance that Dr. Simmons
is a Baptist while Dr. Pearce is a well-known Methodist.
Dr. Pearce is a graduate of Emory College of the class
of 1891. Later he took the master's degree at the Uni-
versity of Chicago, and the degree of Doctor of Philoso-
phy in Wuerzberg, Germany. He was fi^rst profes-
sor of Latin in the Columbus Female Seminary, and
later president of that institution.
"Presidents Pearce and Simmons are making large
plans for the future development of the institution.
They will at once prepare to take care of five hundred
boarding students. The new dormitory and its equip-
ment will cost approximately $35,000, and in addition
sevaral club houses for the different sororities will be
erected. Work upon one of these buildings will begin
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