How were the publications used?

Simms amassed his impressive collection over a twenty-year period. Many of the titles are as interesting for reasons connected with their provenance, as for the medical content itself. For example, Taylor’s Manual of medical jurisprudence (1874) was awarded as a prize in May 1876 to John Chestnutt, a medical student of Queen’s College Cork.

The longevity of man : its facts and fictions : with a prefatory letter to Prof. Owen ... on the limits and frequency of exceptional cases

The longevity of man (1879) with extensive provenance notes

The Longevity of Man (1879), written by the Deputy Librarian of the House of Lords, in which he laid down some rules for validating longevity claims, is another publication containing interesting provenance notes. It is inscribed to Josephine Edwards "from her old friend" the actual author, William J Thoms (1803-1885).

It appears that the same copy was subsequently gifted to the Dean of Down, Downpatrick, dated July 1932. At that time the Dean was Rev. William Patrick Carmody, a position he held 1923-38 (Rankin, p. 14). It is inscribed to the Dean from H.B. Swanzy dated July 1932, likely to be the Rev. Henry Biddall Swanzy (1873-1932), who published extensively on Irish church history and Irish genealogy and who was Dean of Dromore 1931-1932, a position which he held until his death in November 1932 (Rankin, p.18). The inscription is all the more poignant since it predated his death by a few months. 

Sources cited:

Bichat, Xavier. General anatomy, applied to physiology and the practice of medicine by X. Bichat, translated from the last French edition by Constant Coffyn; revised and corrected by George Calvert. London: printed for S. Highley, 1831. 2 vols.

Clarke, R. S. J.  (comp.). directory of Ulster doctors (who qualified before 1901). Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013. Vol. 2, p. 1004. Magendie, François. Formulaire pour la préparation et l'emploi de plusieurs nouveaux médicamens. Paris: Méquignon-Marvis, 1825. 5th éd. rev. et augm.

Rankin, Fred (ed.). Clergy of Down and Dromore. Part 1: 1930-1995, edited and with brief parish histories by Fred Rankin. Part 2: before 1930, being reprints of the biographical succession lists compiled by Canon J.B.Leslie and Dean H. B. Swanzy. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation & Library Committee of the Dioceses of Down & Conor, 1996.

Taylor, Alfred Swaine. A manual of medical jurisprudence. London: J. & A. Churchill, 1874. 9th ed.

Thoms, William John. The longevity of man: its facts and fictions: with a prefatory letter to Prof. Owen ... on the limits and frequency of exceptional cases. London: F. Norgate, 1879. 

Yperman, Jan. La chirurgie de maitre Jehan Yperman: chirurgien belge (XIIe-XIVe) siècle / publiée pour la première fois d'après la copie flamande de Cambridge par M.C. Broeckx. Anvers: J. de Koninck, 1866. 2nd éd.