Who was Samuel Simms?
• Born in Belfast, Simms (1896-1967) was the son of a Presbyterian minister. *
• He studied medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. He was a brilliant scholar, winning several gold medals. He graduated with M.B. BCh, BAO (QUB) with First Class Honours (1919), BSc in pathology and bacteriology with First Class Honours (1920), Diploma in Public Health (1920) and was awarded M.D. (1921).
• He undertook research in London, New York, and Vienna.
• Throughout his esteemed career he worked in Belfast hospitals: first, the Ulster Hospital for Women and Sick Children, and, later, the Royal Victoria Hospital.
• In addition, he was deputy coroner for Belfast, having been sworn in for this role in December 1940. (Northern Whig, Monday 23 Dec 1940).
• He was the Honorary Librarian of the Ulster Medical Society, 1929-31 (Strain, “The History of the Ulster Medical Society,” p. 109).
• He was, by examination, a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (1928) and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (1944).
* His father was Rev. Samuel Simms, senior minister of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Special Collections also holds material relating to Simms’ grandmother, Emma Boxley Graham (1867-1907): MS. 1/213 contains poems addressed to her, written by her father, Miles G. Graham.
His non-medical interests:
Simms was listed as the Vice President of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland in 1936 (Monday 14 September 1936, Belfast News-Letter) and was a committee member of the Council of the Presbyterian Historical Society (BNL, Friday April 14 1933). He delivered numerous talks and lectures on the history of Belfast. For example, he addressed the members of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society on the subject of distinguished men of letters who were born in Belfast (BNL, Wednesday 25 Jan 1933) and he lectured in the hall of the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery in February 1935 on the expansion of Belfast in the nineteenth century (BNL, Thursday 28 February 1935). He was summoned on a charge of dangerous driving on his way to attend a patient in 1936; the case was subsequently thrown out (BNL, Fri 08 May 1936).
Simms was interested in local history and medicine and he was responsible for authoring material relating to these interests. Special Collections and Archives holds publications which he penned, concerning diverse subjects such as the United Irishmen, expansion of Belfast in the nineteenth century and kidney function. These publications which he authored include The renal function in nephritis (1921?), The expansion of Belfast in the nineteenth century (1935), Rev. James O'Coigley, United Irishman (1937) and Rev. Hugh O'Donnell and his times (193-?).
Fionnuala Carson Williams, “Samuel Simms,” Dictionary of Irish Biography did.cambrige.org
Peter Froggatt, “Samuel Simms,” Dictionary of Ulster Biography http://www.newulsterbiography.co.uk
The Queen's University of Belfast Calendar 1919-20 (Belfast: Mayne, Boyd & Son, 1919), p. 452.
The Queen's University of Belfast Calendar 1922-23 (Belfast: Mayne, Boyd & Son, 1922), p. 575.
R.W.M. Strain, “The History of the Ulster Medical Society,” The Ulster Medical Journal, vol. 36.2 Summer, 1967, pp. 73-p110.
Belfast News-Letter (BNL).