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Sims, Lewis Elmer, 1855-1937



  • Existence: 1855-1937


Lewis Elmer Sims was born in 1855 and grew up in the small town of Lawn Ridge (Marshall County) in central Illinois. Motivated by a minister's recommendation, he chose to attend Northwestern University, entering the Northwestern University Preparatory School in 1874 and matriculating to the University the following year. He joined the Northwestern's Adelphic Literary Society (see Series 31/6/9, Northwestern University Archives) and particularly enjoyed debating.

During the spring of 1876, Sims became violently ill for the first time in his life, presumably contracting typhoid from drinking Lake Michigan water. He returned to Lawn Ridge yet did not recover his good health for several more months; he decided that he would return to Evanston the following spring. During the fall and winter of 1876-1877, Sims was hired as a local teacher for as many as 44 students, some as old as himself. He then returned to Northwestern, transferring from the class of 1878 to the class of 1879. Shortly after beginning his junior year at Northwestern, he again fell ill and returned home.

Sims never returned as a student to Northwestern, but studied law in Peoria, Illinois, being admitted to the bar in 1880. He found his law career distasteful, however, and soon bought a farm in Nebraska, where he raised his family. In the early 1920s Sims claimed a position in the Presbyterian ministry and later moved to San Anselmo, California. He died in 1937.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Lewis Elmer Sims Papers

Identifier: 31/6/96

The Lewis Elmer Sims Papers contain information, primarily corresondence, regarding Sims' time at the Northwestern University Preparatory School and Northwestern University (1874-1877).

Dates: 1874-1977; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1943