North American Scholar

REYNOLDS, James Lawrence

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1814-03-17
  • Born City: Charleston
  • Born State/Country: SC
  • Parents: George N., a coach maker, & Martha Simms R.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1877-12-19
  • Death City: Greenville
  • Death State/Country: SC
  • Married: Charlotte Smith, 1836.
  • Education:

    A.B. Coll. Charleston, 1834; D.D. Newton (MA) Theol. Sem., 1836.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lie. Bapt. preacher, 1831; ordained, 1836; pastor, First Baptist Ch. (Columbia, SC), 1836-40; prof. Mercer U., 1840-1; prof. Bapt. Theol. Inst. (Fairfield, SC), 1841-7; pastor Second Bapt. Ch. (Richmond, VA), 1847-50; pres. Georgetown (KY) Coll. 1850-1; prof, belles-lettres & elocution South Carolina Coll. (now U. South Carolina), 1851-5; chaplain & prof, mental & moral philos., sacred lit. & evidences of Christianity, 1855-7; prof. Rom. lit., 1857-65; prof, moral philos. U. South Carolina, 1865-73; Furman U., 1873-7.

  • Publications:

    Reynolds' New Pictorial Reader (Columbia, SC, 1869); Reynolds' Pictorial Primer for Home and School (Columbia, SC, 1871); Church Polity: or, the Kingdom of Christ in Its Internal and External Development (Richmond & Boston 1849).

  • Notes:

    James Lawrence Reynolds, the leading Latinist of his age in South Carolina, was equally known as minister and scholar. A childhood friend of man of letters William Gilmore Simms and brother of Thomas Caute Reynolds, he held several positions at South Carolina College and, upon being released from his chaplaincy in June 1857, he was elected professor of Roman literature, a chair he held until 1865. When the Greek and Roman chairs were combined into one after the war, Reynolds assumed his previous chair and taught until the radical board of trustees appointed by South Carolina's reconstruction government dismissed him in the summer of 1873. In that year he was offered a position at Furman University, where he served to the end of his days.An elegant lecturer of noble visage and deep learning, Reynolds had admirers among several generations throughout his state. He contributed frequently to DeBow's Review, The Southern Baptist, and The Confederate Baptist, Southern Literary Messenger and the Southern Quarterly Review. He was best known for his contributions to the Southern School Readers series. He had completed a grammar of Anglo-Saxon before his untimely death, but the book was never published. In 1869 J. W. Davidson said of him, "He is generally recognized as the best Latin scholar in his state; while his attainments in general literature and ethics are such as to rank him among the first scholars in the South."

  • Sources:

    Baptist Courier (3 Jan. 1878); Charleston News and Courier (20 Dec. 1877) 2; D. W. Hollis, The University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC 1956), vols. I & II; J. W. Davidson, The Living Writers of the South (New York, 1869), 470; Library of Southern Literature, ed. E. A. Alderman & J. C. Harris (New Orleans, 1910), vol. XV, 366.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.