D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

L. B. Simmons Collection

"The Life and Times of L.B. Simmons" Cover

D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville 28804


L. B. Simmons Collection
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/simmons/default.html
Creator J. B. Simmons
Subject Keyword L. B. Simmons ; Mattie Thompson ; Asheville, NC ; Biltmore Estate ; Great Depression ; Hollywood ; celebrities ; Strand Theater ; Robert Mitchum ; Grace Kelley ; Louis Jordon ; Marion Manufacturing Company ; motocycles ; automobiles ; film ;Marion, North Carolina ;
Subject LCSH   Simmons, L.B
Celebrities -- Photographs
Jordan, Louis
Kelley, Grace
Mitchum, Robert  ;
Asheville (N.C.) -- Film locations
Date 2012-01-10
Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Contributor J. B. Simmons
Type Collection ; Text (handmade book) ; Image (photographs)
Source M2012.02.01
Language English
Relation Is related to:  Gus and Emma Adler Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville ; E.M. Ball Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville
Coverage Temporal 1950s - 1960s
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville.  Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyrightlaw.  Any re-publication requires permission of Simmons family.
Donor J. B. Simmons
Description The L.B. Simmons Collection is a "virtual" collection. Permission from the family has been granted to D.H. Ramsey Library to publish these material in an electronic format. The Simmons family retains the original physical material in the collection and the intellectual property rights. The collection is focused on the handmade book that details the life of L.B. Simmons and the many careers of Simmons.  His work related to the film industry is of particular interest.  A small group of photographs taken by L.B. Simmons, mainly of the filming of "The Swan" and "Thunder Road" in Asheville is included in the virtual collection. Images are black and white prints of varying sizes, and gelatin negatives of some of these prints also were included.  Both prints and negatives were scanned for the virtual collection and originals were returned to family. Any publication of material in this collection requires the permission of the Simmons family.
Acquisition 2012-01-10
Citation "L.B. Simmons Collection," D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville.
Processed by Special Collections staff LL, 2012
Biography Louis Berkley Simmons, b. 16 October 1903, near Nebo N.C. ; d. October 1986, Asheville N.C.)

During his childhood, L.B. Simmons' family moved around Western North Carolina; the most critical time of this period of constant transition was marked by the deaths of his paternal grandfather and his father, both within weeks of one another in 1911. This forced Simmons' mother, née Etta Janette Hefner, to move several times to sustain her family, eventually leading her back to Nebo, NC where she remarried.

From early in life, L.B. Simmons found great interest in films and motor vehicles. In 1914, at age 11, Simmons worked at the Marion Manufacturing Company, a cloth Mill in Marion, NC. The following year he visited Asheville for the first time. Thirteen years later he moved to Asheville and found work for a very short time at the Queen Theater in Hendersonville. The following year he worked simultaneously at the Recreation Park, The Manor and the VA Hospital in Oteen, before becoming employed by the Strand Theater and Patton Avenue, in Asheville. It was then that the Central Bank and Trust Company decided to close at the onset of the Great Depression.

In November 23, 1930, Simmons married Mattie Thompson, originally from Knoxville, TN. They lived in the Asheville area while looking for steady work and a place to settle down. Some work opened to L. B. at the State Theater in February 14, 1934. This allowed him and Mattie to settle down in the Montford neighborhood, where they raised their firstborn, Barbara. He continued to work with other theaters, including the Dreamland Drive-in Theater, The Imperial and The Plaza. Mr. Simmons' second child and only son, James B. Simmons, was born November 3, 1946.

During the 50s, L. B. Simmons worked with film crews for movie productions filmed in the Asheville area, including "The Swan," and Thunder Road (1958).

In 1975, Mr. Simmons had a heart attack that, at age 73, brought about his retirement.

Item List M2012.02.01.1 "The Life and Times of L.B Simmons", Hand-crafted book. 
CT275.G583 S56 2011
  M2012.02.01.2 Photographs