Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Marion Heidt Mimms (1882-1972)

Short Story Writer and Playwright
Born May 21, 1882, Selma, Alabama
Died November 1972, Nashville, Tennessee

Marion Bolling Heidt Mimms was born on May 21, 1882, in Selma, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where her uncle, Dr. William B. Safford, taught. She married a man named Louie Mimms and lived in Nashville, Tennessee, during the 1920s and '30s. By the time of the 1930 census, she was widowed and sharing her Nashville home with her mother. An author of short stories and plays, Marion was also a member of Stagecrafters and the Tennessee Women's Press and Author's Convention. I have found only a few credits for her:

  • "The Chair" in Weird Tales (Oct. 1926)
  • "As Advertised" in Hearth and Home (Feb. 1927)
  • "The Barred Door" in Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories (Apr./May 1927)
  • The one-act plays "The Clothesline" and "Butterfly Hearts," which were performed by the Nashville Little Theater in 1931

According to Sam Moskowitz, "The Chair" was the first work to be described as a "weird-scientific story." Inasmuch as the term science fiction had not yet been coined, editors of the 1920s relied on terms such as pseudo-scientific stories, scientific fiction, and even scientifiction to describe their material. (The term we use today--science fiction--dates from June 1929 and the first issue of Science Wonder Stories.) For that, if for nothing else, Marion Heidt Mimms earned a place for herself in the history of fantasy literature. Marion died in Nashville in November 1972 at age ninety.

Marion Heidt Mimms' Story in Weird Tales
"The Chair" (Oct. 1926)

Further Reading
I could find only one source for information on Marion Heidt Mimms, a newspaper article entitled "One-Act Plays Highly Praised" from the Tuscaloosa News, October 27, 1931.

Weird Tales for October 1926 included Marion Heidt Mimms' story "The Chair" and though her name didn't make the cover (by C. Barker Petrie, Jr.), the chair did. (Or is that a table in the foreground?)
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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