New Mexico's best known and most distinguished historian, Marc Simmons, is also fully deserving of the epithet maverick, a term that originally referred to a calf that had strayed from the herd and that is also used to describe a person who takes an independent path in his life, work, and philosophy. An independent scholar who has published at least 42 books, as well as over 1,400 magazine and newspaper articles, over 50 scholarly articles, and 74 chapters or introductions in books by other authors, Simmons is equally remarkable for his lifestyle.
He lives in a house he himself built, writing all his books on a manual typewriter because he has forsworn electricity and other modern conveniences. Simmons is internationally recognized as an authority on Spanish Colonial New Mexico, the Santa Fe Trail, the life and times of Kit Carson, and the Spanish documentary records that are the source for so many of his writings. He is known for his determination to write narrative history for general readers rather than speaking strictly to a scholarly audience.
Phyllis Morgan presents a biographical essay, a sampling of his writings, and a comprehensive bibliography that traces Simmons's work into 2004. Her work will be essential for all collections and collectors specializing in Marc Simmons or the Southwest.