William Sims

William Sowden Sims (October 15, 1858 – September 28, 1936) was an admiral in the United States Navy who fought during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to modernize the navy. During World War I he commanded all United States naval forces operating in Europe. He also served twice as president of the Naval War College.

William Sims
William sowden sims
Vice Admiral William Sowden Sims
Birth nameWilliam Sowden Sims
BornOctober 15, 1858
Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
DiedSeptember 28, 1936 (aged 77)
Boston, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1880 – 1922
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands heldNaval War College
U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters (WWI)
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsNavy Distinguished Service Medal
Other workPulitzer Prize


Sims was born to American parents Alfred William (1826-1895) and Adelaide (née Sowden) (b. 1835) living in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1880, the beginnings of an era of naval reform and greater professionalization. Commodore Stephen B. Luce founded the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in 1884, to be the service's professional school. During the same era, Naval War College instructor Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was writing influential books on naval strategy and sea power.

In March 1897, shortly after his promotion to lieutenant, Sims was assigned as the military attache to Paris and St. Petersburg. In this position he became aware of naval technology developments in Europe as well attaining familiarity with European politics which would greatly assist him during World War I. He was in this assignment during the Spanish–American War during which Sims was able to use his diplomatic connections to gain information on Spain and its high-ranking officials.

Personal Life

Sims married Anne Erwin Hitchcock, who was twenty three years his junior, in 1905. The couple had five children, three daughters (Margaret, Adeline and Anne) and two sons (William S. Sims, Jr. and Ethan Sims). Mrs. Sims died in 1960 at age 85.


As a young officer, Sims sought to reform naval gunnery by improving target practice. His superiors resisted his suggestions, failing to see the necessity. He was also hindered by his low rank. In 1902, Sims wrote directly to President Theodore Roosevelt. The president, who had previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was intrigued by Sims' ideas and made him the Navy's Inspector of Naval Gunnery on November 5, 1902, shortly after which Sims was promoted to lieutenant commander. He was promoted to commander in 1907.

From 1911 to 1912, Sims attended the Naval War College. Promoted to captain in 1911, he became Commander, Atlantic Destroyer Flotilla in July 1913.

On March 11, 1916, Sims became the first captain of the battleship USS Nevada. Nevada was the largest, most modern and most powerful ship in the U.S. Navy at that time. His selection as her captain shows the esteem in which he was held in the Navy.[1]

First World War

Shortly before the United States entered World War I, then Rear Admiral Sims was assigned as the president of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in February 1917. Just before the U.S. entered the war, the Wilson administration sent him to London as the senior naval representative. After the U.S. entry in April 1917, Sims was given command over U.S. naval forces operating from Britain. He received a temporary promotion to vice admiral in May 1917.

The major threat he faced was a highly effective German submarine campaign against freighters bringing vital food and munitions to the Allies. The combined Anglo-American naval war against U-boats in the western approaches to the British Isles in 1917-18 was a success due to ability of Sims to work smoothly with his British counterpart, Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly.[2]

Sims believed the Navy Department in Washington, which was effectively headed by Assistant Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt, was failing to provide him with sufficient authority, information, autonomy, manpower, and naval forces.

He ended the war as a vice admiral, in command of all U.S. naval forces operating in Europe. Shortly after the Armistice, Sims was promoted to temporary admiral in December 1918 but reverted to his permanent rank of rear admiral in April 1919 when he was assigned as president of the Naval War College.

Attack on Daniels

In 1919 after the war ended in Allied victory, Sims publicly attacked the deficiencies of American naval strategy, tactics, policy, and administration. He charged the failures had cost the Allies 2,500,000 tons of supplies, thereby prolonging the war by six months. He estimated the delay had raised the cost of the war to the Allies by $15 billion, and that it led to the unnecessary loss of 500,000 lives. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was more of a politician than a naval strategist, but he ably countered the accusations. He pointed to Sims' anglophilism and said his vantage point in London was too narrow to assess accurately the overall war effort by the U.S. Navy. Daniels cited prewar naval preparations and strategy proposals made by other American leaders during the war to disprove Sims' charges.

Despite the public acrimony, Sims emerged with his reputation unharmed and served a second tour as president of the Naval War College (1919–1922).[3] It was during his time as the Naval War College that he wrote and published his book The Victory at Sea which describes his experiences in World War I. In 1921 The Victory at Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for History. Sims is, possibly, the only career naval officer to win a Pulitzer Prize. (Rear Admiral Samuel E. Morison won two Pulitzer Prizes but only served nine years in the Naval Reserve.)

Retirement and death

Sims retired from the Navy in October 1922, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 64. In retirement he lived at 73 Catherine Street in Newport, Rhode Island. He appeared on the cover of the October 26, 1925 issue of Time magazine and was the subject of a feature article. He was promoted to full admiral on the retired list in 1930.

Admiral Sims died in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1936 at the age of 77. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


His account of the U.S. naval effort during World War I, The Victory at Sea,[4] won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for History. In 1929 Sims received an LL.D. from Bates College.

Columbia University conferred the honorary degree of doctor of laws upon Rear Admiral Sims on 2 June 1920.[5] Several weeks later, Williams College conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of laws during its June 21, 1920, commencement exercises.[6]

Several U.S. Navy vessels have been named for Sims. Three ships have been named USS Sims, while a transport vessel was named USS Admiral W. S. Sims.

The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp panel on February 4, 2010. One of the stamps depicted Admiral Sims.[7]

In 1947, the Naval War College acquired an existing barracks building and converted it to a secondary war gaming facility, naming it Sims Hall after its former War College President.

Honours and awards

United States military awards;
Foreign honors;
Other honors;

Dates of rank

  • Cadet Midshipman, United States Naval Academy - 24 June 1876
  • Midshipman - 22 June 1880
  • Ensign (junior grade) - 3 March 1883
  • Ensign - 26 June 1884
  • Lieutenant (junior grade) - 9 May 1893
  • Lieutenant - 1 January 1897
  • Lieutenant Commander - 21 November 1902
  • Commander - 1 July 1907
  • Captain - 4 March 1911
  • Rear Admiral - Selected on 29 August 1916, but remained number 31 of 30 flag officers remaining in the rank of captain while awaiting billet until 23 March 1917.
  • Vice Admiral (temporary) - 25 May 1917
  • Admiral (temporary) - 4 December 1918
  • Rear Admiral - Upon returning to the Presidency of the Naval War College on 11 April 1919
  • Rear Admiral, Retired List - 15 October 1922
  • Admiral, Retired List - June 21, 1930

See also

  • List of people on the cover of Time Magazine: 1920s


  2. ^ Michael Simpson, "Admiral William S. Sims, U.S. Navy, and Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Royal Navy: An Unlikely Friendship and Anglo-American Cooperation, 1917–1919," Naval War College Review, Spring 1988, Vol. 41 Issue 2, pp 66–80.
  3. ^ Coletta, 1991.
  4. ^ Sims, William (1920). The Victory at Sea. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co. p. 352.
  5. ^ The Washington Post. 02 June 1920. "Columbia to Honor Five". p 6, column 3.
  6. ^ The Washington Post (Washington DC). Tuesday, 22 June 1920. "Williams Honors Pershing. Admiral Sims and Franklin K. Lane Also Given LL.D's." no. 16,079, p 6, column 6.
  7. ^ "Distinguished Sailors Saluted On Stamps". USPS release no. 10-009.
  8. ^ Rd of 22.12.1919


  • Allard, Dean C., "Admiral William S. Sims and United States Naval Policy in World War I" in American Neptune 35 (April 1975): 97–110.
  • Coletta, Paolo E. "Naval Lessons of the Great War: The William Sims-Josephus Daniels Controversy," American Neptune, Sept 1991, Vol. 51 Issue 4, pp 241–251
  • Hagan, Kenneth J., "The Critic Within" in Naval History (December 1998): 20-25
  • Hagan, Kenneth J., "William S. Sims: Naval Insurgent and Coalition Warrior" in The Human Tradition in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Ballard C. Campbell, ed. (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000), 187-203
  • Hagan, Kenneth J., and Michael T. McMaster, "His Remarks Reverberated from Berlin to Washington," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (December 2010): 66-71.
  • Little, Branden, and Kenneth J. Hagan, "Radical, But Right: William Sowden Sims (1858-1936)" in Nineteen Gun Salute: Case Studies of Operational, Strategic, and Diplomatic Naval Leadership during the 20th and early 21st Centuries, eds. John B. Hattendorf and Bruce Elleman (Newport, RI and Washington, D.C.: Naval War College Press & Government Printing Office, 2010), 1-10.
  • Morison, Elting E., Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942), the standard scholarly biography, by the husband of his daughter Anne Hitchcock Sims
  • Simpson, Michael, "William S. Sims, U.S. Navy, and Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Royal Navy: An Unlikely Friendship, and Anglo-American Cooperation" in Naval War College Review, Vol. 41 (Spring 1988): 60-80
  • Steele, Chuck. "America's Greatest Great-War Flag Officer," Naval History Magazine (2013) 27#3 online

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Austin Melvin Knight
President of the Naval War College
1917, 1919-1922
Succeeded by
Clarence Stewart Williams
Capt. William Sims House

The Capt. William Sims House is a historic mansion in Greenfield, Tennessee, USA.

Consuelo Seoane

Consuelo Andrew Seoane (1876–1964) was a colonel in the US Army (third cavalry) who was one of the first two American spies for the US Army known to have operated in Japan, Korea, Ryukyu, Taiwan, Manchuria and China.In company with US Navy Commander Joseph Cheesman Thompson, Col. Seoane traveled under assumed names and South African nationality, posing as a naturalist, while mapping invasion routes, and counting naval guns and fortifications in Imperial Japan during 1909-1911.

Col. Seoane's autobiography has been described as 'exploits of a US Army officer in the Spanish–American War, the Philippine Insurrection, a spy in Japan, and two World Wars.' His widow Rhoda has written a book about him titled, 'Uttermost East and the Longest War'.The Ibizan Hound was first imported into the US by Col. Seoane and his wife in 1956.Sociologist William Sims Bainbridge is Consuelo's grand-nephew.

Daniel D. McDonald

Daniel Duncan McDonald (May 13, 1865, date of death unknown) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1910 to 1914, as a member of the Liberal Party.

McDonald was born in Nairn, Canada West (now Ontario), and educated at Lochaber, East Williams Township in Middlesex County. He later moved to Manitoba, and worked as a farmer.

He served as a councillor in the Municipality of Swan River for four years, and was reeve for two years. In religion, McDonald was a Presbyterian.

He was elected to the Manitoba legislature in the 1910 provincial election, defeating Conservative incumbent James W. Robson by 29 votes. The Conservatives won the election, and McDonald served in the legislature as a member of the opposition. He did not seek re-election in 1914.

McDonald then left the Liberal Party, and attempted to return to the legislature as a Conservative in the 1915 election. The Conservatives were resoundingly defeated in this campaign, and McDonald lost to Liberal candidate William Sims by 212 votes.

David Wm. Sims

David William Sims (born September 17, 1963 in Austin, Texas) is an American musician, best known as the bass guitarist of the bands Scratch Acid (with whom he initially played guitar), Rapeman, and The Jesus Lizard. In addition, he has recorded or performed with Sparklehorse, Rhys Chatham, Shivaree, Pigface, Flour, and others. Sims currently performs experimental solo electric bass as Unfact.

Besides being a musician, Sims is a Certified Public Accountant and blogged on his personal website from 2008–11, with only updates subsequently. He lives in New York City.


MissingNo. (Japanese: けつばん, Hepburn: Ketsuban), also known as MISSINGNO. or MissingNO, short for Missing Number, is an unofficial Pokémon species found in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue. Due to the programming of certain in-game events, players can encounter MissingNo. via a glitch.

Encountering MissingNo. causes graphical errors and the mass replication of the sixth item in the player's item menu; the latter effect resulted in the glitch's coverage by strategy guides and game magazines. IGN has noted MissingNo.'s appearance in Pokémon Red and Blue as one of the most famous video game glitches. Fans of the series have attempted to rationalize MissingNo. as part of the games' canon, and sociologists have studied its impact on players.

Process Church of the Final Judgment

The Process Church of the Final Judgment, commonly known as the Process Church, was a religious group established in London in 1966. Its founders were the British couple Mary Ann MacClean and Robert de Grimston and it spread across parts of the United Kingdom and United States during the latter 1960s and 1970s.

The Process Church was established by MacLean and de Grimston in London in 1966. The pair had met several years previously, when they were both members of the Church of Scientology. The duo were ejected from the Church in 1962 and married the following year. They started a Scientology splinter group called Compulsions Analysis, which gained new religious elements and developed into the Process Church. Its members initially lived in a commune in Mayfair before moving to Xtul in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. They later established a base of operations in the United States in New Orleans. Prosecutors investigating the Los Angeles murders committed by the Manson Family in 1969 suggested that there were links between Charles Manson and the Process Church. Although no proof of such a connection was ever provided, the allegations damaged the Church's reputation.

In the early 1970s, the sociologist William Sims Bainbridge studied the group, producing an in-depth account of its activities. In 1974, MacLean and de Grimston separated. The latter tried to continue the group with a small following, but this folded in 1979. MacLean retained the allegiance of the majority of Church members, reforming the group as the Foundation Church of the Millennium and taking it into an explicitly Christian direction. It was later transformed into the Best Friends Animal Society, based at Kanab, Utah.

Richard Sims

Richard William Sims (born 23 July 1979 in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe Rhodesia) is a Zimbabwean cricketer. An allrounder, he bats in the middle order and bowls right-arm offbreak. He is a good driver of the ball and is a straight hitter.

Rodney Stark

Rodney William Stark (born July 8, 1934) is an American sociologist of religion who was a long time professor of sociology and of comparative religion at the University of Washington. He is presently the Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, co-director of the university's Institute for Studies of Religion, and founding editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.Stark has written over 30 books, including The Rise of Christianity (1996), and more than 140 scholarly articles on subjects as diverse as prejudice, crime, suicide, and city life in ancient Rome. He has twice won the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, for The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation (1985, with William Sims Bainbridge), and for The Churching of America 1776–1990 (1992, with Roger Finke).

Scientology (James R. Lewis book)

Scientology is a compilation book about the Church of Scientology and the new religious movement Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis. It was published in March 2009 by Oxford University Press. In addition to Lewis, other contributors to the book include J. Gordon Melton, William Sims Bainbridge, Douglas E. Cowan, David G. Bromley, Anson Shupe, James T. Richardson, and Susan J. Palmer. Scientology gives an overview and introduction to the organization, and presents an analysis of the movement from the perspective of sociology. The book compares the organization to other religious movements, and goes over its history of controversy. It delves into the practices of the organization and activities of its missions.

Scientology was given an unfavorable review in the International Journal of Cultic Studies, which considered the book unduly biased in Scientology's favour, a view echoed in a review in satirical magazine Private Eye. It received a positive review in Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, describing it as "the most sophisticated academic item published on Scientology" to date, a book to be read by journalists and academics alike, and "the most important collection of scholarly articles on Scientology published so far – in any language".


A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political, or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger group. Although the term was originally a classification for religious separated groups, it can now refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles.

In an Indian context, sect refers to an organized tradition.

Sims Silversmith Shop

A reproduction of Sims Silversmith Shop, operated by the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, is located on the site that is now 12 Cuna Street in St. Augustine, Florida. The precise location of William Sims's 18th century original shop is unknown.

The Family International

The Family International (TFI) is a cult that started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California. It was originally called Teens for Christ and later gained notoriety as The Children of God (COG). It was later renamed and reorganized as The Family of Love, which was eventually shortened to The Family. It is currently called The Family International.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent mantra meditation and less commonly to the organizations that constitute the Transcendental Meditation movement. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created and introduced the TM technique and TM movement in India in the mid-1950s.

The Maharishi taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms. TM became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as the Maharishi shifted to a more technical presentation, and his meditation technique was practiced by celebrities. At this time, he began training TM teachers and created specialized organizations to present TM to specific segments of the population such as business people and students. By the early 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of people; the worldwide TM organization had grown to include educational programs, health products, and related services.

The TM technique involves the use of a sound called a mantra, and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction, which costs a fee that varies by country. According to the Transcendental Meditation movement, it is a non-religious method for relaxation, stress reduction, and self-development. The technique has been seen as both religious and non-religious; sociologists, scholars, and a New Jersey judge and court are among those who have expressed views. The United States Court of Appeals upheld the federal ruling that TM was essentially "religious in nature" and therefore could not be taught in public schools.TM is one of the most widely practiced and researched meditation techniques. It is not possible to say whether it has any effect on health as the research, as of 2007, is of poor quality.

USS Sims (DD-409)

USS Sims (DD-409) was the lead ship of her class of destroyers in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first ship to be named for William Sims, an Admiral who pushed for the modernization of the Navy.Sims was laid down on 15 July 1937 by Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine; launched on 8 April 1939; sponsored by Mrs. William S. Sims; and commissioned on 1 August 1939, Lieutenant Commander William Arthur Griswold in command.

USS W. S. Sims

USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059) was a Knox-class frigate of the United States Navy named for William Sims. She was in commission from 1970 to 1991.

William Bainbridge (disambiguation)

William Bainbridge (1774–1833) was a commodore in the U.S. Navy.

William Bainbridge may also refer to:

Bill Bainbridge (born 1922), English footballer

William G. Bainbridge (1925–2008), U.S. Army officer

William Sims Bainbridge (born 1940), American sociologist

William Seaman Bainbridge (1870–1947), American surgeon and gynecologist

William Bainbridge (MP) (died 1583), MP for Derby

William Henry Sims

William Henry Sims (January 6, 1872—1955) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1914 to 1920 as a member of the Liberal Party.

William Sims (disambiguation)

William Sims (1858–1936), was an admiral in the United States Navy.

William Sims may also refer to:

William Edward Sims (1842-1891), American politician

William Henry Sims (1872—1955), politician in Manitoba, Canada

William Sims (engineer), pioneer of the Cornish engine

William L. Sims II (1896-1977), American businessman

William Sims Bainbridge

William Sims Bainbridge (born October 12, 1940) is an American sociologist who currently resides in Virginia. He is co-director of Cyber-Human Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He is the first Senior Fellow to be appointed by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Bainbridge is most well known for his work on the sociology of religion. Recently he has published work studying the sociology of video gaming.

Pulitzer Prize for History (1917–1925)

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