William Simonds (Walter Aimwell)

Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1822, Simonds was the third of four sons. His father died when he was about six, and, soon after, the family moved to Salem, where Simonds attended school until he was thirteen. Following his mother's remarriage, he was apprenticed to a jeweler for several years, and then, in 1837, to a Boston printer.

During this period, Simonds honed his writing skills by keeping a journal in which he practised writing brief essays on a variety of topics. (One of the final entries for 1838 -- when he was only sixteen -- was a six-page summary and commentary on a lecture he had attended.) In 1846, Simonds began his own magazine, the Boston Sunday Rambler (later absorbed into the New England Farmer).

Simonds published several instructive books for children, such as The Boy's Own Guide (1851) and The Boy's Book of Morals and Manners (1852), before beginning the first book in what became The Aimwell Stories.

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