Henry Upson Sims 1873-1961 portrait The Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library has created the Henry Upson Sims Society, named in honor of one of BPL’s earliest major benefactors and a 2018 inductee into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame. The Society’s mission is to sponsor the Friends Foundation Speakers Program, to bring outstanding speakers to Birmingham to share their ideas, experiences and discourse with Birmingham library patrons and the broader community.


We invite you to join as a founding member of the Henry Upson Sims Society at the Benefactor level. Benefactors are society members from whom officers and Speakers Program committee members will be selected. They will guide the Friends Foundation Speakers Program and organize its fundraising events during the time period for which they have made a pledge. They will attend Society events free of charge. Our goal is to invite fifty generous library patrons to become founding Benefactors. Sims Society members will be benefactors of the library in much the same way Mr. Sims was.

Benefactors pledge $1,000 a year for 5 years.


Scholar, author, teacher and writer Henry Upson Sims was an attorney by profession, being the only person ever to serve as president of the Birmingham Bar Association, president of the Alabama State Bar Association, and president of the American Bar Association. He was inducted in the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame in 2018 for his substantial contributions to the legal profession nation-wide.

Mr. Sims was also an important community servant in Birmingham’s civic life and a major benefactor of he Birmingham Public Library, donating today’s equivalent of approximately $760,000 in 1922 to fund the library’s book collection.

In honor of his service as an outstanding professional, community servant, and library benefactor, the Friends Foundation has chosen to name its major giving society after Henry Upson Sims.

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