Ulysses S. Grant made a name for himself in Mississippi as he led the Union Army’s Vicksburg campaign. Now, his name and legacy live on at Mississippi State University, home of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library.
Located in Starkville, approximately halfway between the national military parks at Shiloh and Vicksburg, the presidential library contains a state-of-the-art museum gallery designed for history enthusiasts of all ages. Visitors can also see one of the largest private Abraham Lincoln collections ever assembled, the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana.
Grant Association & Mississippi State University
The Grant Presidential Library is managed by MSU and the Ulysses S. Grant Association, which was founded during the Civil War Centennial in 1962. Since 2009, the Grant Association has been headquartered at MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library. In November 2017, MSU opened a 21,000-square-foot library expansion that includes the museum galleries on Grant and Lincoln, as well as collection storage for the hundreds of thousands of documents and artifacts on both presidents.
The facility’s grand opening was marked by visits from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, and Ron Chernow, the best-selling author of “Hamilton” and “Grant,” among other historians and public officials.
Since the grand opening, thousands of visitors from across the nation and the world have come to Mississippi State University to see the treasures in the Grant Presidential Library and the Lincolniana Collection. These include four life size statues of Grant at various times in his life; autographed manuscripts; a desk that once stood in an Illinois courthouse where Lincoln practiced law; interactive screens which allows visitors to grapple with myths about Grant and Lincoln; a Grant portrait which once hung in the National Portrait Gallery; and never before seen artifacts about both men.
The galleries of the U.S. Grant Presidential Library are organized so that people of all ages can interact, learn and enjoy. Children can open drawers and learn through the interactive screens, and thus feel part of the museum experience. Both adults and children can send electronic postcards anywhere in the world, tying distant people to the Grant Presidential Library. A museum shop is available for the purchase of books and souvenirs.
The archival research materials housed at the presidential library have made MSU a destination for historians and researchers studying the life of America’s 18th president and the Civil War. John F. Marszalek, executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, oversees the collection. Mitchell Memorial Library is under the leadership of Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman.
The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No reservation is necessary for attendance, and there is no admission charge. For more information, including how to obtain a free parking pass, visit www.usgrantlibrary.org or call 662-325-4552.