MSU-based Grant Association honored for enhancing Civil War study

Contact: Sammy McDavid

The Ulysses S. Grant Association is the winner of an annual national award recognizing achievements in promoting scholarship on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

During the Lincoln Forum's recent annual meeting in Gettysburg, Pa., the Grant Association received the 2013 Wendy Allen Award.

The association has been located at Mississippi State since 2008, when the university's Mitchell Memorial Library was selected to become the repository of correspondence, photographs, books, memorabilia and other documents related to the military career and presidency of Grant.

Grant (1822-85) rose to command all Union Army forces during what became the bloodiest conflict in American history. He was elected in 1869 to the first of two terms as the 18th U.S. president.

The Lincoln Forum is a nationwide assembly of individuals sharing a deep interest in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. Through a variety of activities--including an annual awards program--its members work to enhance the understanding and preserve the 16th president's memory.

The organization's award is named for the prominent Gettysburg artist considered to be Lincoln's major interpreter in paint and watercolor media. Ford's Theater and Lincoln's Cottage, both in Washington, D.C., and the Lincoln Memorial Museum in Redlands, Calif., are previous honorees.

At the Pennsylvania gathering, Lincoln Forum officer Russell Weidman made the presentation to John F. Marszalek, the Grant Association's executive director and managing editor.

In remarks to more than 300 in attendance, Weidman praised "the stellar work" of Marszalek and others at MSU since 2008. Specifically, he cited publication of the "Papers of Ulysses S. Grant," now considered among the major sources of study for the Civil War era.

Last year, the Grant Association's board of directors voted to designate the Grant Collection at MSU as the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library.

Weidman also praised the association for its successful transition of the Grant Collection from Southern Illinois University to MSU. The Grant Association's subsequent decision to open the collection to scholars and students should result in a more accurate accounting of Grant's long and distinguished military career and his presidency, he added.

In accepting the award, Marszalek, an MSU Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, thanked Weidman, other forum officials and members of the Grant Association. He also gave special recognition to MSU President Mark E. Keenun, Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman and his fellow Grant Presidential Library staff members.

"The relationship between the association and its host institution is recognized nationally as a model that professionals in the field both praise and attempt to imitate," Marszalek said.

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 06:00