From staff reports
The Louisville Rotary Club hosted Sid Salter, Director of Public Affairs at Mississippi State, September 25..
Salter discussed many positives of Mississippi State including the addition of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s presidential library.
Salter noted while it may be odd for a former confederate state to host Grant’s library that it was befitting to the former president and to the state.
The 18th president of the United States was born in Ohio and buried in New York, but a large part of his legacy resides at Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library.
It’s a massive archive of original letters, diaries, photographs and other memorabilia, as well as copies of Grant’s papers that are on file at the National Archives, the Library of Congress and around the world.
Among the contents is an order Grant wrote while in Oxford that President Lincoln promptly rescinded. In addition, there’s a real-life piece of an abolitionist leader, as well as photographs of the most well-attended funeral of all time.
The collection is a treasure trove for scholars, students and lovers of history, and just about everyone who visits has one question on their minds.
“They want to know why Mississippi? That’s the first thing people ask,” said Salter.
The answer goes back to the 1960s, when the Ulysses S. Grant Association decided to collect all of his letters, manuscripts and other items in one place.
It started at Ohio State in 1962 then moved to Southern Illinois University in 1964 until 2008, when the association decided to move the collection to MSU since MSU’s John Marszalek, executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, was considered the foremost expert on Grant according to Salter and the university campaigned heavily to create the presidential library at the university.
Salter outlined the importance of the addition to the state and university.
The Louisville Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at Lake Tiaka O’Khata from noon until 1 p.m. Contact a member of Rotary if interested in attending.