University's Grant historians contribute to Journal of Mississippi History’s latest issue

Journal of Mississippi History

Articles by Mississippi State’s top researchers on Ulysses S. Grant are featured in the latest issue of the Journal of Mississippi History.

With the theme “Grant and Mississippi,” the JMH spring/summer publication, Vol. LXXX, includes the writings of John F. Marszalek, the issue’s managing editor and special projects coordinator of MSU Libraries’ Ulysses S. Grant Collection. Marszalek also is executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Marszalek said MSU and MDAH’s partnership on the new JMH issue “bodes well for the future of history within our state.” The issue, he said, is being sent to Mississippi Historical Society members throughout the state and is reaching history scholars in the nation’s leading academic institutions.

“Americans can now have a different view of the Magnolia State, realizing that this center of the Confederacy has now become the place to study the most important historical event of the national past,” he said. “People can read this volume and realize the answer to the question: “How is it possible for Grant and Lincoln to be located in the South, in Mississippi?”

Since 1939, the Journal of Mississippi History has featured articles by distinguished scholars on the Magnolia State and its past, the Lower Mississippi Valley and the South. It is a publication of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Historical Society.

The journal’s managing editor, William “Brother” Rogers, director of MDAH’s Programs and Communication Division, said, “Given the importance of having the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State, the Mississippi Historical Society thought it would be a good idea to have a special issue on Grant. Dr. Marszalek recruited the authors of all the articles and organized the special issue. In addition, he wrote the introductory article that answers the most asked question, ‘How did MSU obtain the Grant papers and memorabilia?’”

Marszalek also is a former president of the Mississippi Historical Society and is an MSU Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, the university’s highest faculty honor.

“MSU President Mark E. Keenum’s presence on the MDAH board of trustees, William ‘Brother’ Rogers’s strong ties to the Grant Library, and my longtime contacts with historians around the state can lead to an exciting future,” Marszalek said.

Other authors include David S. Nolen, associate professor and associate editor/reference librarian, and Louie P. Gallo, assistant editor, both with MSU’s Grant Presidential Library in operation since 2009. Along with former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice and longtime Grant Association President Frank Williams, Nolen, Gallo and Marszalek authored “Hold On with a Bulldog Grip.” Released in April by University Press of Mississippi, the biography on the nation’s 18th president is the 2019 selection for MSU’s Maroon Edition common reading book program.

Nolen and Gallo also worked with Marszalek on “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: The Complete Annotated Edition” (Harvard University Press, 2017). For the new JMH issue, Nolen and Gallo co-wrote an article about how the annotated edition helps the modern reader better understand Grant’s autobiography, considered a classic of American letters for more than 130 years.

Rogers, a former associate director of the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service in Starkville, said MSU Libraries Associate Professor Ryan P. Semmes contributed an a JMH article titled “Hiram R. Revels, Ulysses S. Grant, Party Politics and the Annexation of Santo Domingo.” An associate professor, coordinator for MSU’s Congressional and Political Research Center and Grant Presidential Library archivist, Semmes tells the story of Mississippi’s Hiram Revels, the first African-American U.S. senator, who unsuccessfully worked with Grant to annex the Dominican Republic.

The JMH “Grant and Mississippi” issue also includes articles by MSU doctoral alumnus Timothy B. Smith, a lecturer in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Department of History and Philosophy; Terrence J. “Terry” Winschel, retired chief historian of Vicksburg National Military Park; and Susannah J. Ural, professor and co-director of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi, and a past president of the Mississippi Historical Society.

Copies can be purchased for $7.50 each by calling the Mississippi Museum Store at (601) 576-6921.

In 2017, Mississippi State cemented its status as one of the leading places to study the Civil War and Reconstruction eras after Williams and his wife Virginia donated their private Abraham Lincoln and Civil War collection to the university. MSU is one of only six universities in the nation housing a presidential library. Learn more at and

For more on the Journal of Mississippi History, visit

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Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs

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