Editor’s Note: This blog entry was originally posted at Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online. It has been crossposted here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.
As many of you are probably aware, the Grant Papers moved from the care of John Y. Simon at Southern Illinois University to John Marszalek and Mississippi State University due to the unfortunate passing of Simon. In what is a very fortuitous event for me, Mississippi State University has now made the entire Grant Papers available online!
As Harry pointed out, the Grant Papers are an amazing resource for those of us wanting to see what Grant thought during the war, long before there was time for revisionism and self-serving writings. Grant was noted as someone who was remarkably evenhanded after the war, but everyone has some bias. I hope to use this collection frequently for my work here at Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online. Volumes 11-14 are particularly pertinent because they cover Grant’s letters from June 1864 to April 1865. Unlike Harry, my site WILL require me to spend quite a bit of time perusing these volumes. That’s fortunate, because like Harry, I suspect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time there going forward.
For a brief background on the Grant Papers, check out this excerpt from the new site:
About the Collection
The digital collection consists of 31 volumes of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, political cartoons, and sheet music from the larger collection. Other materials will be added to the digital collection as processing continues.
The Ulysses S. Grant Collection housed at Mississippi State University Libraries consists of some 15,000 linear feet of correspondence, research notes, artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia and includes information on Grant’s childhood from his birth in 1822, his later military career, Civil War triumphs, tenure as commanding general after the war, presidency, and his post-White House years until his death in 1885. There are also 4,000 published monographs on various aspects of Grant’s life and times. From this collection, the series of volumes edited by John Y. Simon, entitled The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant were chosen and published by the Southern Illinois University Press. Upon Simon’s death in 2008, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, which owns the collection, chose John F. Marszalek as Executive Director and Managing Editor of the remaining publication projects: a supplementary volume and a scholarly edition of the Grant Memoirs. The Association also voted to place the Collection in the Congressional and Political Research Center of the Mississippi State University Libraries.
Materials in the Collection
The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant were published in 31 volumes by Southern Illinois University Press between 1967 and 2009. These materials contain thousands of letters written by Ulysses S. Grant (1837-1885), and to him; his military and presidential documents; and a small number of photographs. These manuscripts are extensively annotated to explain their significance. There is also an extended calendar synopsis of letters in each volume. In total, this is the largest and most comprehensive published collection of Ulysses S. Grant correspondence available for scholarly use. Even more material is contained in the complete Ulysses S. Grant Association Collection housed in the Congressional and Political Research Center.
Political cartoons and sheet music represent a sampling of the memorabilia that has been donated to the Ulysses S. Grant Association. Political cartoons from publications such as Harper’s Weekly and Puck offer researchers a variety of illustrated commentary featuring Ulysses S. Grant from the early days of the Civil War to the scandals that rocked his Presidency. Patriotic sheet music written in honor of U. S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Union Army complements the MSU Libraries’ extensive collection of sheet music in the Charles Templeton Ragtime Collection. The Grant sheet music ranges from songs composed in the 1860s up to the early 20th century.