Victories in the Civil War made Ulysses S. Grant a national figure and propelled him into the White House. Historians and biographers have long found him to be an elusive and controversial subject. For decades, basic documents necessary to understand this complex figure--Grant's correspondence, military and government papers, and other important materials--remained scattered in libraries, archives, and private collections. For over fifty years, the Ulysses S. Grant Association has been assembling copies of these documents in one library and in a published edition that presents authentic texts to the general public as well as to specialists.
In 1962, the Civil War Centennial Commissions of Illinois, New York, and Ohio, under the leadership of some of the nation's leading historians, established the Ulysses S. Grant Association and appointed John Y. Simon as editor. The Grant project began at the Ohio Historical Society, then moved to Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1964. Since 1962, under Professor Simon's leadership, the Grant Association has collected copies of every known Grant document and it continues that effort, making possible evaluations of his life and career based on documentary evidence.
With support from Southern Illinois University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Grant Association published thirty volumes of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant that cover Grant's career through 1884. Volume 31, published in 2009, carries Grant's life to the completion of his memoirs and his tragic death from cancer in 1885In July, 2008, John Y. Simon, our beloved long-time executive director and managing editor, died, and we relocated the papers from Southern Illinois University. These two events have produced the greatest changes our organization has experienced since our founding. Fortunately, since July of 2008, John F. Marszalek, a nationally respected historian and the author of the acclaimed biography of Grant's friend, William T. Sherman, has served as executive director and managing editor. Our host institution is now the Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University, and they, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, provide us with outstanding support. In 2012 under the direction of John F. Marszalek, the Grant project published a supplementary volume including important letters not available for inclusion in the original chronological volumes. Volumes 1-31 are now digitized and available free of charge on the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library's website.
We mourn the loss of our leader and our friend, but we have enjoyed continued achievement at Mississippi State. In May of 2012, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, in conjunction with its host institution, formed the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. The Library offers scholars the opportunity to utilize the vast collection of documents, books, and letters collected over the years by the Association as well as offering exhibits of memorabilia highlighting Grant's life and time.
Our current project is to publish the first scholarly edition of the Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. The Memoirs will be prepared with previously unused original manuscripts. Both volumes will be digitized, and a cumulative index of all the 32 volumes of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant will be prepared.
A reliable documentary record of Grant's writings and those of his contemporaries provides a better understanding of both the man and his times. Members of the Ulysses S. Grant Association sustain an important historical enterprise.
You can promote all these significant projects and share our exciting future by joining the Ulysses S. Grant Association. See our page on membership information for more details.
FRANK J. WILLIAMS