MSU to host ‘An Evening with the Presidents’ at Mitchell Memorial Library

Aug 20, 2019

Originally published at by James Carskadon

Mississippi State University will host ‘An Evening with the Presidents’ this Friday [Aug. 23] at Mitchell Memorial Library.

The 6 p.m. program will include a discussion between an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Ulysses S. Grant impersonator Curt Fields and MSU President Mark E. Keenum. A book signing follows for Hold On with a Bulldog Grip: A Short Study of Ulysses S. Grant, a new book written by MSU and Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library historians John Marszalek, David Nolen and Louie Gallo, along with former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Williams.

The free presidential program will take place in the library’s John Grisham Room. Attendees are invited to tour the Grant Presidential Library and Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana galleries. Free parking will be available in the Hand Lab parking lot, at the intersection of Hardy Road and Morrill Road, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Fields is an educational consultant and living historian. He researches and reads extensively about General Grant to deliver an accurate persona of the nation’s 18th president. Fields has the same height and body style as Grant, which allows him to present a convincing, true-to-life image of the man as he really looked. In 2018, Fields was the guest speaker for MSU Libraries’ inaugural Michael B. Ballard Lecture.

Keenum has served as MSU’s president since January 2009. Among many accomplishments during his tenure, the university has become home of the Grant Library and the Williams Collection, one of the world’s largest privately-held Lincoln compilations. In 2017, MSU unveiled a new 21,000-square-foot addition to Mitchell Memorial Library containing visitor galleries and storage for the collections. With hundreds of thousands of historical documents and items housed on-site, the facility makes Mississippi State a leading destination for research on the Civil War and two presidents who shaped the course of American history. Keenum also serves on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees.

Friday’s panel will be moderated by Marszalek, MSU Giles distinguished professor of history emeritus and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

For more on Hold On with a Bulldog Grip, MSU’s 2019 Maroon Edition book, visit Copies will be available for purchase at Friday’s program.

MSU is one of six universities in the U.S. to house a presidential library. For more, visit

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