Robert Davidson

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MSU Offers Online Look At Grant’s Life

MSU PRESS RELEASE

Photographs from a 19th century world tour by former president Ulysses S. Grant and wife Julia now may be viewed online.

The images are available through the Mississippi State University Libraries’ Digital Collection website, http://library.msstate.edu/dc/usgrant/worldtour. The album was donated to the MSU-based Grant Presidential Library by the president’s great-great grandson, Ulysses Grant Dietz.

In 1877, the couple embarked on a two-year world tour that would solidify the former Union Army commander and U.S. chief executive’s reputation as an international celebrity. What had been planned as a quiet holiday evolved dramatically as the Grants found themselves in high demand for social engagements, speeches, dinners, and other events hosted by some of the most important people in Europe, North Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Queen Victoria of England, Otto von Bismarck of Germany, the emperor of Japan, and other hosts are among featured dignitaries. Along with photographs, Julia Grant recorded impressions of the leaders they met, particularly their interactions with the American visitors.

Library officials said the album and accompanying biographical notes provide a unique window into the Grants’ post-presidential life, while also shedding light on nations and cultures of the world in the late 19th century.

Ryan Semmes of the library’s Congressional and Political Research Center worked with the digital preservation access unit to make the images available on both Grant Presidential Library and MSU Libraries’ Digital Collection websites. The biographical notes were compiled by history graduate student Melissa G. Lawrence of Mt. Airy, N.C., a Grant Library intern.