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9/8/11 - U.S. archivist to speak at MSU, tour Grant collection

The archivist of the United States will be a special guest of Mississippi State Sept. 26, when he will tour the university-based Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Collection.

David Ferriero is the 10th person to hold the office since it was created by Congress in the 1930s. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, he is the first librarian ever named to the position.

At 2 p.m., he will discuss his duties and responsibilities as U.S. archivist, as well as the future of the National Archives and its importance to the nation. Ferriero is the first speaker for the 2011-12 school year of the annual Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series. The public program will be held in the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library.

While on campus, Ferriero also will meet with students in the MSU Distinguished Scholars program.

Prior to being named to his current post, he was the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. He also previously served in top library positions at two major institutions of higher learning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Ferriero, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Northeastern University and a second master's from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science. Both institutions are located in Boston.

Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman said the university is eagerly anticipating Ferriero's visit.

"We're very proud of our growing library resources and the growing stature of the library nationally. We're pleased that David Ferriero will be visiting the MSU Libraries and will have an opportunity to learn more about the U.S. Grant Collection housed here in particular," Coleman said.

John Marszalek, executive director and managing editor of the U.S. Grant Association located in Mitchell Memorial Library, said Ferriero oversees all of the nation's presidential libraries, among other responsibilities. (For more, visit

"As archivist of the United States, he is the No. 1 person in this particular field," Marszalek added. "This visit will give him a chance to see the richness of our Grant collection and its outstanding home, the Mitchell Memorial Library."

Sid Salter, MSU journalist in residence, said Ferriero's visit is of great significance.

"This visit speaks to the strengths of our present collection and the promise of its future. We have the ability to obtain and catalog and to make available to the public not only the Ulysses S. Grant Papers, but the papers of Mississippi's leading political statesmen and many others," said Salter, also coordinator to the Collins Speaker Series.

"The fact that he's coming here says he has an expectation of being delighted with what he will find at Mississippi State," he added.

In addition to the Grant collection, MSU Libraries house the Congressional and Political Research Center and an extensive special collections department, among other historical documents, papers and related material.

ALLISON MATTHEWS | University Relations

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