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Calhoun headlines Marszalek lecture Wednesday at MSU


Charles Calhoun

Charles Calhoun
Photo by: Courtesy photo



MSU Office of Public Affairs



Charles W. Calhoun, a historian who specializes in the political history of the United States from 1865 to 1900, is the featured speaker for Mississippi State's 16th annual John F. and Jeanne A. Marszalek Speaker Series. 


The free event will take place at 2 p.m. March 7 in the John Grisham Room of MSU's Mitchell Memorial Library. Calhoun will give a lecture on "The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Myths and Realities." Ryan Semmes, an MSU Libraries faculty member and a history doctoral student also will give a presentation titled "The Two Hirams: Hiram R. Revels, Ulysses S. Grant Party Politics, and the Annexation of Santo Domingo." The lecture series is sponsored by MSU Libraries in honor of the Marszaleks. 


Calhoun retired in 2014 as a Thomas Harriot College Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University and a doctorate from Columbia University. He is the author of six books and the editor of four others.  


A leading scholar on the Gilded Age, Calhoun is founder and past president of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. His latest book is "The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant," published in 2017 by the University Press of Kansas. Calhoun spent time at MSU's Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library to research his book on the 18th president. 


Semmes is an associate professor at MSU Libraries and is coordinator of the university's Congressional and Political Research Center. In that role, he focuses on archiving material in the Congressional Collections as well as the Grant Presidential Library. He is pursuing a doctorate in history from MSU, where he is writing a dissertation on Grant's presidential foreign policy. Semmes received his undergraduate degree in history from MSU and earned two master's degrees from the University of South Carolina. 


John F. Marszalek is an MSU Giles distinguished professor emeritus of history and the executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and the Grant Presidential Library. He and his wife, Jeanne, have long been supporters of MSU Libraries. The lecture series began 15 years ago when the Marszaleks approached Frances Coleman, dean of MSU Libraries, with the proposal of creating a fund to purchase primary source materials for the library's collections each year. Coleman suggested that, in addition to purchasing materials, the library should also host a nationally renowned speaker each year and, with the aid of the MSU Department of History, provide graduate students an opportunity to present their work. 


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