Mississippi State University will soon be home to a Civil War collection that could make the university a leading research destination. MPB's Alexis Ware reports
Former Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank Williams is donating his Civil War collection to the university. Williams and his wife gathered Civil War and Abraham Lincoln relics over a 50 year period. The collection now boasts more than 17 thousand items, including artifacts, signed documents, books and artwork valued at nearly three million dollars. The collection will reside in the Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU.
Frances Coleman is the Dean of Libraries.
"This collection and the way that it will be placed as museum pieces will provide opportunities for faculty, students, researchers and other individuals across the state the region and the nation children can come and really learn more about history," Coleman says.
Williams says it was important to donate the items to a university in the South. He was also instrumental in relocating the Ulysses S. Grant Association and its archives to Mississippi State nine years ago.
The Civil War collection includes contemporary books and pamphlets relating to race and nationalism. Williams says a lot of the information could be used in relation to today's society.
"We also think that there's a large symbolism here, hopefully more than symbolism, because the Civil War really didn't end in apothegmatics. We're still a house divided and we want this collection to continue to heal a divided nation," Williams says.
Coleman says the university is working to have the collection ready by November.