U.S. Grant Papers Are Mississippi-Bound Following Legal Settlement in Illinois

December 12, 2008

After 44 years, the papers of Ulysses S. Grant are leaving Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The deal is part of the settlement of a lawsuit between the university and the Ulysses S. Grant Association, according to reports by the campus’s student newspaper, The Daily Egyptian, and by the Associated Press.

The association, which owns the collection of papers of the U.S. president and Civil War general, brought suit to remove the documents after the death of its executive director, John Y. Simon, this year. A longtime professor of history at Carbondale, Mr. Simon was fired in January by the university following sexual-harassment allegations, according to local news reports. The handling of the case provoked an outcry among Mr. Simon’s supporters. When he died, in July, the university was reportedly negotiating his return, The Daily Egyptian reported.

The university has maintained that Mr. Simon was not fired, but that a recommendation for his dismissal, which he had appealed, was pending at the time of his death.

Mr. Simon was the editor of The Papers of U.S. Grant, a documentary series, and had completed 30 out of 31 projected volumes when he died. The papers will move to Mississippi State University, where their new editor and the association’s new executive director, John F. Marszalek, is an emeritus professor of history. —Jennifer Howard