Wrapping Up Ulysses S. Grant's Bicentennial Year
2022 was a busy year for Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site as we marked the 200th anniversary of Grant’s birth. Despite being a relatively small staff more than 100 in-person education programs, six special events, twenty-six off-site programs, and sixteen virtual programs were offered to the public throughout the year. Roughly 40,000 people will have visited the park by the end of the calendar year, and several online exhibits, videos, and articles on the park’s website will have reached thousands of online visitors. The park also has a strong social media presence, with 13,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 9,000 each on Twitter and Instagram.
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Ulysses S. Grant lived in many places throughout his lifetime. In this video, learn about eleven historic sites around the country where people can visit to learn about Grant's life and legacy.
Grant Bicentennial Junior Ranger book with commemorative Junior Ranger badge
Kids, of all ages, can earn a commemorative US Grant 200 Junior Ranger badge by completing special Junior Ranger booklet that explores all aspects of Grant’s life. The booklet includes a variety of activities on Grant’s early life, early military, life as a farmer, the Civil War, his presidency, his love of horses, his world tour, and his memoirs and memorialization. It’s a beautiful book filled with original colorful illustrations, primary documents, historic images, and a kid-friendly story of Grant.
The book is available at the park's visitor center. To receive an electronic copy, please email the program manager for interpretation and education, or complete the Virtual Bicentennial Junior Ranger booklet online.
Take Grant on a Second World Tour
Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia traveled around the world for over two years after his presidency. They visited royalty, heads of state, and famous landmarks. Pick up a “Flat Grant” at the park’s visitor center to color and take him with you on your travels during his Bicentennial year. Or, print one out! (200k PDF) Share selfies with Flat Grant on social media with #USGrant2ndWorldTour
PAST BICENTENNIAL EVENTS
John Y. Simon Day: Annual Grant Lecture
“The Only Thing Constant is Change”
by Pam Sanfilippo
Saturday, October 8, 2022, 10:00 a.m.
This year’s lecturer is Pam Sanfilippo, Program Manager for Museum Services and Interpretation at Gateway Arch National Park. She worked at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site from 1995 until 2014, serving as Park Ranger, Education Director, and Historian. She is the author of numerous essays, articles, and publications. Pam is writing a book on the life of Grant’s wife, Julia, and will provide a preview to some of her research during this presentation.
Several historians and authors have claimed Julia Grant was a shallow individual. For many, her Memoirs reflect that perception—full of flights and fancy, with little insight or introspection. On closer examination, sources reveal a woman who, while fiercely defending the traditional role of women in the domestic sphere revolving around home and family, stepped forward and outside those boundaries from the day she married Ulysses S. Grant. In writing her Memoirs, she provided a glimpse into how others might embrace life’s journey, with similar passion and wonderment.
Reservations required. Call 314-842-1867 ext. 230.
Image: John Y. Simon (Simon family),
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For the 2022 John Y. Simon Day Annual Lecture, historian Pam Sanfilippo offered a presentation on the life of First Lady Julia Dent Grant. From her childhood experiences in St. Louis at the White Haven estate through here time as a General's wife and First Lady, Julia Dent Grant witnessed the triumphs and tragedies of the Civil War era firsthand. She was also a trailblazer in her own right, becoming the first First Lady to write a personal memoir.
Civil War Weekend – Appomattox
Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
A living history weekend commemorated the 157th annniversary of General Grant’s acceptance of General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, the event that has been considered the ending of the Civil War. Included in weekend event were presentations on the surrender, soldier encampments, historic weapons demonstrations, civilian presentations, a demonstration on 19th century photograph, children’s activities, and information on researching your Civil War ancestors. Dan Haughey presented a first person, one-act play “Mr. U.S. Grant: A Man & A Patriot!”
Grant’s 200th BirthdayWednesday, April 27
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
We celebrated the 200th birthday of Ulysses S. Grant with a variety of activities and presentations. Suzanne Corbett, food historian and culinary instructor, provided a program on 19th century cakes and desserts in the dining room of White Haven. Park Ranger Nick Sacco and Ulysses S. Grant Association board member John Samson gave presentations on Grant in the park’s theater. General Grant (Stan Prater) meet with visitors on the park grounds and posed for pictures. The programs were presented in partnership with the Ulysses S. Grant Association/Mississippi State University.
Throughout the day individuals decorated cards for residents in Missouri veterans’ homes, in honor of Grant’s bicentennial. This is an on-going activity and visitors can color a card when they stop by the Visitor Center. That evening, the Independent Silver Band performed on the park’s ground for a one-hour concert.
Captain Grant: The Desperate Years: Performance by Curt FieldsTuesday, May 17 – 7 pm
Well-known Grant performer Curt Fields gave a first-person interpretation of Ulysses S. Grant’s difficult years at White Haven from 1854 - 1860.
After his resignation from the Army, he returned to White Haven to be with his family. His plan was to provide for his family as a farmer but was not successful. He tried to find other sources of income. His time as a real estate agent/businessman was brief and not profitable. Even though he was qualified, the Board of St. Louis County Commissioners rejected his application for St. Louis County Engineer. When he did get a job as a clerk in the customs house, after only a few weeks, his benefactor died and so did his job. Grant even resorted to selling firewood in St. Louis.
He had been on a steady financial decline since leaving the Army and was deeply in debt and in desperate straits by 1860 when he was finally able to secure a job from his father in Galena, Illinois, as a store clerk.
Grant and Horses at White HavenSaturday, June 25
Throughout Grant’s life, horses played an important role. He loved to ride, train, and care for horses from the time he was a young boy. Horses were also vital to him as a soldier and farmer. At this event, visitorsl earned more about horses and Grant’s relationship to them throughout his life. Numerous horses from area ranchers and individuals were at the park providing both formal and informal demonstrations. Included were presentations on Grant’s horsemanship, saddles, history of racing, and hands-on activities for children.
U.S. Grant Death Day Commemoration
Saturday, July 23, 2022
The Sons of Union Veterans Ulysses S. Grant Camp #68, in partnership with Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, performed a death commemoration ceremony to mark the 136th anniversary of President Grant’s passing. The program included speeches, a wreath laying ceremony, and a 21-gun salute. .
Grant's World Tour Summer Concert Series
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Last updated: November 30, 2022