The Frank and Virginia Williams Chair for Abraham Lincoln and Civil War Studies will be a faculty position within the University Libraries. Tenure will reside within the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, as the Chair will be filled by a nationally recognized historian of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. The Chair will be responsible for managing the Williams Collection of Lincolniana, ensuring and facilitating smooth department operations including reference, collection development, acquisitions and accession, description, digitization and storage of the collection as well as curatorial responsibilities related to the exhibits of the Frank and Virginia Williams Gallery. The Chair will assist with the ongoing development of the Frank and Virginia Williams Lecture Series on Abraham Lincoln and Civil War Studies. The Chair will be expected to ensure courses have been developed in their academic area of specialty utilizing the Williams Collection, in concert with History Department, African American Studies Program, or other academic units.
The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana represents a lifetime of collecting documents, books, artifacts, ephemera, philately, numismatics, paintings, and statuary related to the life of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in general. Frank Williams began his collection as a child and has added to it all his life. The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection vividly documents his life and collecting activities. In 2017, Frank and Virginia Williams donated their Lincolniana Collection to Mississippi State University.
The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection is accompanied by the Claude Simmonds Collection, which contains clippings of twentieth-century newspaper, magazine, and journal articles that reference Lincoln. The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection also includes several other smaller collections featuring original manuscripts; of note is the Abraham Lincoln Original Manuscript Collection which contains numerous original letters and legal documents written by Abraham Lincoln. Other manuscript collections include: the McCorison Collection, Carl Schurz Collection, R.L. Hoxie Correspondence Collection, Bernhardt Wall Collection, Peleq Clarke Jr. Collection, and others. Finding aids for these manuscript collections are available online in the MSU Libraries’ ArchivesSpace system.