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National archivist visits Mississippi State

September 26, 2011

From SDN staff reports

During his visit to Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library on Monday, U.S. Archivist David Ferreiro came bearing gifts for the library’s Special Collections.
Ferreiro presented MSU President Mark E. Keenum copies of the late U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis’ original Senate credentials that the late MSU alumnus presented to U.S. Senate president pro tempore Kenneth McKellar in 1947 to begin his tenure after the death of U.S. Sen. Theodore Bilbo. Before delivering the Morris H.W. “Bill” Collins Lecture in the MSU Library later in the day, Ferreiro presented MSU Provost Jerry Gilbert copies of the separation papers of the late Collins, the first scholar to hold the John C. Stennis Chair in Political Science at Mississippi State and a decorated U.S. Navy veteran.
The archivist left with some treasures of his own, including an official MSU cowbell from Keenum and a number of gifts from the MSU Libraries and the Grant Collection — including the 31st volume of the Grant Papers that was produced since MSU took possession of the Grant Collection.
During his lecture, Ferreiro spoke about the challenges of secrecy and Democracy and of the difficulty between making records available to the public and at the same time protecting national security. The archivist directs the National Archives and all that agency’s assets across the nation, including 13 presidential libraries.
The National Archives as over 12 billion records, including 40 million photographs. Ferreiro stressed that the holdings grow despite having only 2-3 percent of government documents archived. He pointed to the grown in electronic records by noting while the Clinton administration generated some 20 million email messages, the second Bush administration generated 40 million emails.
Speaking to students, Ferreiro paid deference to the impact of social media.
“I want the National Archives to be the government leader in social media,” he said.
Appointed the 10th U.S. Archivist in 2009 by President Obama, Ferreiro toured the Ulysses S. Grant Collection housed in the Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU. Ferreiro is the first librarian ever to hold the post. He is the former director of the New York Public Libraries and also directed libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University.
A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, Ferreiro was honored with a luncheon in the MSU Library’s Grisham Room before delivering the Collin Lecture, the first of the lecture series for the 2011-12 school year. Those attending the luncheon included Hank T. Holmes, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and longtime former Director Elbert Hilliard.
Ferreiro was given an extensive tour of the MSU Library, including the Grant Collection, the Mississippi Congressional and Political Research Center, and other library assets.
The Collins Lecture Series is sponsored by the MSU Libraries, the Mississippi Congressional and Political Research Center, the Stennis Institute of Government, the Stennis Center for Public Service and the Stennis-Montgomery Association.

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