ECW is pleased to welcome back our friend, Dr. Curt Fields. Curt is nationally known for his acclaimed portrayal of Ulysses S. Grant. This week, he reflects on some of the highlights of his career thus far. (part seven of seven)
It is important to emphasize how my experience of portraying Ulysses S. Grant, has changed my perspective on him and history.
I have come to realize how much his presence is still strongly felt across our history even unto this day and how important history and our knowledge of it is so necessary in our existence as a nation. It impressed upon me the import of properly portraying the man and how, in doing so, how much the man has impacted me.
A final thought to convey to other Living Historians or anyone thinking about becoming a first-person presenter of a figure in history: if portraying a person in history, learn about and do that person as well as possible. Among the people attending events and seeing your presentations will be those who have little to no awareness of your character. Therefore, you will be the introduction of your character to some people.
You may create the spark in some people to want to learn more about the person you portray.
However, be careful of what you want—getting it just may change you.
It did me….
Here are a few additional bits of info about Curt and his work portraying Ulysses S. Grant:
I am a body-double for General Grant, being 5′ 8″ tall and weighing 150 pounds.
I am on the web at: generalgrantbyhimself.com
I am also on Facebook at:
- Curt Fields (as General Ulysses S. Grant)
- Captain Grant: The Desperate Years
- President Grant By Himself
- Grant: Unconditional Surrender
- Grant and Twain: The Men and the Memoirs
- Appomattox: The last 48 Hours
YouTube channel: General Grant By Himself by Dr. E. C. Fields
I was the official General Grant for the Sesquicentennial celebrations of:
- Fort Donelson
Furthermore, I had the honors of:
- (with Thomas Jessee as General Lee) on C-Span2 live for an interview following the surrender ceremony at Appomattox for the 150th of the surrender in 2015;
- being featured, with Mike Rowe, on the Discovery Channel’s three-part series “How Booze Built America” that has been distributed world-wide (a friend in New Zealand and another in Australia told me they saw it there);
- appearing as General Grant on the National Geographic Television series “Diggers”;
- featured as General Grant in the Visitors Center films shown at Appomattox National Historic Park;
- and the Dover Hotel in Fort Donelson National Battlefield;
featured on four national magazine covers (see below);
- being the only Living Historian to be featured on two national magazine covers at the same time and for the same event: the Appomattox 150th in 2015 (pictured: “The Banner” and “The Camp Chase Gazette”);
- being selected as the official Grant for the U. S. Grant Boyhood Home Association in Georgetown, Ohio;
- portraying President Grant for the opening and dedication of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University on November 30th, 2017;
- portraying General Grant at West Point (at the USMA request) in January of 2019, to kick off their ‘semester of Grant’ celebration prior to erecting a statue of him on the plain, April 25th, 2019;
- performing (with Thomas Jessee as General Lee) the two-man presentation “Appomattox: The Last 48 Hours” on the front porch of the McLean house, April 13th, 2019, for the 154th anniversary
- having the limit for a personal page on Facebook of 5000 friends
as of June 25th, 2019, my Facebook posts have received more than half a million (520,000) ‘likes’!
- featured by the American Battlefield Trust website as General Grant describing his life in the ‘Civil War in Four Minutes’ 1IN4 series
- Portrayed President Grant for the incoming Freshman class orientation at Mississippi State University, August 2019
- Portrayed General Grant for the Ulysses S. Grant (virtual) Symposium 2020
- Portrayed President Grant for the state of Ohio (The Ohio Historical Connection)
For more on Curt’s work, check out the ECW Podcast/YouTube video with Curt, or read about the “Fridays with Grant” series sponsored by the Civil War Roundtable Congress. And, of course, you can find Curt on the web on the web at generalgrantbyhimself.com.