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LOWELL- The Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center advisory board has named Chelmsford resident Michael Pierson, a history professor at UMass Lowell, the Scholar in the City for 2003.
Pierson will be performing extensive research on Benjamin Butler, perhaps Lowell's best-known 19th century figure.
Butler was a union officer who became infamous throughout the South during the Civil War before returning home to assume the state's highest office, governor of Massachusetts.
"Butler was widely hated in the South; he was widely controversial for his occupations of Southern cities during the war," says Pierson. "Almost all experts on that era have an opinion on Benjamin Butler, mostly negative."
Pierson plans to incorporate his research into a book on unionism in New Orleans. The $2,500 Scholar in the City award will enable him to research at the Library of Congress in Washington, studying Butler's personal papers.
The Scholar in the City program is sponsored by the Lowell National Historical Park in partnership with UMass Lowell.