Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, First Edition, Two-Volume Set, Circa 1885-1886

Grant, Ulysses S., Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, New York: Charles L. Webster and Co., 1885-1886. Two volume set. Octavo, period ¾ brown leather and cloth bindings with gilt titles, raised bands, and strapwork four star embellished spines. Presented with a matching cloth slipcase.

This complete first edition, two-volume set of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs was published in 1885 and 1886, by Charles L. Webster and Company, New York. Volume I features a facsimile signature and inscription from Grant on the page adjacent to the copyright page. The inscription reads, “These volumes are dedicated to the American soldier and sailor…, New York City, May 23rd 1885.” The two volume set features engraved black and white illustrations, fold-out facsimile letters written by Grant, and forty-three maps.

Grant’s Memoirs recount his childhood and personal history, his military career during the Mexican-American War, and offer historical perspective to his role in the American Civil War. Mark Twain is partially credited with encouraging Grant’s memoirs, as he predicted the work to be a source of future financial success that would support Grant’s family after his death. Volume I was published posthumously in 1885, after Grant died in July of the same year.

Twain wrote in his personal autobiography of 1924: “I had been comparing the memoirs with Caesar's Commentaries… I placed the two books side by side on the same level.” Similarly, the book was applauded by individuals such as Gertrude Stein and Matthew Arnold during its time. “No Union list of personal narratives could possibly begin without the story of the victorious general. A truly remarkable work” (New York Times). “Grant’s memoirs comprise one of the most valuable writings by a military commander in history” (Eicher 492). For some time, Grant's work was overshadowed by his critics. However, today's scholars now recognize Grant as one of the most influential and progressive leaders the country has seen, especially given that he was elected during one of the most difficult times in American history. 

Grant’s Memoirs were originally sold door-to-door by former Union soldiers. The books became a common household staple in support of Grant and his family, who received 75% of the net royalties from the work and managed to re-establish their fortune.


Good condition. This two-volume set is presented in period ¾ brown leather and cloth bindings with gilt titles, raised bands, and strapwork four star embellished spines. Front boards feature original gilt stamps celebratory of both U.S. Grant and the Mississippi River. Internally, all maps and fold-outs are present. Some light foxing throughout. Minor bumping on boards and small chips to spine. The two-volume set is offered in a matching custom archival slipcase, which features a photograph of General Grant on the front cover with a facsimile gilt embossed signature. 

Dimensions (with slipcase): 9 3/4"H x 6 5/8"W x 4 3/8"D

Dimensions (each): 9 3/8"H x 6 1/2"W x 2 1/8"D

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