Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Two-Volume Set, 1885-86

Grant, Ulysses S., Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, New York: Charles L. Webster and Co., 1885-1886. First Edition, Later Printing. Octavo. Two volume set.  Rebound in quarter leather and cloth boards and  housed in a custom-built matching archival slipcase.

This complete two-volume set of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs was published in 1885 and 1886 by Charles L. Webster and Company, in New York.  This is a first edition, later printing set. Volume I features a facsimile signature and dedication 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.” This two-volume printing features engraved black and white illustrations, fold-out facsimile letters written by Grant, and forty-three maps. The set has been professionally rebound in quarter leather and cloth boards. The volumes are housed in a custom-built matching archival slipcase.

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. The books were sold in multiple formats, ranging in price from $3.50 to $12.00 when first sold.


Very good condition. Two volumes. Boards have been professionally rebound in 1⁄4 green leather and cloth, with raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt stamps to the spine, with new endpapers. The internal pages are original and in very good condition, save some light toning and occasional foxing marks.

The two volumes are housed together in a new custom archival slipcase, with a portrait of Grant inlaid on the front and Grant’s facsimile signature embossed in gilt.  Book Dimensions: 9 1/2" H x 6 1/2" W x 2 1/8" D. Slipcase Dimensions: 10" H x 6 3/4" W x 4 1/2" D. 

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