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. Two volume set. Octavo, beautifully rebound in quarter green leather and cloth boards, with an archival matching slipcase.

Offered is a two-volume set of the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. Published in 1885-1886, this set includes a facsimile signature and inscription from Grant in volume I. The inscription reads, “These volumes are dedicated to the American soldier and sailor…” and is dated May 23, 1885 exactly two months before Grant passed away. Forty-three maps, wood engravings, and fold-out facsimile letters written by Grant are included throughout the volumes. The books have been professionally rebound in quarter green Moroccan leather and cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt tooling and titles to the spine, and are housed in a custom built matching slipcase. 

Grant’s Memoirs recount his own childhood and personal history, his military career during the Mexican-American War, and 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. The work was published posthumously in 1885, after Grant died in July of the same year.

The general public became aware of Grant’s worsening illness in the early part of 1885. His attempt to finish the written work before his death drew even more attention to the book. 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 never went out of print, and 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. In two volumes. Beautifully restored and rebound. Quarter green leather and cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt tooling, and gilt titles to the spine, new marbled endpapers. Paper is good, with toning as to be expected. Scattered spots, the most prevalent on engraved frontispiece illustrations. Illustrated with engraved frontispiece portraits, illustrations, maps, and facsimile letters, several as fold-outs. 

With a new custom archival cloth slipcase with inlay of Sherman’s portrait on the front.

Book Dimensions: 9 1/4"H x 6 1/4"W x 2"D (Vol I). 9 1/4"H x 6 1/4"W x 2 1/4" (Vol II). Slipcase Dimensions: 9 7/8" H x 6 5/8" W x 4 5/8" D. 

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