Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant
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A CLASSIC CIVIL WAR AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN PUBLISHER’S DELUXE FULL MOROCCO, PRESENTED BY GRANT’S ELDEST SON, WITH HIS SIGNATURE, FROM THE COLLECTION OF LEADING JOURNALIST AND NEWSPAPER EDITOR CHARLES ANDERSON DANA
GRANT, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. New York: Charles L. Webster, 1885-86. Two volumes. Octavo, original deluxe full brown morocco gilt, raised bands, circular blind-stamped medallions on front and rear covers, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. $6500.
First edition of the memoirs of one of the most recognized figures in American military history, illustrated with numerous steel engravings, facsimiles, and 43 maps, handsomely bound in scarce publisher’s deluxe full morocco. This copy inscribed by Grant’s eldest son, Frederick Dent Grant, on a tipped-in presentation card, “Sent by the directions of Genl. U.S. Grant [Grant’s rank and name printed] and with the compliments of his family, F.D. Grant.” From the estate of noted newspaper editor Charles Anderson Dana.
After an ineffectual term as president, ruined by bankruptcy and dying of throat cancer, Grant agreed to publish his memoirs to provide a measure of economic security for his family. Mark Twain agreed to serve as the publisher. Struggling to dictate his notes to a stenographer, Grant finished his memoirs shortly before his death in the summer of 1885. “It seemed to Twain, sitting quietly near him in his bedroom at Sixtieth Street, that Grant had fully regained the stature of a hero” (Kaplan, 273). “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). Dornbusch II:1986. Mullins & Reed 35. This copy bears a presentation card tipped-in to Volume I on the front free endpaper, inscribed and signed by Grant’s eldest son, Frederick Dent Grant. “A beneficiary of his father’s name, Grant displayed sufficient competence as soldier, diplomat, and government official to command respect from most contemporaries” (ANB). This copy formerly belonging to Charles Anderson Dana, noted journalist and newspaper editor. After his departure from the Chicago Tribune, “Secretary of War Edwin Stanton asked Dana to enter the service of the War Department ‘at once… Stanton was actually sending Dana to Vicksburg, where he would be secretly charged with the task of spying on Major General Ulysses S. Grant, the controversial hero of Shiloh and Fort Donelson. Impressed with the quality of Dana’s telegraphic dispatches, Stanton appointed him assistant secretary of war in the summer of 1863. Throughout the remainder of the war, Dana served an important role as mediator between General Grant, Secretary of War Stanton, and President Abraham Lincoln. Relaying the general’s views and defending his actions when necessary, the erstwhile editor became not only a major player on the national stage but also a journalist of potentially great importance to the Republican party.” After the war, Dana purchased the New York Sun, which became consistently anti-Grant shortly after the president’s inauguration in March 1869. Republican officials found the Sun’s attacks on the president and his cabinet to be particularly deplorable because they had anticipated that Dana would run his paper in the interest of their party. At the height of its popularity, approximately 1870 to 1884, the Sun had the largest circulation of any morning daily in the city. Noted for its urbanity, its concise reporting, and its deft use of language, the New York Sun set standards for a generation of journalists—and invented one of the most widely quoted definitions of news: ‘When a dog bites a man, that is not news, but when a man bites a dog, that is news” (ANB).
Interiors fine. Mild rubbing to joints and edges of handsome publisher’s morocco-gilt. An excellent copy, about-fine, desirable inscribed by Grant’s son, with a distinguished provenance.