Landmark Books in All Fields
ItemID: #118936
Cost: $9,200.00

Shoulder Strap Set

Mark Twain


(SHOULDER STRAP SET) GRANT, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs. WITH: MCCLELLAN, George B. McClellan's Own Story. WITH: CRAWFORD, Samuel Wylie. The Genesis of the Civil War. The Story of Sumter. WITH: CUSTER, Elizabeth B. Tenting on the Plains, or General Custer in Kansas and Texas. WITH: (HANCOCK, A.R.). Reminiscences. WITH: SHERIDAN, P.H. Personal Memoirs. WITH: SHERMAN, W.T. Memoirs. New York: Charles L. Webster, 1885-92. WITH: BADEAU, Adam. Grant in Peace. Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers, 1888. Eleven volumes altogether. Octavo, original green cloth, gilt medallions on front boards, "shoulder strap" design to spines. $9200.

Complete Shoulder Strap set of seven Civil War histories printed by Twain's publishing house in its short-lived but impressive decade of operation, featuring Grant's Memoirs (1885-6), McClellan's Own Story (1887), Crawford's Genesis of the Civil War (1887), Custer's Tenting on the Plains (1889), Hancock's Reminiscences (1887), Sheridan's Personal Memoirs (1888), Sherman's Memoirs (1892)—as well as Adam Badeau's biography Grant in Peace (1888), not published by Webster but in a binding uniform with the rest of the set—each volume with the trademark gilt-decorated "shoulder strap" on the spine.

This exceptional eleven-volume "Shoulder Strap" series is named for each work's gilt-decorated spine band that evokes the stars on an officer's "shoulder strap." Featuring the finest of contemporary Civil War histories, this series pays tribute to Mark Twain's brief but impressive venture into publishing. In 1884 Twain joined with Charles Webster, who was married to Twain's niece, in an effort, at first, to publish "his own books, and he began successfully with Huckleberry Finn in 1885. Almost fortuitously he got the contract to publish U.S. Grant's Memoirs [1885-86]— a huge success… Other Civil War generals preparing their memoirs naturally hoped to appear with their great commander. McClellan's Own Story [1887] was arranged for without difficulty. A Genesis of the Civil War [1887] by General Samuel Crawford was offered and accepted. General Sheridan's Memoirs (1888)" soon followed (Paine, 831). This series also includes the posthumous Reminiscences of Union General Hancock (1887) written by his wife, Tenting on the Plains (1889) about General Custer, and concludes in 1892 with a revised edition of General Sherman's Memoirs. By then, however, any profits had been exhausted, and Twain's publishing house filed for bankruptcy in 1894. Most volumes first editions, with the "shoulder strap" editions of Tenting on the Plains (first published 1887) and Sherman's Memoirs (enlarged fourth edition, with revisions by Sherman, of the 1875 first edition). With frontispiece portraits, illustrated with numerous steel engravings and maps (many folding). Dornbusch II:1986; III:2428; II:2103. Eicher 539. Mullins & Reed 35. Nevins II:59; I:124. Coulter 35. Rader 1009. Eberstadt 105:101, 122:86. See Dornbusch II:2400. Bookplate in Badeau; owner signature in Grant's Memoirs, Volume II.

Endpapers of Sheridan's Memoirs tanned; front inner paper hinges of McClellan's Own Story, Volume II of Sherman's Memoirs and Tenting on the Plains tender, bindings sound; Tenting cloth with some discoloration. Interiors generally clean; minor rubbing to cloth extremities, cloth clean, gilt bright. Overall a desirable set, especially rare complete with the Hancock edition.

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