“BY THE DIRECTIONS OF MY FATHER, I SEND YOU THIS BOOK”: EXCEEDINGLY RARE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF GRANT’S MEMOIRS, INSCRIBED AFTER HIS DEATH & PRIOR TO PUBLICATION BY HIS SON FREDERICK TO A PROMINENT FRIEND AND SUPPORTER OF HIS FATHER
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, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt.
First edition, exceptionally rare presentation/association copy of “one of the most valuable writings by a military commander in history,” inscribed by Frederick Grant five months after his father’s death to a New York merchant who was a Presidential Elector in Grant’s 1872 election and a powerful, “conscientious and devoted admirer” of Grant. Dated seven days before publication, Frederick Grant writes in Volume I: “With the affectionate regards of the author to Oliver Hoyt, Esq. By the directions of my father, I send you this book with the above note, F.D. Grant, New York City, Dec-3-1885.”
This exceptionally rare presentation/association copy of Grant’s Personal Memoirs is inscribed by his son Frederick D. Grant five months after his father’s death. Frederick, who as a young boy of thirteen had accompanied his father to his famous first meeting in Washington with President Lincoln (Grant “arrived in a simple army coat, shorn of rank,” and, unrecognized as commander of the Union armies, was at first given a modest room at the Willard Hotel), accompanied his father off and on at several campaigns during the war, including Vicksburg. A graduate of West Point in 1871, Frederick served with Sheridan on the Yellowstone Expedition and was with Custer on the Black Hills Expedition. Having resigned from the army in 1881, Frederick was at his father’s side throughout the long months of his struggle with cancer, and, along with Mark Twain and Adam Badeau, aided in the preparation and compilation of his father’s Memoirs. “Over the final months of his father’s life, Fred Grant would not only prove to be an indispensable researcher, an adept historian, and an accomplished editor, he would lead his father through the pain-wracked days when writing seemed impossible. When Grant seemed at the edge of despair, when the pain of his illness threatened to undo his work, when visitors, family friends, and reporters pressed in on him, it was the ever patient Fred who diverted their attention and allowed his father to work… Badeau and Fred served as Grant’s researchers, secretaries, fact checkers, critics and readers” and worked closely with Twain on the project. It was Fred who had broken the news to Twain earlier that his father was dying of throat cancer, and it was Fred who at one point asked Twain to give his father some positive encouragement about his work as “he feared that his writing was not that good” (Twain later recounted “I was as much surprised as Columbus’ cook would have been to learn that Columbus wanted his opinion as to how Columbus was doing his navigating”). Grant finished his Memoirs on July 19th, 1885. Fred, along with the rest of his family, was at Grant’s side when he died on July 23rd (Perry, Grant and Twain).
The following December Frederick inscribed this pre-publication copy of his father’s Memoirs seven days before “the first volume of the book was published on December 10, 1885” to Oliver Corse Hoyt, a prominent New York merchant and financier who served as a Presidential Elector in Grant’s 1872 re-election, casting “his vote for Grant, of whom he was a conscientious and devoted admirer.” Later, Hoyt was a trustee of a fund of $250,000. that had was raised by private subscription in 1881 for the benefit of Grant and his family, to insure the General an income for the remainder of his life. A longtime resident of Connecticut, Hoyt “served three terms as Senator in the Connecticut legislature… [and] in 1878 he was Chairman of the Joint Special Committee on Federal Relations” (New York Times). Hoyt died suddenly in 1887, two years after the death of Grant.
An extraordinary presentation copy of one of the greatest military accounts ever written. “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. With bookplates of recipient Oliver Corse Hoyt.
Text and plates fresh and clean, Volume I with corner of front free endpaper expertly reattached, expert reinforcement half title. Some light wear to boards and spine heads.