RARE VINTAGE CIVIL WAR CARTE-DE-VISITE OF ULYSSES S. GRANT IN UNIFORM, BOLDLY SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY HIM AS LIEUTENANT GENERAL, FROM A PORTRAIT TAKEN AT THE WASHINGTON D.C. STUDIO OF FAMED CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHER ALEXANDER GARDNER
(GRANT, Ulysses S.) GARDNER, Alexander. Carte-de-visite photograph inscribed. Washington, D.C.: Philp & Solomons, circa 1864. Vintage albumen print (2-1/4 by 3-1/4 inches) mounted on stiff ivory card stock (total 2-1/2 by 4 inches), signed below the image on the print, photographer's studio imprint and blue two-cent tax stamp on mount verso. $12,000.
Rare Civil War carte-de-visite portrait of Ulysses S. Grant in uniform, circa 1864, boldly signed by him "U.S. Grant, Lt. Gen. U.S.A." below his image on the mounted vintage albumen print, from a photograph taken at the Washington D.C. studio of famed Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner.
Grant's inscription, "Lt. Gen. U.S.A.," establishes the date of this carte-de-visite as after March 9, 1864 (Simpson, 457). It was then that Lincoln gathered his cabinet "to witness something that had occurred only once before in the history of the republic. As soon as everyone had arrived, Lincoln presented Ulysses S. Grant with his commission as a lieutenant general. Only Washington had risen to that rank in the U.S. Army before him" (Civil War Times Magazine). As Grant was rarely in the capital, returning only briefly to outline his plans to Lincoln, this photographic portrait may well have been taken very soon afterward. The mount verso features the Washington D.C. studio imprint of renowned Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner, which he opened in 1863. By that time Gardner was "arguably the most talented and ambitious photographer working in America. If Brady had perhaps conceived the grand idea of an epic documentation of the Civil War, it was Gardner who actually executed it" (Photography and the American Civil War, 81). "Gardner is credited with three-fourths of the photographs of the Army of the Potomac, and his name is associated with some of the most famous Civil War photos, including Lincoln at Antietam, Lincoln's last photographic portrait, and the picture of the hanging of Lincoln's assassination conspirators" (Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, 814). Elson, Civil War Through The Camera.
Only very lightest soiling, tiny contemporary ink smudge just above the "t" in Grant's signature. A fine signed print.