AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY: PRESIDENT ULYSSES S. GRANT’S COPY OF YOUNG’S LABOR IN EUROPE AND AMERICA, 1875 FIRST EDITION
(GRANT, Ulysses S.) YOUNG, Edward. Labor in Europe and America: a Special Report on the Rates of Wages, the Cost of Subsistence, and the Condition of the Working Classes in Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and other Countries of Europe; also in the United States and British America. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1875. Octavo, original three-quarter purple pebbled morocco, “The President of the United States” lettered in gilt at foot of spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $5500.
First edition, association copy belonging to President Ulysses S. Grant, inscribed to him while in office by the author on the front flyleaf: “His Excellency the President of the United States, with the respectful compliments of the Author,” and lettered on the spine in gilt “The President of the United States.”
Edward Young, chief of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, presented Grant with this copy of Labor in Europe and America less than two years after the Panic of 1873 devastated the nation. Warning signs of the crash included a degenerative alliance of politics and business that shook public confidence in government, agricultural exports devalued by depressed European markets reeling from the Franco-Prussian War and stock exchange crash in Vienna, a large trade deficit, and unsettled currency. Published in 1875 and reprinted periodically thereafter, Young’s work provided statistical information regarding employment, production, housing, and education of the working classes at home and abroad. Various treasury secretaries later incorporated pertinent demographics from Young’s work into official communiqués. The bureau chief had gathered considerable data, via correspondence, interviews, surveys, and personal observation, while traveling throughout the United States and Europe where he had attended the 1872 International Statistical Congress in Petersburg.
Although American workers’ mortgages, rents, food prices, and wages had declined only slightly between 1870 and 1874, Young reported that unemployment had soared to 14 percent, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without jobs. He noted that in some urban centers like New York City where unemployment reached as high as 30 percent, many jobless workers lived in “crowded tenement-houses, under conditions which are favorable neither to health, comfort, nor decency.” However, Young concluded that the somber economic picture negligibly impacted the majority of Americans who occupied “comfortable homes,” enjoyed “good common-school education for their children, and possessed a degree of [extraordinary] personal independence,” especially as compared with European “labor forces.”
Interior clean and fine. Spine sunned, discoloration and wear to cloth covers. A near-fine copy of this important early statistical-economical compilation, with an excellent Presidential association.