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Ulysses Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant; Full Calfskin Publisher’s Presentation Set

An Unusual State for Grant’s Masterpiece


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Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, in the publisher’s full calfskin leather presentation binding, with marbled endsheets and edges.

Written as Grant was dying of cancer in 1885, the two-volume set was published by Charles L. Webster Company (Mark Twain’s firm) shortly after Grant’s death. This is one of three original states for the first edition, and the most difficult to find in very good condition or better.

Twain created a unique marketing system designed to reach millions of veterans with a patriotic appeal just as Grant’s death was being mourned. Ten thousand agents canvassed the North, following a script Twain had devised; many were themselves veterans who dressed in their old uniforms. They sold 350,000 two-volume sets at prices from $3.50 to $12 (depending on the binding). Each copy contained what looked like a handwritten note from Grant himself–a note that vexes booksellers to this day. In the end, Grant’s widow Julia received about $450,000.

Still in print today, it is considered the gold standard of the memoir genre and is considered by many as the finest memoir of any of our presidents, rivaled only by Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe. 

Volume I lightly chipped with small strips of leather (1 inch or less) beginning to fray and peel; Light chipping of spine label; light stain on edge of spine; boards beginning to warp, as is common with the calfskin edition. Volume II same as I, except with significant fraying of leather on front board with 2” loss; fraying at top of rear board but without loss; significant water stains on spine; spine lightly scuffed; light chipping of extremities; else set very good.

Grant, U. S. PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF U.S. GRANT. New York: 1885. 1st edition, 2 vols., frontispiece, illus., maps. In publisher’s full calfskin leather presentation binding with marbled endsheets.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 12 × 12 in