Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Salesman’s Sample


The Salesman’s Sample for Grant’s Memoirs

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Offering the Salesman’s Sample for U.S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. This is the book carried by the thousands of salesmen travelling the country to sell this successful memoir.

Included are the two engraved frontispieces, a few other full-page illustrations,  Grant’s Preface,  and sampling of various chapters from the two volumes. This is followed by blank pages for noting the subscribers to the set, with place for the names, addresses, and number of volumes purchased. The inside front board has spine samples of the dark leather and tan editions, while the inside rear board has the samples in green cloth we see with the trade edition. Each spine design bears the famous shoulder strap that marks the set. Quite uncommon and quite a catch for someone!

Tipped in the sample book are three printed sheets that offer a glimpse into the sales and production process of the set. The first (June 30, 1885) contains a letter from Charles Webster written to Grant explaining that there are “mischievous books” that are titled to mislead the public into thinking they are purchasing the true memoirs written by Grant. Below that, is a printed reply from Grant (July 1, 1885). The second July 1, 1885) is titled “To Our Agents and the Public” being a letter, signed by Webster in type, further amplifying the extent of the fraud being perpetrated by “scheming publishers” and “unprincipled booksellers” who, by their deception, snatch “the budding fruit (i.e. royalties) of hard-earned toil from (Grant).” The third (July 30, 1885) is titled “The Book Is Finished” (meaning volume 2). It states “the complete manuscript of both volumes had been delivered to us” and explains some of the changes in page and chapter numbers. Through the date on the last sheet it can be seen that this sample book was produced very close to Grant’s death-indeed only three days before his passing.

QUITE SCARCE, especially with the added printed instruction sheets for the salesmen.  Very good; two small spots on the rear cover. 

(Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant) SALESMAN’S SAMPLE BOOK, for the 2-volume “Shoulder Strap” set of U. S. Grant’s PERSONAL MEMOIRS…..  NY:  Charles Webster, 1885  


About The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant…..

Written as Grant was dying of cancer in 1885, the two-volume set was published by Charles L. Webster and Company shortly after Grant’s death. This is one of three states for the original first edition, at once the most common and the most sought after by collectors.

Each copy includes what looked like a handwritten note from Grant himself; a note that vexes booksellers to this day.

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.

Finished by July 20, 1885, three days before his painful death, these books are ranked as among the finest memoirs from any U. S. president.  Published in 1885-6, the initial printing of 200,000 of two octavo volumes were sold only by subscription.

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