Every so often I come across a really special item. Today's post features one such piece--the two-volume, first edition of first edition of U.S. Grant's Personal Memoirs (link to related eBay auctions.)
What makes this two-volume set, printed in 1885 by Charles L. Webster & Company, so much more than another antique book is the ephemera that Grant thoughtfully provided to support the text, including a multi-page facsimile of General Buckner's dispatch containing the terms of the South's capitulation (shown). The back-and-forth, handwritten document contains Grant's replies and Buckner's answers--all reproduced from Grant's original documents.
That's not all. Grant also includes a facsimile copy of Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Additionally, the book contains detailed maps and other items. These days, due to the high printing costs, it's very rare to see ephemera of this type included in a book. The publishing industry just can afford to make a book the way they did in Grant's day.
Here's the really interesting part of the story: In this particular copy of Grant's memoirs, the original owner, who'd signed and dated the flyleaf '1885,' inserted two Western Union telegrams dated 1897. The telegrams places the book's owner in Ocean City, NJ. The book eventually made its way to Charlotte, NC, where it was held in the private library of a prominent school administrator--from whose estate I purchased the set.