[pg. 15] GRANT FAMILY PAPERS *** A large collection of Grant family papers, covering three generations, assembled by the late Major General Ulysses S. Grant 3rd, has been presented to the Ulysses S. Grant Association by his three daughters: Mrs. John S. Dietz, Mrs. David W. Griffiths, and Mrs. Paul Ruestow. This collection, now sorted, processed, and inventoried, is available for research at the Grant Association offices in Morris Library, Southern Illinois University.
Between 1920 and 1960 General Grant 3rd gave to the Library of Congress a large quantity of the papers of his grandfather, President Grant, apparently representing almost everything of this nature in his possession. The collection given to the Grant Association contains only a handful of letters to and from President Grant. Throughout his adult life, however, General Grant 3rd maintained an extensive correspondence with biographers, scholars, and other persons interested in his grandfather, and a wide circle of friends sent him clippings, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous information. This material has been placed in sixteen boxes (three inches wide) with the correspondence first and the miscellaneous material arranged in eighty subject files. Also in this category are Grant family manuscripts, including a typescript of Julia Dent Grant’s unpublished memoirs, a typescript of a brief unpublished diary kept by President Grant during his trip around the world, and articles and speeches by General Grant 3rd, along with a corrected typescript of his book, Ulysses S. Grant: Warrior and Statesman.
[pg. 16] The smallest body of materials for these three generations, though perhaps the most important, consists of papers of Frederick Dent Grant (1850-1912), oldest son of President Grant, and his wife, Ida Honoré Grant. Six boxes consist almost entirely of correspondence, and the correspondents include William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, John A. Logan, John Sherman, Grenville M. Dodge, Samuel L. Clemens, and others of great Importance in the Grant story. While many of the earliest letters are of value chiefly for the light they shed on his father’s career, later documents deal with Frederick Grant’s own services as minister to Austria-Hungary (1889-93), as New York City police commissioner (1895-97), and as brigadier and major general during the Spanish-American War and later (1898-1912).
Seventeen larger boxes (twelve inches wide) contain the papers of General Grant 3rd (1881-1968). The bulk of the early material deals with his long service in the U. S. Army. After graduating from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in 1903, he served in the Philippines (1903-04), Cuba (1906), and along the Mexican border,(19l3-l7). In 1918 he went to France with the American section of the Supreme War Council. After the war he served at various engineering commands in the U. S. until assigned as director of public buildings and grounds in Washington, D. C., (1926-33). He returned to Washington in 1942 as chief of the protection branch of the Office of Civilian Defense and was closely associated with the city for the rest of his life. Most of the military material in the collection consists of printed items, and more than half relate to civil defense in World War II.
Following his retirement from the army in 1945, General Grant 3rd took a more active role in commemorative and patriotic organizations, though his
[pg. 17] memberships often dated back many years. Some of the most extensive bodies of papers for the later years concern the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies. Two boxes of papers deal with his role as chairman of the U. S. Civil War Centennial Commission (1957-61). Additional sizeable bodies of papers deal with civic, historical, and patriotic groups in Washington.
The Grant Association received assistance in sorting and arranging the collection from three graduate students in history at Southern Illinois University: Margaret Dwight, Ralph Friederich, and Dennis O’Connor. Dolly Springer, a graduate student in philosophy, prepared a detailed inventory, copies of which are available on request from the Grant Association. Requests for permission to use the collection should be addressed to Ralph G. Newman, 18 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, Ill., 60611.
THE GRANT SESQUICENTENNIAL *** Events planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant (April 21, 1822) include a dinner at the Chicago Public Library on April 21 jointly sponsored by the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, the Illinois Special Events Commission, and the Friends of the Chicago Public Library, at which T. Harry Williams, Louisiana State University, will speak on “Grant as President.” *** In Carbondale, the Friends of Morris Library of Southern Illinois University plan a commemorative dinner for April 19 and a Grant exhibition in the library. *** In Springfield, the Illinois State Historical Library will open a Grant exhibition on April 27. ***
[pg. 18] Also on April 27, the National Park Service will conduct a ceremony at the General Grant National Memorial In New York City. Ralph G. Newman and John Y. Simon will speak. *** Jerome L. Orton, Wilton, N. Y., of the New York Department, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, has organized a ceremony for May 7 at Mount McGregor, the site of Grant’s death. Congressman Hamilton Fish, descendant of Grants secretary of state, will be the principal speaker. *** On April 27, the Guyer-Bateman chapter of the Daughters of the Union will conduct a ceremony at the statue of Grant in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. The Dames of the Loyal Legion will then hold a reception in the War Library and Museum of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. Mrs. Sara Binder Moore of Philadelphia has organized both events. *** E. B. Long. University of Wyoming, will speak on Grant at Claremont College, Claremont, Calif., in April. Orme W. Phelps and John Niven of Claremont will participate in the program. *** Judge Harold D. Nichols is chairman of the Ulysses S. Grant Commemorative Committee which plans four days of events, April 27-30, in the region where Grant was born and raised. At Point Pleasant, where Grant was born, ceremonies are scheduled for April 27 and 30. In between, parades and banquets are scheduled for nearby Georgetown and Bethel, the other homes of the Grant family in southeastern Ohio. Local historical societies and the Ohio Historical Society will participate in this commemoration. *** At Wright State University, Dayton, Carl M. Becker has organized a Grant symposium for May 5-6. Participants are Roger D. Bridges, Illinois State Historical Library; Robert G. Hartje, Wittenberg University; John T. Hubbell, Kent State University; James I. Robertson, Jr., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Grady McWhiney, Wayne State [pg. 19] University; Allan Peskin, Cleveland State University; and John Y. Simon. *** Southern Illinois University Press will commemorate the Grant sesquicentennial with the publication of Volume 4 of The Papers of U1ysses S. Grant. This volume covers the period January 8-March 31, 1862, during which Grant demonstrated in Kentucky in January, campaigned against Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February, and had difficulties with General Halleck in March. The closing date coincides with the official transfer of his headquarters from Savannah, Tenn., to Pittsburg Landing, one week before the Confederates attacked at Shiloh.
John A. Carpenter, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1970, Pp. 217. $4.95)
Reviewed by Thomas G. Alexander
Brigham Young University
A reconsideration of the administration of Ulysses S. Grant was long overdue. For too long, historians have relied upon the emotional barbs of Henry Adams and the rather skillful use of limited sources by William B. Hesseltine. This has led to spicy lectures but made impossible a careful assessment of the man who dominated the American scene during Reconstruction. Carpenter has shown, however, that, though the Grant administration’s record is not unblemished, there were some substantial gains in financial and foreign affairs, new directions in Indian policy, and impermanent but notable efforts in civil service reform.
The bulk of the book is devoted to the presidency. The discussion of the pre-war and Civil War period adds little to the work of Lloyd Lewis and Bruce Catton, but in his treatment of the post-war period, Carpenter breaks new ground. In fact, though many questions remain unanswered–
[pg. 20] perhaps because of the relatively short space allowed by the Twayne Rulers and Statesmen of the World format–the book is undoubtedly the best study of the administration yet done.
One question which needs further study is that of Grant’s personality and erudition. The image which Carpenter portrays of Grant is much at variance with that which emerges from Grant’s writings. The belief that he felt uneasy around men like Sumner or Motley is questionable and is largely attributable to Adam Badeau who projected himself as Grant’s mentor on intellectual and cultural matters. Actually he appeared shy around most people whom he did not know well or with whose point of view he disagreed. A West Point education was among the best offered in the United States at the time, and Grant was a man of clear thought and subtle wit. Grant enjoyed reading and spent many hours reading to himself and to his wife and family. He was a man who preferred to work out problems alone or in company with a few personal advisors, whose suggestions he accepted or rejected as they conformed to his own assessments. The weak spots in his character were not intellectual, but emotional. As Carpenter has rightly pointed out, Grant was inordinately loyal and blind to the faults of close friends. He also admired and sought the approval of men of wealth like Alexander T. Stewart and Adolph E. Bone. He was, in short, a multi-dimensional man, much more complex than the character who emerges from Carpenter’s writing.
Nevertheless, the study has a great deal to commend it, and ought to replace less adequate treatments as standard on the presidency of this complex and interesting man.