We can’t fool you! You know that the answer to the question “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?” It’s Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States.
But the answer to the question “Who signed Grant’s memoirs?” is a little trickier.
After he left office, Grant fell on hard times and lost his fortune to corrupt politicians and sleazy businessmen. Faced with cancer and watching his finances dwindle, he decided to write and publish the story of his life and military career so that his family wouldn’t be left completely penniless.
Grant’s memoirs became immediate bestsellers and have never been out of print since they were first published in the fall of 1886. The publisher was Mark Twain, who described Grant’s work as, “The best [memoirs] of any general’s since Caesar.”
The two-volume set bears the inscription “These volumes are dedicated to the American soldier and sailor” followed by the signature “U.S. Grant.” A common set, in great condition, is valued at about $350.00.
$350.00 for a Presidential signature? What’s up with that?
Here’s the “inside story”…
The President’s signature appears on the front flyleaf of each published edition. But although Grant finished the manuscript before his death, Twain didn’t publish it until after the President was gone.
The signature in every volume is not really a signature at all. It’s a “facsimile signature” that was printed right along with the book.
Documents actually signed by Grant are valuable. A rare telegram from Grant to General William T. Sherman, about preparations for the march to the sea, sold for $14,000. (Now that’s more like it!)