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Collection Ulysses S. Grant Papers

About this Collection

The papers of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), army officer and eighteenth president of the United States, contain approximately 50,000 items dating from 1819-1974, with the bulk falling in the period 1843-1885. They include general and family correspondence, speeches, writings, reports, messages, military records, financial and legal records, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and other papers.  The collection relates to Grant's service in the Mexican War and Civil War, his pre-Civil War career, and his postwar service as U.S. secretary of war ad interim under President Andrew Johnson, his 1868 presidential campaign and two-term presidency, his unsuccessful 1880 presidential bid, and his extensive travels and financial difficulties. The collection also includes the manuscript draft of his Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, correspondence and memoirs of his wife Julia Dent Grant (1826-1902), and a galley proof of the biography Ulysses S. Grant: Warrior and Statesman (1969) by his grandson Ulysses S. Grant III.

Notable correspondents include Orville Elias Babcock, William W. Belknap, John Armor Bingham, George S. Boutwell, Ambrose Everett Burnside, Benjamin F. Butler, Varina Davis, Columbus Delano, Grenville Mellen Dodge, Frederick Douglass, Hamilton Fish, John Charles Frémont, Frederick Dent Grant, Julia Dent Grant, H. W. Halleck, Winfield Scott Hancock, Stephen Augustus Hurlbut, Andrew Johnson, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, John Alexander Logan, John A. McClernand, George Gordon Meade, John Singleton Mosby, Richard J. Oglesby, Edward Otho Cresap Ord, John Pope, David D. Porter, Horace Porter, John A. Rawlins, Matías Romero, William S. Rosecrans, John McAllister Schofield, Philip Henry Sheridan, William T. Sherman, Daniel Edgar Sickles, Edwin McMasters Stanton, Alfred Howe Terry, George Henry Thomas, Lorenzo Thomas, E. D. Townsend, E. B. Washburne, James Harrison Wilson, and John Russell Young.

The Index to the Ulysses S. Grant Papers (PDF and page view), created by the Manuscript Division in 1965 after the bulk of the collection was microfilmed, provides a full list of the correspondents and notes the series number and dates of the items indexed. This information is helpful in finding individual letters or documents in the online version. Additional letters received by the Library after 1965 are not listed in this index.

A current finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the Ulysses S. Grant Papers is available online with links to the digital content on this site.

Brief History of the Grant Papers

Ulysses S. Grant's papers were acquired by the Library of Congress by gift and purchase during the years 1904-2010. Efforts by the Library of Congress to assemble the Grant Papers began early in this century when Worthington C. Ford, chief of the Manuscript Division, reported in 1904 of learning of "some letter books of General Grant" in the White House, which he believed to be "the sole relic of any Presidential papers." Ten years later the letterbooks were placed in the Library of Congress at the request of Major U. S. Grant III, the president's grandson and namesake. Major Grant and his mother, Ida Honore Grant, had already deposited in the Manuscript Division the original manuscript of the Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant and a drawing made by Grant when a West Point cadet. In 1922, Ida Grant and her son deposited the drafts of Grant's first inaugural address and his reports on the Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns. The largest additions of original material came in 1953 and 1957 when Ulysses S. Grant III presented the headquarters records in two installments of seventy-five and thirty-six volumes, respectively. In 1960 he gave the Library more than three hundred of Grant's letters to his wife, Julia Dent Grant. Through additional gifts by members of the Grant family and by others and through purchase and photocopying, the Grant Papers have grown to approximately 50,000 manuscripts reproduced on fifty-two reels of microfilm. Thus a quest which began in 1904 has resulted in an accumulation which effectively documents the career of Grant the soldier, the president, and the writer of a great memoir of military history.

A fuller history of the provenance of the collection was prepared for the Index to the Ulysses S. Grant Papers, pp. v-x (PDF and page view) and subsequently reproduced in the finding aid (PDF and HTML). A version appears on this website as the essay Provenance of the Ulysses S. Grant Papers.

Description of Series

The Ulysses S. Grant Papers are arranged into eleven series. The collection is reproduced on fifty-two reels of microfilm, scans of which comprise this online collection. Series 8-11 of the Ulysses S. Grant Papers are described in more detail in the Scope and Content Note in the collection finding aid (PDF and HTML).

  • Series 1, General Correspondence and Related Material, 1844-1922
  • Series 2, Letterbooks, 1869-1877 (Reels 3-4)
    Contains copies of communications signed by Grant or his secretaries. The material is arranged chronologically within volumes.
  • Series 3, Speeches, Reports, Messages, 1863-1876 (Reels 4-5)
    The material in this series is arranged chronologically.
  • Series 4, Personal Memoirs, 1884-1885 (Reels 5-6)
    Includes the original handwritten manuscript of Grant's memoirs, with "Memoirs of Shiloh."
  • Series 5, Headquarters Records, 1861-1869 (Reels 6-30)
    Consists of correspondence, telegrams, dispatches, general and special orders, and related records, as well as some index volumes. The material in most of the volumes follows a rough chronological arrangement. The volume once numbered 61 has been designated Volume 153 in the Andrew Johnson Papers. It appears on Reel 43 of the Johnson Papers microfilm reproduction and is described on page 150 of the Index to the Andrew Johnson Papers (PDF and page view) as Fair Copy Volume III.
  • Series 6, Miscellany, 1838-1867
    • Subseries A, 1861-1867 (Reel 30)
      Comprised of military records partly duplicated in Series 5. The material is arranged chronologically.
    • Subseries B, 1839-1843 (Reel 30)
      Contains a photocopy of Grant's account and two drawings he made while at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. The material is arranged chronologically.
    • Subseries C, 1839-1843 (Reel 30)
      Consists of miscellaneous documents, including photographs and clippings.
  • Series 7, Scrapbooks, 1870-1892 (Reels 30-32)
    The scrapbooks consist primarily of newspaper clippings, and are arranged chronologically.
  • Series 8, Addition I, 1846-1893 (Boxes 8:1-4, Reels 1-2)
    Includes correspondence, a bound volume of autographs, newspaper clippings, souvenirs, financial record, certificates, a bound index pertaining to Grant materials in Townsend's Library of "National Records," and miscellaneous items. The series is arranged by type of material. Some items in Series 8 had previously been appraised as peripheral and thus omitted from the microfilm edition prepared as part of the presidential papers microfilming project. Also included in this series are miscellaneous items acquired through 1973.
  • Series 9, Addition II, 1848-1974 (Box 9:1, Reel 2)
    Comprised of correspondence between Grant and military officers, letters to and from Grant's grandson, Chapman Grant, and a headquarters record book dating from the Mexican War. The series is arranged by type of material. Series 9 also includes items appraised as peripheral and thus omitted from the original collection as well as additions received between 1974 and 1978.
  • Series 10, Addition III, 1819-1969
    • Family Correspondence, 1862-1965 (Boxes 10:1-2, Reel 2)
      Contains correspondence between Grant and his wife, sons, and other family members. The material is arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent, and chronologically thereunder.
    • Personal and Professional Correspondence, 1840-1885 (Boxes 10:2-15, Reels 3-11)
      Consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence and attached material exchanged between Grant and his staff with military officers, members of Congress, state governors and officials, businessmen, private citizens, and friends. The material is arranged chronologically.
    • Military File, 1846-1903 (Boxes 10:15-18, Reels 11-12)
      Includes copies of orders, reports, and official dispatches of the Civil War, memoranda, transcripts of congressional testimony, copies of Mexican War reports, commission, and other items pertaining to Grant's military career. This section is arranged alphabetically by topic or type of material, and chronologically thereunder.
    • Writings, circa 1847-1969 (Boxes 10:19-22, Reels 13-16)
      Contains drafts, galley fragments, an account sheet, and correspondence and related material pertaining to Grant's memoirs; drafts and galleys of a magazine article; letters to editors; and a speech, poem, and other miscellaneous writings by Grant. This section also includes the manuscript of Julia Dent Grant's memoirs, galleys of a Grant biography by Ulysses S. Grant III, notes made from the Grant Papers by John Russell Young, memoranda by Hamilton Fish and Felix Brunot, and further writings by others. The material is arranged alphabetically by the name of the author and type of material, and chronologically thereunder.
    • Miscellany, 1819-1944 (Boxes 10:23-24, Reels 17-18)
      Comprised of printed matter, financial records, papers regarding a dispute over the army salary of Albert Grant, the deposition made by Ulysses S. Grant regarding the bankruptcy of Grant & Ward, maps, memorabilia, photographs, passports, wills, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous material. This section is arranged alphabetically by type of material, and chronologically thereunder.
    • Oversize, 1819-1969 (Boxes 10:OV 1-OV 4, Reels 19-20)
      Contains correspondence, printer and galley proofs, printed matter, and miscellaneous items. The material is organized and described according to the series, folders, and boxes from which the items were removed.
  • Series 11, Addition IV, 1845-1932 (Box 11:1, Reel 20)
    Includes family and general correspondence and miscellany. The items are arranged alphabetically by type of material. Series 11 contains papers acquired after Series 10 was arranged and material formerly found in other collections.
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