STARKVILLE, Miss.--A grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission will allow the Ulysses S. Grant Association to continue its work on Vols. I and II of the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant.
The NHPRC recently awarded a grant of $43,490 to the Ulysses S. Grant Association for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The Mississippi State University-based association is working to produce an annotated scholarly edition of Grant's memoirs in print and a complete digital edition, which will show the various drafts, from first to final. The digital edition will be published with free online access.
Grant Association Executive Director John F. Marszalek said, "Over the years of the Grant Association's editorial work on the 32 volumes of the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, the NHPRC's financial support has been crucial. Its continuing support this coming year will help ensure the first scholarly edition of the Grant memoirs, an American classic."
Established by Congress in 1934, NHPRC is the grant-making affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration. The organization helps non-federal institutions preserve and make broadly accessible other records of historical value through grants to archival institutions, manuscript repositories, and publications in multiple formats.
Published in 1885 by Mark Twain's own publishing house Charles L. Webster and Co., Grant's memoirs have been touted as the greatest work of nineteenth-century non-fiction literature. The best-selling memoirs received critical praise in their day and still remain a model for contemporary presidents when they write their own presidential memoirs. President Clinton kept a copy of Grant's memoirs on a bookshelf near his oval office desk.
Marszalek said the scholarly edition will be of tremendous value to historians and those who wish to understand more completely Grant's military career, mainly in the Mexican-American and Civil War. The annotations will have meticulous research and solid scholarship behind them.
Revealed in the drafting stages are the personal struggles Grant faced while writing his memoirs, particularly his battle with throat cancer. Having been diagnosed with the illness shortly after beginning the memoirs, Grant dealt with losing his voice and periods of intense physical pain and weakness. On July 16, 1885, Grant wrote to his doctor regarding the memoirs that "There is nothing more that I should do to it now, and therefore I am not more ready to go than at this moment." He died only a few days later on July 23, 1885.
The Grant Association's goals for the memoirs are to complete drafting and verification of the annotations for Vols. I and II and to send out both volumes for peer review by the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year. Groundwork on the digital version will continue alongside the work on the print edition.
Marszalek said the Grant Association greatly appreciates the continued financial support of the NHPRC so it may continue to grow the scholarship on Ulysses S. Grant and his family.