(Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-17). 220 x 125 mm. (9 5/8 x 9 3/4"). Eight volumes. Second Series. Limited Large Paper Edition. No. 148 OF 500 COPIES.
HANDSOME DEEP BURGUNDY MOROCCO by the Riverside Press (ink stamp on versos of flyleaves), covers with double gilt-ruled panel with gilt flowers and swirling vines at each corner, raised bands, gilt-ruled compartments tooled in gilt and with gilt lettering, FULL MOSS-GREEN MOROCCO DOUBLURES framed in burgundy morocco, each corner with gilt floral decorations, gilt-turn-ins with repeating flower tool, green silk endleaves, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, and ALMOST ENTIRELY UNOPENED. Each volume with five portraits (including frontispieces) as called for, all with original tissue guards, an additional engraved title page tipped-on to a larger leaf, and title page vignette. A Large Paper Copy. EACH VOLUME CONTAINING AN INSERTED LETTER OR DOCUMENT SIGNED BY AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN STATESMAN, INCLUDING THREE U.S. PRESIDENTS (see below). ◆Half the spines very lightly sunned, front joint of first volume just beginning to show wear, volume II with hinge open after front free endpapers, other very minor imperfections, but a handsome set in unsurprisingly fine condition, with almost none of its leaves opened. One of the documents with a repair along the fold, a couple with stains and small tears, but all legible and in excellent condition overall.
This is a beautifully bound, virtually untouched copy of a limited edition printed on large paper, with biographies of six important American statesmen, including Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, John Sherman, Thomas B. Reed, John Hay, and James B. Blaine, with extra content that includes a signed document or letter by each of these famous men. Edited by the American historian John T. Morse (1840-1937), the "American Statesmen" was produced in two series: the first series consisted of 32 volumes on statesmen from the Revolutionary Era to the Civil War Period; and the second series consisted of eight volumes on men who mainly rose to prominence after the Civil War (though most either served or were involved with that conflict in some way). The present set consists of the second series, and is one of a limited number of Large Paper Copies. According to Sotheby's, "Only a few sets (probably five or [fewer]) of this edition were bound in morocco and contained original documents, of which many were broken up, the letters and documents removed and sold separately." Fortunately, our set has retained its original documents, which add greatly to the value and prestige of this work. Perhaps the most significant piece here is a letter on "Armies of the United States" letterhead written in the hand of and signed by ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-85) as Commanding General of the U. S. Armies. It is addressed to Brigadier General William Hoffman, who had served as Commissary-General of Prisoners throughout much of the Civil War and is dated 27 March 1865--just weeks before Robert E. Lee would surrender at Appomattox. The letter contains Grant's instructions to step down the exchange of prisoners as the end of the war drew closer: "I presume a large number of our prisoners are yet to arrive from Wilmington and also from the Miss[issippi] river. You may however discontinue the deliveries of rebel prisoners except as part of the Steamer New York can bring them. Discharge all the other vessels engaged in the business." The other autograph material includes: a partly printed document completed and signed by WILLIAM McKINLEY (1843-1901) dated 30 May 1870 and indicting a certain Andrew State for "Keeping Rooms of Public Resort for the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors"; an ALS by JOHN SHERMAN (1823-1900) dated 24 December 1864 and addressed to William P. Fessenden, discussing a tax on whiskey; an ALS by JAMES BLAINE (1830-93) dated 27 November 1868; an ALS by THOMAS B. REED (1839-1902) dated 10 December 1887; an ALS by JOHN HAY (1838-1905) dated 25 July 1904, concerning Theodore Roosevelt's upcoming presidential election and the "almost unfeasible" suggestion that he would not gain New York's electoral votes; an ALS by GROVER CLEVELAND (1837-1908) dated 7 December 1897, declining an invitation to lecture; and an ALS by GEORGE B. McCLELLAN (1826-85) dated 30 October 1867 from London. Examples of the limited deluxe sets such as the present one are uncommon on the market, and ours is a very desirable example inside and out. (ST19083)