Lot Details & Additional Photographs
This singular trove was assembled in 1885 by Associated Press reporter Frank W. Mack as he covered the end of General Grant's life and its immediate aftermath. The old soldier and former president, arguably America's most celebrated living hero at the time, was painfully dying from throat cancer and racing death to finish his autobiography. Grant rightly knew that the published work would provide for his family after he died and that there was no time to waste. Through a friend's generosity, isolated Drexel Cottage on New York's Mt. McGregor became the general's quiet workplace and final home. Against staggering odds, Grant met his literary goal just in time and thus ensured his family's financial security.
Many of the images carry the backmark of Mt. McGregor photographer John G. Gilman. Some of these original 1885 prints, especially those of Grant and his valet, were later widely published and have become familiar to students of the period. An exceptional visual archive assembled by an active participant in the events it portrayed.
Most of the paper is age-toned as expected after 137 years; some of the typed transcripts of Mack's notes are split and subject to oxidation from the paper clips he used; the small sampling of acidic newsprint present is generally in very poor condition; some paper ephemera is split along fold lines; amazingly, Mt. McGregor floral souvenirs still retain some color in the booklets that have protected them since 1885. Overall the collection is in good condition and quite presentable.
$2,500 - 5,000