In 1868, General Ulysses S. Grant was the nation’s foremost choice for the presidency. Yet his sole political ambition, he claimed, was “to be mayor of Galena [Illinois]—to build a new sidewalk from my home to the depot.” Grant served two terms as president, leaving a record of fraud and scandal. Although personally honest, he was at times badly served by scheming cronies who discredited his administration. When he left the White House, he said he felt like a boy let out of school, and he and his wife, Julia, embarked on a world tour lasting two years. Upon their return they established a home in New York City. In the fall of 1884, Grant was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer. He had already begun writing his memoirs, an activity he enjoyed, but it become a race with death. He finished just days before he died, leaving his wife with the prospects of royalties amounting to $200,000.
(Printed on image:) Copyright Fishel, Adler and Schwartz Co., N.Y.
(Label on back, stamped and inscribed:) Library of Congress / Copy Received 2/27/1912 / Copyright Entry / Class K XXc. No. 38186 / Copy B Delivered to Prints Division / 44447 / Fraser, J.R. / Mountain Stream.
Inscription on flyleaf: "I / Journal of / Dr. L.H. Baekeland / Yonkers, NY [sic] / July 1, 1913 / to March 11, 1914." The diary details Baekeland's daily activities. He writes often of his visits and discussions, and the subjects of correspondence he has written and received. It sheds light on the use and distance of travel by automobile in the early twentieth century. In the notes, Baekeland explains increasing time spent in the laboratory at the end of 1913 into 1914.
Leo H. Baekeland Papers, 1863-1968, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution