Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902

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Julia Boggs Dent Grant, hailing from a plantation near St. Louis, was the wife of United States war hero and the 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant. She served as First Lady of from 1869 to 1877.

Daughter of Frederick and Ellen Wrenshall Dent, Julia had grown up on a plantation near St. Louis in a typically Southern atmosphere. She attended the Misses Mauros’ boarding school in St. Louis for seven years among the daughters of other affluent parents. A social favorite in that circle, she met “Ulys” at her home, where her family welcomed him as a West Point classmate of her brother Frederick; soon she felt lonely without him, dreamed of him, and agreed to wear his West Point ring.

Julia and her handsome lieutenant became engaged in 1844, but the Mexican War deferred the wedding for four long years. Their marriage, often tried by adversity, met every test; they gave each other a life-long loyalty. Like other army wives,”dearest Julia” accompanied her husband to military posts, to pass uneventful days at distant garrisons. Then she returned to his parents’ home in 1852 when he was ordered to the West.

Ending that separation, Grant resigned his commission two years later. Farming and business ventures at St. Louis failed, and in 1860 he took his family–four children now–back to his home in Galena, Illinois. He was working in his father’s leather goods store when the Civil War called him to a soldier’s duty with his state’s volunteers. Throughout the war, Julia joined her husband near the scene of action whenever she could.

After so many years of hardship and stress, she rejoiced in his fame as a victorious general, and she entered the White House in 1869 to begin, in her words, “the happiest period” of her life. With Cabinet wives as her allies, she entertained extensively and lavishly. Contemporaries noted her finery, jewels and silks and laces. Upon leaving the White House in 1877, the Grants made a trip around the world that became a journey of triumphs. Julia proudly recalled details of hospitality and magnificent gifts they received.

But in 1884 Grant suffered yet another business failure and they lost all they had. To provide for his wife, Grant wrote his famous personal memoirs, racing with time and death from cancer. The means thus afforded and her widow’s pension enabled her to live in comfort, surrounded by children and grandchildren, till her own death in 1902. She had attended in 1897 the dedication of Grant’s monumental tomb in New York City where she was laid to rest. She had ended her own chronicle of their years together with a firm declaration: “the light of his glorious fame still reaches out to me, falls upon me, and warms me.”

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hillyer, William Silliman, 1831-1874. Papers of William Silliman Hillyer, 1822 (1861-1874) 1931, [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Smith, William Wrenshall. William Wrenshall Smith diary, 1863. Library of Congress
referencedIn Grant Monument Association (New York, N.Y.). Fund raising/construction records, 1885-1897. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Childs, George William, 1829-1894. George William Childs papers [manuscript], 1882-1892. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Grant Monument Association (New York, N.Y.). Grant Monument Association records for portion in General Grant National Memorial museum collection, 1885-1966. Federal Hall National Memorial
referencedIn Elliott, James. James Elliott photograph collection. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
creatorOf Wallace, Lew, 1827-1905. Papers of Lew Wallace, 1863-1902, bulk 1883-1899. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn American woman's travel diary, 1878. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. ALS : Ironton, Mo., to Julia Dent Grant, 1861 Aug. 15. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn RIPON PAPERS. Vol. XX (ff. 254). Correspondence with Sovereigns (and their Private Secretaries), with members of the Royal Family and also with Heads of States:-(1) Correspondence with Queen Victoria, including (ff. 80, 85, 103, 114) letters (1880-1..., 1864-1905 British Library
referencedIn Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. Collection of Ulysses S. Grant materials, 1840-1917 (bulk 1861-1885). Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Cooke, Henry David, 1825-1881. Papers of Henry David Cooke, 1838-1956 (bulk 1846-1881). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006. National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Fairbanks mss., 1819-1939 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Van Antwerp, Verplanck, d. 1875. Letter, July 30, 1871. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902. Autograph letter signed (in pencil) : "Executive Mansion," "Dear Genl." [William W. Belknap?], [18]73 Dec. 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Rowley, William Reuben, 1824-1886. Papers, 1862-1892. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902. Autograph note in pencil signed : [Washington, D.C.], to General Albert J. Myer, [1874?]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Ulysses S. Grant Papers, 1819-1969, (bulk 1843-1885) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871. Samuel J. May diary, 1870. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Barney, Charles E., fl, 1865-1875,. Papers of the Barney, Cooke, McClew and Neilson families, 1820-1905. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1863-1879 Smithsonian Institution Archives
creatorOf Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. ALS : Raleigh, N.C., to Julia Dent Grant, 1865 Apr. 25. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1865-1891 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn Inventory of the Everette B. Long Papers Ragan MSS 00080., 1949-1981 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. ALS : La Grange, Tenn., to Jesse Root Grant, 186[2] Nov. 23. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. Ulysses S. Grant papers, 1819-1974 (bulk 1843-1908). Library of Congress
referencedIn Lucretia Rudolph Garfield Papers, 1807-1958, (bulk 1844-1918) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Kate Sessions Collection, 1876-1940 San Diego History Center Document Collection
creatorOf Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902. Papers. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Carnochan family. Carnochan family papers, 1716-2007. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Ross, Ishbel, 1897-1975. Papers, 1948-1959 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902. Letter : [New York], N.Y., to [Anna Rankin] Hillyer, [18]85 Feb. 28. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. Ulysses S. Grant Civil War Letter, 1862. University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Library
referencedIn Gall-Clayton, Nancy. Yes, I cut marble, Mrs. Grant : a short play about Enid Yandell Bertha Honoré Palmer Julia Dent Grant / by Nancy Gall-Clayton. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn League of Women Voters of Evanston (Evanston, Ill.). International Relations Council. International Relations Council and School of World Affairs records, 1922-1961. Evanston Historical Society
creatorOf Grant, Julia Dent, 1826-1902. Papers relating to lawsuit between Julia Grant and Adam Badeau, New York Supreme Court, 1887. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Carnochan Family Papers, 1745-1929 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf SIGNATURES OF PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA from George Washington to Dwight David Eisenhower; 1776-aft. 1952. British Library
referencedIn Vincent, Thomas McCurdy, 1832-1909. Thomas McCurdy Vincent family papers, 1824-1916. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Gall-Clayton, Nancy. Yes, I cut marble, Mrs. Grant ... : a short play inspired by the lives of Enid Yandell (1869-1934) Bertha Honoré Palmer (1849-1918) Julia Dent Grant (1826-1902) / by Nancy Gall-Clayton. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Forbes, W. Cameron (William Cameron), 1870-1959. Collection of family and historical documents, ca. 1680-1900 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Badeau, Adam, 1831-1895. person
associatedWith Baldwin family family
associatedWith Belknap, William W. (William Worth), 1829-1890, person
associatedWith Bliss family family
associatedWith Carnochan family family
associatedWith Carnochan family. family
associatedWith Childs, George William, 1829-1894. person
associatedWith Chilton, Mrs. person
correspondedWith Cooke, Henry David, 1825-1881. person
sibling of Dent, Frederick T. (Frederick Tracy), 1820-1892 person
associatedWith Elliott, James. person
associatedWith Fairbanks, Charles W. (Charles Warren), 1852-1918 person
associatedWith Farnham family family
associatedWith Forbes, W. Cameron (William Cameron), 1870-1959 person
associatedWith Gall-Clayton, Nancy. person
correspondedWith Garfield, Lucretia Rudolph, 1832-1918 person
parentOf Grant, Frederick Dent, 1850-1912 person
parentOf Grant, Frederick Dent, 1850-1912. person
child-in-law of Grant, Jesse Root, 1794-1873 person
parentOf Grant, Jesse Root, 1858-1934 person
associatedWith Grant Monument Association (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
spouseOf Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885. person
grandparentOf Grant, U. S. (Ulysses S.), 1881-1968 person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Hillyer, Anna Rankin, person
associatedWith Hillyer, William Silliman, 1831-1874. person
associatedWith Hillyer, Willie. person
associatedWith Kantakuzen, Julia Grant, kniagini︠a︡, 1876-1968. person
associatedWith Kantakuzen, Michael, prince, 1875-1955. person
associatedWith Lambard family family
associatedWith Larned, Charles William, 1850-1911. person
associatedWith Long, E. B. (Everette Beach), 1919-1981 person
associatedWith May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871. person
associatedWith Morris family family
associatedWith Myer, Albert James, 1829-1880, person
associatedWith Myer, John Walden, person
associatedWith Ross, Ishbel, 1897-1975. person
associatedWith Rowley, William Reuben, 1824-1886. person
associatedWith Sessions, Kate Olivia, 1857-1940 person
associatedWith Smith, William Wrenshall. person
associatedWith Stewart, A. T. person
associatedWith Van Antwerp, Verplanck, d. 1875. person
associatedWith Vincent, Thomas McCurdy, 1832-1909. person
associatedWith Wallace, Lew, 1827-1905. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
District of Columbia DC US
Wilton NY US
Bethel OH US
Galena IL US
Saint Louis County MO US
Detroit MI US
Subject
National Museum
Science In America
Smithsonian Endowment
Congress
Occupation
Presidents' spouses--United States
Activity

Person

Birth 1826-01-26

Death 1902-12-14

Female

Americans

English

Information

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