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“…I have learned to look upon you as a real friend… ”A letter from a Presidential grandson to Stephen Mather

At the Homestead, we are in the process of scanning and cataloging letters sent to Stephen Mather.  The original letters are archived in the Bancroft Library at Stephen’s alma mater, The University of California at Berkeley.


There are letters, telegrams, dinner acceptances and regrets, and more.  They come from over 400 writers—from Presidents to publishers, philanthropists to politicians, explorers to inventors, conservationists to grateful American citizens.  Forthcoming blogs will look at several of the senders and their writings.   We begin with…


A letter of December 11, 1928 from Ulysses S. Grant III, the grandson of the Eighteenth President and Commander of the Union Army during the Civil War.


Grant writes as a member of The National Capital Park and Planning Commission, but his comments reflect his personal attachment to Stephen, writing in part, “…how deeply distressed we were to know that your absence was caused by illness.  I need hardly say that no one of these felt your being laid up as much as I did myself, since I have learned to look upon you as a real friend to me and a great support not only in the Commission but in everything that comes up…”


Ulysses Simpson Grant III (1881-1968) served  as executive officer of the Arlington Memorial  Bridge Commission and a member of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In 1925, he was director of the newly created Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital.  In 1927 he was placed in charge of Park Police in Washington, DC. Grant was the last military manager of Washington area parks. At that time, management was turned over to the National Park Service.   In 1940 he was made a Brigadier General.  When the United States entered World War II he was made Chief of the Protection Branch of the Office of Civil Defense--responsible for the civil defenses of the entire United States. He retired to Washington, DC at the end of the war.

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