Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), Union general during the Civil War, hero of the battle of Vicksburg who accepted the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, and president of the United States from 1869 to 1877, was selected for the 8-cent stamp. Grant’s image had appeared on four earlier U.S. postage stamps.
Clair Aubrey Huston designed the stamp. A photo of Grant by renowned Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady inspired Huston’s vignette. The die for the vignette was engraved by Louis Schofield but reworked by John Eissler. Edward M. Hall and Joachim C. Benzing engraved the frame. William B. Wells engraved the lettering in the ribbon.
First printed on the flat plate press and issued in 1923, the 8-cent Grant was subsequently printed on the Stickney rotary press. When the stamp was issued it could be used to pay the postage on a four ounce letter. It could also be used to pay the postage on a single zone of the transcontinental airmail route during the mid 1920s, and the basic airmail rate from July 6, 1932, until June 30, 1934.