Queens rubbish collector finds 114-year-old program from dedication for Ulysses S. Grant’s tomb (by NY Daily News)
BY Nicholas Hirshon, NY Daily News
(This article was taken from the New York Daily News. Read more at NYDailyNews.com.)
A Queens rubbish remover dug up an important piece of history on President Ulysses S. Grant.
Nick DiMola recently found a rare program from the 1897 dedication of Grant’s Tomb in an upper East Side apartment he was hired to clean out.
He plans to donate it tomorrow to a city nonprofit dedicated to preserving the memory of the Civil War general.
“It’s something so nice that I don’t want it just sitting in my office,” said DiMola, 42, who lives in Merrick, L.I., and runs his firm out of Ridgewood, Queens.
DiMola said he found the artifact at a Lexington Ave. apartment in January. He had been commissioned to clear out the space by the executor of the former occupant’s estate.
DiMola has promised to give the item to the Grant Monument Association, the same group that produced the program more than a century ago.
The National Parks Service, which runs Grant’s Tomb in Riverside Park, already has copies of the program, so it will offer the program to other Grant memorials.
“This is a unique glimpse into the past,” said association President Frank Scaturro. He hailed DiMola’s donation as “a very admirable, noble gesture.”
Sotheby’s valued the aging program at about $200.
Bound by a simple white string, the program details the pomp and circumstance surrounding the tomb dedication on April 27, 1897, on Grant’s 75th birthday – 12 years after his death in 1885.
“The program represents the defining moment in memorializing this man,” Scaturro said. “Of all the artifacts that you have accompanying its construction, the program marks the culmination.”
Grant’s great-great-grandson, Ulysses Grant Dietz, called the program “fascinating.”
“It’s a reminder of how much this mattered to people,” he said. “People have forgotten how important the tomb was as a symbol and just as an event.”