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James Abram Garfield

20th President of the United States
(March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881)

Nickname: None listed.

Born: November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio
Died: September 19, 1881, in Elberon, New Jersey

Father: Abram Garfield
Mother: Eliza Ballou Garfield
Married:Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918), on November 11, 1858
Children: Eliza A. Garfield (1860-63); Harry A. Garfield (1863-1942) James R. Garfield (1865-1950); Mary Garfield (1867-1947); Irvin M. Garfield (1870-1951); Abram Garfield (1872-1958); Edward Garfield (1874-76)

Religion: Disciples of Christ
Education: Attended Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College); Graduated from Williams College (1856)
Occupation: Teacher, public official
Political Party: Republican
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Ohio State Senate, 1859-61

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-80

  • Elected to United States Senate, 1880

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

Presidential Election Results:



Popular Votes

Electoral Votes


James A. Garfield




Winfield S. Hancock



Vice President: tiny U.S. flag Chester A. Arthur (1881)


Secretary of State

James G. Blaine (1881)

Secretary of the Treasury

William Windom (1881)

Secretary of War

Robert Todd Lincoln (1881)

Attorney General

I. Wayne McVeagh (1881)

Postmaster General

Thomas L. James (1881)

Secretary of the Navy

William H. Hunt (1881)

Secretary of the Interior

Samuel J. Kirkwood (1881)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Associate Justice

Stanley Matthews (1881-89)

Notable Events:

Internet Biographies:

James A. Garfield -- from The Presidents of the United States of America

Compiled by the White House.

James A. Garfield -- from American Presidents: Life Portraits -- C-SPAN

Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.

James Garfield -- from The American President

From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1881)

Other Internet Resources:

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

Lawnfield, the Mentor, Ohio home of Garfield also houses his presidential library. Tourist information provided by the National Park Service.

Points of Interest:

  • Garfield was the first left-handed president of the United States.

  • James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other, at the same time.

  • The last of seven presidents born in a log cabin, Garfield weighed 10 pounds at birth.

  • He was the first president to campaign in two languages -- English and German.

  • On election day, November 2, 1880, he was at the same time a member of the House, Senator-elect and President-elect.

  • His mother was the first president's mother to attend her son's inauguration.

  • At the age of twenty-six, Garfield became president of Hiram College. At the time the school only had five faculty members.

  • After Garfield's shooting, repeated probing for the bullet with non-sterile instruments resulted in blood poisoning which eventually killed him.




James Garfield

20th President of the United States
(March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881)


Lucretia Garfield