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James Garfield Assassination: Topics in Chronicling America

On July 2, 1881, President James A. Garfield is shot and severely wounded by Charles J. Guiteau. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Garfield Assassination” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The assassination. Bold and probably successful attempt upon the life of President Garfield." July 3, 1881 The Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

President James A. Garfield (1831-1881) is shot by Charles Guiteau at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C on July 2, 1881. Although he was severely wounded, President Garfield initially survived the shooting. He never fully recovered though, and passed away on September 19, a mere six months after his inauguration as President. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


July 2, 1881 President James A. Garfield is shot and severely wounded by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled office-seeker, at a railroad station in Washington, D.C
July 1881 Alexander Graham Bell unsuccessfully tries to locate the bullet with a metal detector he designed specifically for Garfield.
September 6, 1881 Garfield, in poor condition, is taken to the New Jersey seaside, and dies soon after on
September 19, 1881 Chester A. Arthur assumes presidency.
September 21,1881 A funeral procession carrying Garfield’s remains travels from New Jersey to Washington, DC and finally to Ohio, where Garfield is buried.
January 25, 1882 Guiteau is found guilty. June 30, 1882: Guiteau is executed.