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Presidential Administrations, James Garfield: Topics in Chronicling America

As the 20th U.S. President, James Garfield served only six and a half months. This guide provides access to material related to the "Garfield's Presidential Administration" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Sketch of James Garfield. September 9, 1880. The Republican-Supplement (Wisconsin Rapids, WI), Image 4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

After a close election, James Abram Garfield took office on March 4, 1881. Shortly after his inauguration, President Garfield challenged Senator Conkling of New York, a leading Stalwart Republican, by appointing Conkling’s arch enemy to run the New York City Customs House. Shortly thereafter, President Garfield was shot by a disgruntled office seeker at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C.  His fight to survive was covered extensively in the press for eleven weeks before he died on September 19, 1881. 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.


March 4, 1881 James A. Garfield is inaugurated as the 20th president of the United States.
May 1881 Roscoe Conkling resigns from the Senate.
July 2, 1881 President Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau; the assassination and Garfield's medical status throughout the following months are reported exhaustively in the newspapers.
September 19, 1881 President Garfield dies at a seaside mansion in Elberon, New Jersey.