Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [James Garfield Assassination]. Charles Guiteau Partial Autograph Manuscript from His Book, The Truth and the Removal, Together with an Autograph Letter Signed from Guiteau to the Printer. On July 2, 1881, Charles Guiteau, an unsuccessful Chicago lawyer and itinerant preacher, stepped onto the platform of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station and twice shot President James Garfield in the back. He was immediately arrested and taken to jail. Garfield lingered for eleven weeks before succumbing to his wounds on September 19. Guiteau's charge of attempted murder was elevated to murder following the president's death and he was placed on trial on November 14, 1881.

    Guiteau was found guilty on January 30, 1882, and was sentenced to hang. While incarcerated and awaiting execution, Guiteau wrote his book, The Truth and the Removal, defending his action and providing his own account of his trial. Contained in this lot are eight, handwritten pages from his book, written while in prison, and six letters of commendation from two admiring females. Included are the title page, reading, "The Truth, / and The Removal / By Charles Guiteau / Published and sold only by the author / Washington DC / 1882," followed by pages 3 (reading simply "Part I") and page 5 (all three pages around glued together in the upper left corners). Several years earlier he had published a book titled, The Truth, containing his views on theology and Part I of his latest work included the entirety of his earlier work. On page 5 of this manuscript, he has written, "The Truth / A Companion to the Bible." Directly below are notes to the printer to place the preface on the following page "& then the entire book -- The Truth." Also included are the first two pages of the conclusion; one page reading in the upper left corner, "is insanity.," and inscribed "Charles Guiteau / United States Jail / Washington D.C. / March 14, 1882"; one page concerning an interview with his brother, John; and one page titled "Scoville," reading in part, "Nearly every day I notice something in the paper from Scoville's cranked brain, and I will not have him around me any longer." George Scoville was one of Guiteau's court-appointed defense attorneys. Nearly all of the pages include notes from Guiteau to the printers regarding placement of the pages.

    Of note is the addition of six letters of commendation Guiteau received and included in Part II of his book. One such letter, from a Myra D. Huntington, dated February 15, 1881, begins, "You do not know how many ladies there are here who believe that you did right to remove the president. I am one of them." Next to the final paragraph, Guiteau has noted to the printer that he wants it included in his book as it reads, "I hope you will answer this in your own hand, as I wish to preserve your autograph as a memento of a great man." The final five letters (one of which is incomplete) are from Clara Augusta Davis, written just before and immediately after Guiteau was sentenced to death. While Davis does not excuse Guiteau's murder of the president, throughout her letters she expresses her sincere belief that he truly believed that he was doing God's work and was insane. In a letter addressed to Gen. John Crocker, the warden of the jail in which Guiteau is being held, dated February 3, 1882, Miss Davis writes that she "cannot believe that any sane man in our country could have desired to slay Garfield. . . . The fact that there was in the great Republic one man only disposed to do the deed is, to my mind, the best evidence that the shooting was the act of an insane man."

    With the above manuscript pages is a Charles Guiteau ALS, two pages of a bifolium, 6.25" x 8", [Washington], [1882]. Addressed to "Gibson Bros.," the printer of the book, in full: "This book seems to linger. I wish you send me all the proof Monday. I have advertised the book to nights 'Star,' & it is important to get it out at once. I have asked you about the following matter. 1. I sent a paragraph to close Part II, but have had no proof. Have you got it? 2. I sent you a sketch, two months ago, headed "Away with Corkhill & the [illegible]." Have you got it? 3. I sent you a newspaper slip from the Baltimore Sun about my treatment in jail & my improved appearance. Have you got it. If you have these items send me proof at me. I want the sketch to go in [illegible] Part II, & the Appendix. I ordered a word cut of it when I sent it. Please send me a written answer by your [illegible] Monday. Yours [signed] Charles Guiteau."

    This remarkable collection has been held in the family of printer William Gibson, whose firm printed the book, since 1882 and has been passed down to the current owner, a direct descendant of Gibson's.

    Condition: The pages are fragile with fading to the text in places. Several pages have spots of adhesive staining, toning, chipping at the edges, and/or minor tears not exceeding 1" in length.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,054

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Nov 5, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 9 - 10 Books Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search