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    Widow Garfield sends an unused presidentially-signed check to a well-wisher

    Lucretia Garfield Autograph Letter Signed "Lucretia R. Garfield." Two and one-half pages, 4.25" x 6.25", Cleveland, Ohio, November 14, 1881, on Mrs. Garfield's personalized mourning stationery.
    The Widow Garfield, less than two months after the death of her husband at the hands of an assassin, writes this very formal letter to an autograph seeker - "Mrs. J. M. Witherbee" of Boston - to ask if she would be satisfied with one of the late president's unsigned checks.

    "I thank you for the kind words of your letter and for the pleasant reminiscence of the Chicago Convention you have given. You will pardon me if I ask who is the author of General Garfield's Life that you wish to send to your son. There have been so many written and many are so incorrect that I should prefer to know whose you are to send before giving it the sanction of General Garfield's autograph. Again the only autographs I have in my possession are on a few unused checks he had signed on July 1st for the payment of bills during his proposed absence in New England. One of these I could send if you desire it."

    Mrs. Garfield only sent to Mrs. Witherbee the right half of an unused check, but it contained the signature "J A Garfield." This check with presidential signature is included with Mrs. Garfield's letter. Also included is the original transmittal envelope addressed in the widow's hand. Lucretia and James had met at seminary in 1849 and married nine years later. During their marriage, they were rarely separated, except during the Civil War when Garfield served as a Union general. Following Garfield's election as president in 1880, Lucretia had been first lady for only five months when Charles Guiteau shot the president twice in the back with a revolver. (Interestingly, on a previous occasion, Guiteau had followed the president to a railway station as Garfield sent his wife, who was ill at the time, to convalesce at a resort. In deference to Mrs. Garfield, Guiteau left the station without firing any shots.) James Garfield died of his wounds on September 19, 1881. All items are slightly age-toned; the envelope has expected minor soiling.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,029

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