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    Description

    [James A. Garfield] Charles Guiteau Assassination Trial Pass. One page, on heavy red card stock, 6" x 3.5", Washington DC, December 1881. Partly printed, this pass has been made out to "Miss Lida Miller and friends to Court Room this day, December ____ 1881." Engrossed and signed by George Corkhill, District Attorney for the District of Columbia, who prosecuted the case. Minor soiling along left edge; mounting traces on verso. Large bold signature. Accompanied by a period postcard depicting the moment of the attack which has an area of paper loss at upper right; mounting traces on verso.

    Following President Garfield's inauguration in March 1881, lawyer Charles Guiteau launched an intense campaign for a diplomatic post, applying as minister in Austria and consul general to Paris. He made the rounds between the White House and the State Department promoting his case, and bombarded Secretary of State James Blaine with letters. Not surprisingly, the administration grew tired of Guiteau's persistence. Secretary Blaine bluntly told Guiteau at the State Department on May 14: "Never bother me again about the Paris consulship so long as you live."

    Guiteau, without family and nearly penniless, grew increasingly isolated and depressed. He bought a gun and shot President Garfield as he was about to depart for a vacation from the Baltimore and Potomac train station on July 2, 1881. The President languished for months, and upon his death, Guiteau was charged with murder. The trial began on November 14, 1881 and Guiteau was found guilty on January 25, 1882; he was hanged on June 30, 1882. The public was intensely interested in the trial and passes such as the one offered here were difficult to acquire.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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