General Correspondence, Vols. 1-13, 1852-1869

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James A. Garfield was a man in motion, propelled by ambition to overcome the poverty of his youth and make a name for himself. He worked his way through school, excelling as both a teacher and scholar. He married his wife Lucretia (“Crete”) in 1858, and quickly began a family and a political career in Ohio, while also studying to become a lawyer. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 brought Garfield into active military service until he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in late 1863. This began Garfield’s long tenure in the House, where he participated in legislative decisions that guided Reconstruction policy, and served on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Garfield’s congressional service also initiated his association with the Library of Congress, where he became a regular patron.

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