James A. Garfield Diary: “His Confidential Friend”

Although an assassin’s bullet shortened his presidential administration to just six months in 1881, James A. Garfield (1831-1881) left an impressive archive of his forty-nine years, including the twenty-one diaries (1848-1881) held in the James A. Garfield Papers at the Library of Congress. Garfield used his diary to record the challenges he faced as a self-made man, his activities, intellectual curiosity, accomplishments and defeats, family life, travels, and comments on the people, events, and society of his time. Garfield’s diary provides a sustained and intimate view into the rich inner life of one of America’s more remarkable, but lesser-known presidents.

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