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Lucrecia Rudolph Garfield - History


Lucretia Garfield was introduced to her husband James, while both were attending Hiram College in Ohio. Like Lucy Hays, Mrs. Garfield was a college graduate. She and her husband both became teachers. With the election of her husband to the White House in 1880, Lucretia made plans to return to Washington. (Washington had been her second home for the seventeen years that James served in Congress.) But she was to be First Lady for only a brief few months. Shortly after moving into the presidential Mansion in March 1881, she came down with malaria and went to her New Jersey summer home to recover. When President Garfield was shot on July 2, the First Lady was still recuperating in New Jersey. She returned immediately to Washington. Garfield died of his wounds two months later. His widow lived for another 36 years.



Lucretia (Rudolph) Garfield (1832 - 1918)

She was the daughter of Zebulon Rudolph, of Hiram, Ohio, who was a farmer and a carpenter. He originally came from Virginia. His wife, Arabella Mason, was the daughter of Elijah Mason, of Lebanon, Connecticut [1]

Marriage

Lucretia N. Rudolph married Garfield on 15 November 1858, Portage, Ohio, United States. [2]

Residence

1900 U. S. Census

In the 1900 U. S. census she is shown widowed and mother of seven children. [4]

Burial

She was interred in Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. She is resting in peace next to her husband, President Garfield. Her casket is in the same tomb as his. [5]


Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

Lucretia Rudolph-Garfield served as First Lady of the United States in 1881 until the assassination of her husband, President James A. Garfield.

In the fond eyes of her husband, President James A. Garfield, Lucretia “grows up to every new emergency with fine tact and faultless taste.” She proved this in the eyes of the nation, though she was always a reserved, self-contained woman. She flatly refused to pose for a campaign photograph, and much preferred a literary circle or informal party to a state reception.

Her love of learning she acquired from her father, Zeb Rudolph, a leading citizen of Hiram, Ohio, and devout member of the Disciples of Christ. She first met “Jim” Garfield when both attended a nearby school, and they renewed their friendship in 1851 as students at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, founded by the Disciples.

But “Crete” did not attract his special attention until December 1853, when he began a rather cautious courtship, and they did not marry until November 1858, when he was well launched on his career as a teacher. His service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1863 kept them apart their first child, a daughter, died in 1863. But after his first lonely winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together. With a home in the capital as well as one in Ohio they enjoyed a happy domestic life. A two-year-old son died in 1876, but five children grew up healthy and promising with the passage of time, Lucretia became more and more her husband’s companion.

In Washington they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted.

Garfield’s election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a First Lady’s social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. At the age of 49 she was still a slender, graceful little woman with clear dark eyes, her brown hair beginning to show traces of silver.

In May she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband’s profound distress. “When you are sick,” he had written her seven years earlier, “I am like the inhabitants of countries visited by earthquakes.” She was still a convalescent, at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by a demented assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington by special train–“frail, fatigued, desperate,” reported an eyewitness at the White House, “but firm and quiet and full of purpose to save.”

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband’s career. She died on March 14, 1918.


Lucretia Garfield

Lucretia Rudolph was born on April 19, 1832 to Arabella Mason and Zebulon Rudolph. She acquired her love of learning from her father, and was well educated for a woman of her day who enjoyed translating Greek and Latin. She first met "Jim" Garfield when both attended a nearby school, and they renewed their friendship in 1851 as students at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute.

However, "Crete" did not attract his special attention until December 1853, when he began a rather cautious courtship, and they did not marry until November 11, 1858, when he was well established in his career as a teacher. His service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1863 kept them apart their first child, a daughter, died in 1863. But after his first lonely winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together. With a home in the capital as well as one in Ohio they enjoyed a happy domestic life. A two-year-old son died in 1876, but five children grew up healthy and promising with the passage of time, Lucretia became more and more her husband’s companion.

In Washington they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted. Although she held strong views on women's rights and independence, she did not publicly disagree with her husband on issues.

Garfield’s election to the presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a first lady’s social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. She also reintroduced alcohol to the White House after her predecessor Lucy Hayes's ban and when tasked with overseeing White House renovations, went to the Library of Congress to research the history of the executive residence in order to furnish it in historical style.

In late April 1881 she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband's profound distress. She was still convalescing at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by an assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington quickly by special train to be by his side.

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband’s career. She died on March 14, 1918.


America’s First Ladies, #20 – Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

Lucretia Rudolph was the wife of 20th US President James Garfield. A woman of keen intellect, she and James enjoyed a scholarly lifestyle together. Yet, due to James’s assassination, she was First Lady for less than a year. Here is the story of this intellectual First Lady.

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Born April 19, 1832, Lucretia Rudolph would one day become the wife of 20 th US President James A. Garfield. She was born in Garrettsville, Ohio, the daughter of Zeb Rudolph and Arabella Mason. Zeb was a farmer and a co-founder of the Eclectic Institute at Hiram. Her childhood nickname was “Crete.”

She was a devout member of the Church of Christ from childhood. She was also well-educated, attending the Geauga Seminary and the Eclectic Institute her father co-founded. The Eclectic Institute believed in the equal education of women with men, and she became an accomplished academic who showed high intelligence while there. Lucretia studied classic literature, biology, philosophy, math, science, and history. She also learned to speak Latin, German, Greek, and French. When she graduated, she became a teacher.

Lucretia met James Garfield as a student at the Eclectic Institute, which later became known as Hiram College. He was her teacher when they first encountered each other but were also the same age. James later went away to teach at Williams College, while Lucretia stayed in the area of the Eclectic Institute and taught at schools in both Cleveland and Bayou, Ohio.

James made an impression on her, and when he wanted to correspond with her, Lucretia did not object. James was attracted to her sharp intellect, and they only corresponded with each other a short time before becoming engaged. However, James was not one to be monogamous, and their relationship, even after marriage, was never on solid footing. James took on several lovers during the course of their lives together. Lucretia, in turn, knowing full well about the lovers, continued her studies and teaching, with the idea that she would always earn her own salary to keep her afloat if she ever became single once more. She did not want to have to return to her parents’ house or depend on her father for financial support like many widowed or divorced women of the time period.

Lucretia and James married November 11, 1858, at her parents’ house in Hiram, Ohio. They did not take a honeymoon, but immediately moved in together in Hiram and began life as a married couple.

When James served in the Union Army during the Civil War from 1861 to 1863, they were kept apart by his travels that the war necessitated. However, they remained living together thereafter upon his return. He almost immediately became a Congressman in the House of Representatives after the war and continued his political career from there. He and Lucretia maintained a home in Washington, D.C., as well as one in Mentor, Ohio.

Despite James’s infidelity, the two became about as inseparable as a political couple could be once they moved to Washington, D.C. They went to visit friends together, read books together, traveled together, and ate virtually every meal together. They also joined a locally famous literary society together. Most of their friends were fellow intellectuals, and they enjoyed socializing together with this scholarly group.

During their marriage, Lucretia and James had seven children, five of whom lived past childhood. They lost a two-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. Four sons and one daughter grew up. All of these remaining children outlived James and Lucretia.

When James was elected president and the family moved into the White House in 1881, they were a happy bunch. Lucretia was not truly interested in taking on the duties of First Lady, but she did so with grace and humility, with a genuine kindness to her personality that made the dinners she hosted at the White House quite popular. She was in the habit of holding receptions at the White House twice a week, and these, too, were highly popular social events to the politicians and citizens of the capital city.

Lucretia advised James on who to make as his cabinet appointments, and her studies in this area

Cleaned up photo of James A. Garfield and Lucretia Rudolph was taken around the time of their engagement. (Western Reserve Historical Society)

and deep understanding of politics made those suggestions successful ones. She also understood that the White House was a historical building by the time she moved into it and began plans to make it into the cultural center of the city.

It was not her intention to redecorate the White House but to bring a real sense of history to it. To that end, she went to the Library of Congress to do more historical research on the White House, which was, by that time, and 80-year-old building. She wanted all of its rich histories reflected and celebrated in it. However, she contracted malaria before she could begin this project. By the time Lucretia recovered, James had been assassinated, and she was no longer living in the White House.

In fact, she was convalescing at Elberon, a beach resort in New Jersey, when James was shot and killed by Charles Guiteau in July of 1881, just a few short months after they moved into the White House. James had been planning to take the train to visit Lucretia that day, before going on to an event at a college he once attended in Massachusetts.

When Lucretia received word her husband was injured, she raced back to Washington, D.C. via train. The conductor was trying so hard to get her there quickly, the engine broke a piston and the train almost derailed. Lucretia was thrown from her seat, but not injured. She arrived in Washington and went right to James’s bedside, determined to help the doctors heal him. She was willing to do whatever she could do.

James lingered on from his gunshot injury for three months, but ultimately succumbed to it. Lucretia was beside herself with grief. She and her children returned to their home in Ohio. She had been First Lady for less than a year.

At home, she led a private life, but a busy one. She devoted much time to organizing James’s papers and records regarding his political career, and a wing for them was added to their house. It eventually became his presidential library.

There was much public sympathy for her and her children after what happened to James, and she lived in financial comfort the rest of her life on a $350,000 trust fund that a wealthy financier raised for them.

Lucretia lived almost four decades beyond James. During that time, she attended events held by President Theodore Roosevelt and became a volunteer for the Red Cross during WWI. She died March 14, 1918, and was buried beside James in an above-ground crypt at the James A. Garfield Memorial in Cleveland, Ohio.


--> Garfield, Lucretia Rudolph, 1832-1918

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield served as First Lady of the United States in 1881 until the assassination of her husband, President James A. Garfield.

In the fond eyes of her husband, President James A. Garfield, Lucretia “grows up to every new emergency with fine tact and faultless taste.” She proved this in the eyes of the nation, though she was always a reserved, self-contained woman. She flatly refused to pose for a campaign photograph, and much preferred a literary circle or informal party to a state reception.

Young Lucretia Rudolph acquired a love of learning from her father, Zeb, a leading citizen of Hiram, Ohio, and devout member of the Disciples of Christ. She first met “Jim” Garfield when both attended a nearby school, and they renewed their friendship in 1851 as students at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, founded by the Disciples.

But “Crete” did not attract his special attention until December 1853, when he began a rather cautious courtship, and they did not marry until November 1858, when he was well launched on his career as a teacher. His service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1863 kept them apart their first child, a daughter, died in 1863. But after his first lonely winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together. With a home in the capital as well as one in Ohio they enjoyed a happy domestic life. A two-year-old son died in 1876, but five children grew up healthy and promising with the passage of time, Lucretia became more and more her husband’s companion.

In Washington they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted.

Garfield’s election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a First Lady’s social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. At the age of 49 she was still a slender, graceful little woman with clear dark eyes, her brown hair beginning to show traces of silver.

In May she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband’s profound distress. “When you are sick,” he had written her seven years earlier, “I am like the inhabitants of countries visited by earthquakes.” She was still a convalescent, at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by a demented assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington by special train–“frail, fatigued, desperate,” reported an eyewitness at the White House, “but firm and quiet and full of purpose to save.”

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband’s career. She died on March 14, 1918.


Lucrecia Rudolph Garfield - History


Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

In the fond eyes of her husband, President James A. Garfield, Lucretia "grows up to every new emergency with fine tact and faultless taste." She proved this in the eyes of the nation, though she was always a reserved, self-contained woman. She flatly refused to pose for a campaign photograph, and much preferred a literary circle or informal party to a state reception.

Her love of learning she acquired from her father, Zeb Rudolph, a leading citizen of Hiram, Ohio, and devout member of the Disciples of Christ. She first met "Jim" Garfield when both attended a nearby school, and they renewed their friendship in 1851 as students at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, founded by the Disciples.

But "Crete" did not attract his special attention until December 1853, when he began a rather cautious courtship, and they did not marry until November 1858, when he was well launched on his career as a teacher. His service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1863 kept them apart their first child, a daughter, died in 1863. But after his first lonely winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together. With a home in the capital as well as one in Ohio they enjoyed a happy domestic life. A two-year-old son died in 1876, but five children grew up healthy and promising with the passage of time, Lucretia became more and more her husband's companion.

In Washington they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted.

Garfield's election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a First Lady's social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. At the age of 49 she was still a slender, graceful little woman with clear dark eyes, her brown hair beginning to show traces of silver.

In May she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband's profound distress. "When you are sick," he had written her seven years earlier, "I am like the inhabitants of countries visited by earthquakes." She was still a convalescent, at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by a demented assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington by special train--"frail, fatigued, desperate," reported an eyewitness at the White House, "but firm and quiet and full of purpose to save."

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband's career. She died on March 14, 1918.


Lucrecia Rudolph Garfield - History

Biography: In the fond eyes of her husband, President James A. Garfield, Lucretia "grows up to every new emergency with fine tact and faultless taste." She proved this in the eyes of the nation, though she was always a reserved, self-contained woman. She flatly refused to pose for a campaign photograph, and much preferred a literary circle or informal party to a state reception.

Her love of learning she acquired from her father, Zeb Rudolph, a leading citizen of Hiram, Ohio, and devout member of the Disciples of Christ. She first met "Jim" Garfield when both attended a nearby school, and they renewed their friendship in 1851 as students at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, founded by the Disciples.

But "Crete" did not attract his special attention until December 1853, when he began a rather cautious courtship, and they did not marry until November 1858, when he was well launched on his career as a teacher. His service in the Union Army from 1861 to 1863 kept them apart their first child, a daughter, died in 1863. But after his first lonely winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together. With a home in the capital as well as one in Ohio they enjoyed a happy domestic life. A two-year-old son died in 1876, but five children grew up healthy and promising with the passage of time, Lucretia became more and more her husband's companion.

In Washington they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted.

Garfield's election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a First Lady's social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. At the age of 49 she was still a slender, graceful little woman with clear dark eyes, her brown hair beginning to show traces of silver.

In May she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband's profound distress. "When you are sick," he had written her seven years earlier, "I am like the inhabitants of countries visited by earthquakes." She was still a convalescent, at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by a demented assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington by special train--"frail, fatigued, desperate," reported an eyewitness at the White House, "but firm and quiet and full of purpose to save."

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband's career. She died on March 14, 1918.


Lucretia Garfield

Lucretia "Crete" Rudolph Garfield was well educated and shared her love of learning with others. She graduated from the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio, as did her husband. She also taught school and was a member of a Washington, D.C., literary club. She loved translating Greek and Latin, exposed her children to the classics, and was an intellectual partner to her husband. A devoted wife and mother, Crete was equally comfortable in a literary salon and at home nevertheless, she avoided the Washington social circuit during the twenty years her husband served as a congressman. Thus, when James A. Garfield became President in 1880, Lucretia was an inexperienced and anxious hostess who viewed both her husband's new duties and her own as a "terrible responsibility."Although ignorant about matters of protocol and social niceties, Lucretia Garfield was well aware of their importance in her new role. As a result, she tapped Mrs. James Blaine, a popular society matron and wife of Garfield's secretary of state, for tips on surviving the social whirl of Washington -- both in the reception line and outside of it. Indeed, Crete soon discovered that the social scene could be highly political as temperance organizations lobbied her to ban spirits from White House events. Teetotalers had found a sympathetic ear in former First Lady Lucy Hayes and encouraged Lucretia Garfield to follow her predecessor's lead. But Crete did not like the fanaticism of the temperance devotees and was concerned that foreign officials would view a dry Garfield administration as provincial. After careful consideration, risking the loss of some Republican supporters, spirits were reinstated at White House entertainments.

Though she recognized the importance of being a social leader, Lucretia was more comfortable being a political wife. Highly attuned to the issues of the day, she quietly supported women's equality, believing such treatment to be a right, not a privilege. She was well aware of the frustrations that motherhood imposed on women with professional interests a few years before becoming First Lady, she noted how "horrible" it was "to be a man, but the grinding misery of being a woman between the upper and nether millstone of household cares and training children is almost as bad." Crete realized that if a woman was "half civilized with some aspirations for enlightenment and obliged to spend the largest part of the time the victim of young barbarians," she would be in a state of "perpetual ferment." She therefore strove for symmetry in her own life. Crete balanced her domestic responsibilities as wife, mother, and First Lady with intellectual challenges as the President's political partner. She spoke with the press and frequently engaged her husband in political discussions. She even took on the historical refurbishment of the presidential mansion.

By the time the Garfields occupied the White House, the executive residence was in a state of deplorable disrepair. But Lucretia wanted to do more than just turn it into a comfortable home for her family, she wanted to refurbish the White House in a way that reflected the building's rich history. As a result, she not only lobbied Congress for funds to fix the mansion's structural problems but also spent hours in the Congressional Library researching White House rooms, ensuring that work done on the building would be historically accurate. She then used her new home to draw attention to the arts, inviting authors, artists, poets, and sculptors to the White House to entertain and to enlighten invited guests.

As First Lady, Lucretia was gracious but tough. She refused to be intimidated by snobbish social matrons or by groups seeking her patronage. It was a stance her husband praised: "Crete grows up to every new emergency with fine tact and faultless taste." Although tough-minded, Lucretia was often weak physically, pursuing her projects between illnesses. She nearly died in May 1881, owing to a bout of malaria during this time, the President canceled appointments and personally nursed the First Lady through her sickness. By mid-June, Lucretia was well enough to travel to the New Jersey shore. Within two weeks of her departure, however -- ignoring the demands of her own convalescence -- she rushed back to Washington via a special train to be with her husband. It was he who now faced probable death. On July 2, 1881, Charles Guiteau, a lunatic often simply described as a "disappointed office-seeker," shot James Garfield. Crete was at her husband's side constantly, exhibiting a calm courage for both the President and the nation. It is not clear whether she forestalled talk of Vice President Chester Arthur assuming the duties of the wounded Garfield. But such a discussion seems not to have taken place, and Garfield -- at least on paper -- continued to run the government. Although at times the President seemed to rally, he lost his struggle and died on September 19, 1881. Because her husband's presidency was cut short, Lucretia Rudolph Garfield will be remembered mostly for her loving devotion to her dying husband. Yet Crete was much more than simply a helpmate and a nurse she was also a scholar and an intellectual, a fitting role model for future First Ladies who wanted to be more than just their husbands' wives and their nation's social hostesses.


Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

(1832–1918). On July 2, 1881, while she was recuperating from malaria at a cottage along the New Jersey shore, Lucretia Garfield received a telegram informing her that her husband, United States president James A. Garfield, had been shot by a mentally disturbed man. In spite of her condition, the first lady immediately went to his side and cared for him until his death, earning the nation’s sympathy and respect in the process.

Lucretia Rudolph, known to her friends and family as Crete, was born on April 19, 1832, on a farm near Garrettsville, Ohio. Although she and Garfield attended the same school as teenagers, she did not really notice him until he took over the teaching of her Greek class at Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College). She taught school in several towns and he attended college in the East before they finally decided to wed, marrying on Nov. 11, 1858.

The newlyweds spent much of their early married life apart because of his political career and service in the American Civil War. After his election to the United States Congress in 1862, however, Lucretia made it clear that she wanted the family to stay together, and they moved from Ohio to Washington, D.C. The couple raised five children—Harry, James, Mary, Irvin, and Abram—and two others died in infancy. The Garfields shared a love of reading and enjoyed literary circles. They also preferred family recreation at home to formal social functions.

Garfield was a surprise choice for the Republican nomination in the 1880 presidential election. Although she supported his candidacy, Lucretia displayed her usual need for privacy and would not pose for campaign photographs. She was a hospitable first lady, though, and until her illness hosted twice-weekly receptions and many dinners.

Lucretia received an outpouring of condolences from throughout the world following her husband’s death on Sept. 19, 1881. Businessman Cyrus Field conducted a national fund-raiser to provide for the widow and her children. The family lived comfortably on that money plus the funds given to them by Congress. They returned to the family farm in Ohio. Lucretia stayed out of the public eye and spent much of the rest of her life preserving and organizing the records of Garfield’s career. She died on March 14, 1918, in South Pasadena, Calif.


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