LUCRETIA GARFIELD SIGNED FREE FRANK, "Lucretia Garfield", 4.5 x 3.5, mourning bordered envelope, July 17, 1888 postmark, West Mentor, Ohio, address in her hand, by the U.S. First Lady and widow of U.S. President Garfield to "Mrs. J. H. Shaw, 98 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio". An interesting note of Cleveland, OH history: Mrs Shaw donated part of her farmland for what is now Shaw High School. Other than a few small stains it is in fine condition.
Lucretia Garfield (1832-1918) was the First Lady of the United States from March to September 1881, as the wife of James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States. In July 1881, James Garfield was shot and mortally wounded by Charles Guiteau. He lingered for two and half months before dying, during which his wife stayed at his bedside and received much public sympathy. Lucretia Garfield returned to her former residence in Ohio after being widowed. She spent much of the rest of her life preserving her husband's papers and other materials, establishing what was effectively the first presidential library. She survived her assassinated husband by more than 36 years, always used black-bordered stationery after his death. When writing or speaking about him, she referred to him as "General Garfield" (Major General in the Civil War), never as "President Garfield". Mrs. Garfield was granted free use of the mails by a special act of Congress on December 20, 1881.