Skip to main content

James Garfield

James Garfield
Ole Peter Hansen Balling, 13 Apr 1823 - 1 May 1906
James Abram Garfield, 19 Nov 1831 - 19 Sep 1881
Oil on canvas
Frame (Verified): 78.1 x 67.9 x 6.4cm (30 3/4 x 26 3/4 x 2 1/2")
Stretcher: 61 × 50.8cm (24 × 20")
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
Costume\Dress Accessory\Neckwear\Tie\Bowtie
James Abram Garfield: Male
James Abram Garfield: Law and Crime\Lawyer
James Abram Garfield: Natural Resource Occupations\Agriculturist\Farmer
James Abram Garfield: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\General
James Abram Garfield: Education and Scholarship\Educator\Teacher
James Abram Garfield: Education and Scholarship\Educator\Professor\College
James Abram Garfield: Politics and Government\President of US
James Abram Garfield: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Ohio
James Abram Garfield: Education and Scholarship\Administrator\College administrator\President
James Abram Garfield: Politics and Government\State Senator\Ohio
James Abram Garfield: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\Major General
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of the International Business Machines Corporation to the Smithsonian Institution, 1962
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Twentieth president, 1881
James Garfield became president during a period when the Republican Party was split between two rival wings: the Stalwarts, who supported a system of nepotistic patronage, and the Half-Breeds, who opposed such a system. He tried to unite the party by appointing members of both factions to important positions within his administration while staying true to his own reformist sympathies. Like Rutherford B. Hayes before him, Garfield started to implement some modest changes aimed at curbing corruption and nepotism in the civil service, focusing mainly on the postal system and the New York Customs House. While these policies had little immediate effect, they served to set the stage for future reforms. Ultimately, Garfield was unable to accomplish much; less than a year after he became president, he was shot and killed by Charles Guiteau, a deranged office-seeker and self-proclaimed Stalwart.
20o presidente, 1881
James Garfield asumió la presidencia durante una etapa en que el Partido Republicano estaba dividido entre dos facciones rivales: los Stalwarts (incondicionales), que favorecían un sistema de patrocinio nepotista, y los Half-Breeds (moderados), que se oponían a dicho sistema. Garfield trató de unificar el partido designando a miembros de ambas facciones para puestos importantes en su administración, sin dejar de ser fiel a sus propias simpatías reformistas. Al igual que su predecesor Rutherford B. Hayes, Garfield comenzó a imponer cambios modestos a fin de contener la corrupción y el nepotismo en el servicio civil, sobre todo en el sistema de correos y la Aduana de Nueva York. Aunque estas normas tuvieron poco efecto inmediato, abrieron el camino a reformas futuras. Al fin y a la postre, Garfield no alcanzó muchos logros; a menos de un año de ser electo presidente, fue asesinado por Charles Guiteau, un demente que aspiraba a un cargo en el gobierno y que se identificaba como Stalwart.
International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, N.Y.; gift 1961 to NCFA; transferred 1965 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, West Gallery 210