Title James Garfield
Number 52059
Size 16mo
Date 1870
Place n.p.
Category Presidential
Price $2,000.00
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Garfield quotes from a new poem by James Russell Lowell on the title page of a presentation copy of Townsend’s “Lost Abroad” – then criticizes the dialogue of one of its characters.
The first Presidential memorial library, completed at the Lawnfield estate in Ohio by the widow of James Garfield four years after his assassination, houses almost 3,000 books that were used and treasured by the 20th president. Books were a scarce commodity to young James, who lost his father before the age of two, and was raised by his mother who struggled to maintain a humble existence. Both James Garfield and his wife Lucretia were voracious readers and amassed a large collection of books. Some twenty years ago, several dozen of his books were de-accessioned, and one of these books is described below:

Book with notations by Garfield in pencil. “Lost Abroad” by Geo. Alfred Townsend.” Hartford, Conn.” S.M. Betts and Company, 1870. 594 pages, 5” x 7”. Garfield’s 2.75” x 1.5” bookplate “Inter Folia Fructus / Library of / James A. Garfield” affixed inside front cover. Inscribed on verso of frontispiece, “General Garfield, / a good Congressman, /. From a reporter of things, / Geo. Alfred Townsend.” Offset on bookplate from chocolate front free-endpaper. Foxing on pages. Navy cloth boards with gilt design and lettering on spine. Text block loose but attached. Covers, joints, and hinges worn; back hinge tears. Good condition.

Congressman Garfield has written in pencil on the title page, beneath a printed quote of Percy Bysshe Shelley (“A spirit in my feet has led me – who knows how? – To thy chamber window, sweet. – Shelley") the following: “With awkward senses furloughed & head bowed / I followed some fine instinct in my feet / Cathedral p 21 / See Lowells ‘Cathedral’.” These words appear on top of page 21 of James Russell Lowell’s “The Cathedral” (Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1870), followed by “Till, to unbend me from the loom of thought, / Looking up suddenly, I found mine eyes / Confronted with the minister’s vast repose.”

In his novel “Lost Abroad,” Townsend tells of the travels of Mr. Applegate Shrink in 47 chapters. Chapter II is titled “The Contractor’s Family.” Garfield is critical of this paragraph written by Townsend on page 25: “‘My dear,’ said the little gentleman, ‘if you turn my mind from its natural drift, it will stagnate. You go to Europe for one thing, I for another. I buy you fine dresses. Show ’em. If you can get into society, stay there. But you must let me speculate on profit and risk, or I shall go mad.’ ‘Speculate as you like, Titus Oates,’ answered the lady, ‘only hold your tongue.’ ‘I can't, my dear,’ protested Mr. Oates; ‘if I see anything it’s essential to ask what it cost. If I don't know what it costs, how can I enjoy it? If anything has been constructed, a house, a fort, a government, a world, I must know the terms of agreement. You reason, my dear, from cause to effect; I supply a third item, – it is cause, contract and effect. You say that two persons are necessary to a bargain; I maintain that there are three.”

Garfield brackets the lines quoted above and pencils in the blank right margin: “An ignorant contractor like Oates dosnt philosophize in this way-” Garfield has underlined a few words throughout the book which he undoubtedly read.
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