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James A. Garfield Signed Document

James A. Garfield Signed Document

Rare foreign affairs document as president
  • Historical Background

    Ernest Dichman was appointed Minister Resident to Colombia by Pres. Hayes in 1878. On May 19,1881, President Garfield appointed George R. Maney to replace Dichman, at the request of the Colombian government. It seems that Dichman had difficulties working with Colombian official Dr. Becerra, the Secretary of Public Instruction and Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs.


    In an ironic twist of fate, it seems that both Garfield and Maney had been generals during the Civil War just two decades earlier, on opposing sides. Ohio-born Garfield had served in the Union, while Maney, a native of Tennessee, was a Confederate. Each man fought a number of battles, and the two actually faced each other at the Battle of Chickamauga.


    This document dates to just six weeks before Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau, an injury that proved fatal in September. As he was in office for a mere six months—and incapacitated for two—documents signed as president are very scarce.

  • Description

    Partly-printed DS as president, one page, 8 x 10, May 21,1881. President Garfield directs the “Secretary of State to cause the Seal of the United States to be affixed to an envelope containing the letter of Recall of Mr. Dichman, as Minister Resident of the U. S. to Colombia.”

    An abrasion at the “ames” in his signature expertly and inconspicuously effaced to restore its original appearance, resulting in the boldest known signature from Garfield. Light intersecting folds, otherwise in fine condition.

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