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INV-24707 JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD Document Signed (“James A. Garfield”) as President, 1 p., folio, Washington D.C., February 18, 1881 (but actually signed after March 4 and before July 2, 1881), partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, appointing William J. Bryan as Postmaster of Brenham, Washington County, Texas; countersigned by Thomas L. James as Postmaster General. Gold Post Office seal with two red ribbons affixed to lower left; folding creases; some blearing to last three letters of signature; small loss at meeting of two folds; faint offset to signature from seal. 1881-02-18

Garfield’s presidential documents are rare. He was inaugurated on March 4, and shot by a crazed office-seeking assassin, Charles Guiteau, on July 2. Garfield lingered until September 19, but was unable to fulfil his presidential duties. Though this document is dated two weeks before Garfield took office, given the time it took for preparation and presentation for signing, this was not an unusual practice. The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate records Bryan’s nomination by President Rutherford B. Hayes, on February 11, 1881, and approval by the Senate on February 18. The clerk did make an error, though, conflating the appointee and his town, writing “William J. Brenham” in the second name blank. Besides the general rarity of Garfield’s presidential documents, we have seen very few of his documents relating to Texas.

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