July 2–5, 1881: “President Garfield shot by an assassin…”
As you may know, I collect handwritten ephemera: letters, cards, invitations, etc. I bought this pocket-size diary from 1881, thinking the writing might be a good reference source for a font […someday!]. I looked to see what the entry was for the 4th of July, hoping it would mention a parade or fireworks or a summertime luxury such as a drink with ice. It turns out the entry from July 2 is more interesting because it captures the day’s disastrous news: “President Garfield shot by an assassin twice at Depot in Washington. He got very near death…”
The next day, he wrote, “The President still lives + hopes are entertained of his recovery. Attended prayer meeting.” On the 4th of July he wrote, “News very bad from Washington all day Extras issued from all the offices…” But things look better by the 5th when he notes “News better from Pres. Garfield. Sleeps better.”
Unfortunately, eleven weeks later, Garfield would be dead.