Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coins

The Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coins mark the twenty-first strike in the series and the last of four to be issued in 2011. The series honors the spouses of the former Presidents of the United States.

2011 Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Coin Line ArtEach coin is authorized by the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 and is struck from 1/2 ounce of 24-karat gold. The gold coins are available in either proof or uncirculated condition. The United States Mint also strikes bronze medal replicas of the Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coins.

A portrait of the honored individual is found on the obverse (heads side) of each First Spouse Gold Coin while the reverse (tails side) features Lucretia painting on a canvas with brush and palette in hand. The U.S. Mint plans to launch the coins and the bronze medal on December 1, 2011.

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield Biography (1832-1918)

Lucretia Garfield

Lucretia was the daughter of Zebulon and Arabella Rudolph. Her father was a farmer and a co-founder of the Eclectic Institute at Hiram. Surprisingly well-educated for a woman of her time, Lucretia was also known for her independence and willingness to take a position and defend it.

That attitude drew James Garfield to her after first meeting her at Geauga Seminary (which they both were attending). Still, Lucretia and James did not fervently pursue the relationship and each continued their own separate lives. James continued his schooling and Lucretia became a teacher. Finally, on November 11, 1858 the two married.

Unsatisfied with his chosen career as a teacher, James studied law and entered into the political world in 1859 serving as an Ohio State Senator. Then, in 1861, he joined the Union Army during the American Civil War. His service in both prevented the two from being together most of the time, but this was remedied in 1863 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives.

The two built a house in Washington, D.C. so that they could spend more time together, which they did. For the next two decades, the two were said to be nearly inseparable. Then, in 1881, James was elected to the Presidency of the United States. Lucretia did not out-right support his ambitions for the office feeling that his election would result in their personal life being affected.

Despite her misgivings, Lucretia was a warm and enjoyable hostess at the official functions of the White House. She immediately took an interest in the historical aspects of the official residence and even started to research the history of its past decorations. However, shortly into Garfield’s administration, Lucretia was struck with malaria and nearly died. Still recovering, she was moved to the New Jersey seaside for the salt air.

On July 2nd, Garfield was shot in an attempted assassination. Lucretia raced to his side where she continued to nurse him for months. Her strength and ambition during this time cemented a public love for her that she was not able to attain in her first few weeks in the White House. Following the death of James in September of 1881, Lucretia managed to organize all of the details for his official funeral.

Lucretia lived for 36 more years during which time she ensured the education of her children and grand-children. She was also instrumental in the remembrance of her husband helping to establish the first Presidential Library. She passed away on March 14, 1918.