Lucretia Garfield as presented by Tammy Souhrada (Living History Nights)

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Lucretia Garfield Living History 2024

 

Join First Lady Lucretia Garfield on Friday, July 19 at 7:00 PM in the library's Riverside Room as she talks about her early life in Ohio and her life as First Lady before and after the death of President James A. Garfield.

Local musician Barb White will be performing from 6:15 - 6:45 PM.

Tammy Souhrada's living history portrayal of Lucretia Garfield will begin at 7:00 PM. A Q & A session will follow the performance. Questions can first be asked to Ms. Souhrada as Garfield, and then to Souhrada as herself.

Refreshments will be available for a donation from 6:00 - 6:45 PM and after the Q & A session.

If at all possible, attendees are asked to park in the gravel lot directly across from the Library on Spruce Street.

What is "Living History Nights"? Performances that bring history to life. Each night a scholar/living historian will assume the role of a notable historical figure and perform a monologue based on the life of that individual. This will be followed by an audience Q & A session with questions addressed to both the character and the scholar/living historian.

This event, presented by the Gallipolis Living History Nights Committee, is suitable for all ages and is free and open to the public.

Please note that in order to maintain the authenticity of the historical character, some mild language may be used in the course of the performance.

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (1832-1918) was born in Garrettsville, Ohio to parents who felt that education was important for all their children: male and female alike.

After grammar school, Lucretia attended the Geauga Seminary and then the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), co-founded by her father. Lucretia loved literature and the classical world and while at school started a literary society and edited a school magazine. She became fluent in French, German, Latin, and Ancient Greek.

Lucretia met her future husband, James Garfield, at Geauga Seminary and, after a long courtship, they were married in 1858. During those first years of marriage, James spent many, many months away from home and soon because disenchanted with married life and rumors circulated that he became romantically involved with other women. After the death of their first child and the grief that they shared, the marriage between Lucretia and James grew stronger.

In 1880, Garfield was nominated as the "dark horse" Republican candidate for President. Highly educated and very much interested in politics, Lucretia was a regular advisor for her husband and helped assist him with his campaign for the presidency. Becoming First Lady in March 1881, Lucretia relished the opportunity to meet prominent writers and artists. One of her goals as First Lady was to research the history and furnishings of the Executive Mansion and lobby for funds to make some much needed repairs.

In May 1881, Lucretia developed a life-threatening case of malaria and was advised to finish her recuperation at the beach in Long Branch, NJ. It was here that she received word that her husband had been shot. Over the next three months, Lucretia stayed by James' bedside as his health deteriorated. Her devotion earned her the sympathy and admiration of the nation.

Once widowed, Lucretia moved back to Ohio and, over the years, worked to preserve the records of her husband's presidency and, in doing so, established what would be the first presidential library. (courtesy of History.com, the National Park Service, and Wikipedia)

Tammy Souhrada is a reading teacher who has lived in Mount Vernon, Ohio since 1995. She is married with three grown children. Not quite an empty nester, she does have two babies of the four-legged variety to keep her company.

A lover of theater, she has written several short plays and maintains a position on the Mount Vernon Players community theater board.

Previous living history portrayals have included Lizzie Borden, Typhoid Mary, Agatha Christie, Alexandra Feodorovna, a Lady of Pompeii, Mary Shelley, and Madame Curie.