Biographical Chronology

HAG=Harry Augustus Garfield

Oct. 11, 1863

HAG is born in Hiram, Ohio to Lucretia R. and General James A. Garfield. General Garfield is away serving in the Union Army at the time of his son's birth. Garfield spends his childhood years between Washington D.C. (while his father serves in Congress) and Hiram and Mentor, Ohio.


HAG attends St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H.

Nov. 1880

James A. Garfield is elected 20th President of the United States.


HAG returns to Washington in 1881 to be privately tutored.

July 2, 1881

James A. Garfield is shot at the Washington train station while enroute to Williamstown to attend his class reunion. HAG and his brother James R. are accompanying their father on the trip.

Sep. 5, 1881

HAG and James R. enter Williams College.

Sep. 19, 1881

James A. Garfield dies at Elberon, N.J.


HAG attends Williams College where he is a member of Alpha Delta Phi, the Philologian Society, Glee Club, church choir and the Athenaeum writing staff.


HAG teaches Latin and ancient history at St. Paul's School.


HAG studies at Columbia Law School, and spends the second year reading law at All Soul's College, Oxford and the Inns Court, London.


HAG practices law in Cleveland, Ohio in partnership with his brother James.

June 14, 1888

HAG marries Belle Mason, his third cousin. His sister Mollie marries Joseph Stanley-Brown in the double wedding ceremony.

Oct. 28, 1889

The Garfields' first child James is born.


HAG serves as Professor of Contracts at Western Reserve Law School.

Oct. 3, 1892

Mason, the Garfields' second son, is born.

Jan. 18, 1894

Lucretia, the Garfields' only daughter, is born.

Aug. 3, 1895

Stanton, the fourth and last of the Garfields' children, is born.


HAG becomes a charter member of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. He serves as chairman of the building committee 1895-1898 and then as president 1898 .


HAG helps organize the Cleveland Trust Co.


HAG serves as a charter member and the first president of the Cleveland Municipal Association.


HAG serves as trustee of Western Reserve University.


HAG manages a syndicate for Ohio railroad companies. The syndicate is involved in the development of coal mines and the transportation of coal to markets.


HAG serves as president of the National Consular Reorganization Committee. The committee works to abolish political patronage in consular appointments.


Woodrow Wilson appoints HAG Professor of Politics at Princeton University.


HAG accepts appointment as the President of Williams College.


HAG is inducted as the eighth President of Williams College.


HAG serves as Chairman of the Price Committee of the United States Food Administration. The Committee fixes the price of the 1917 wheat crop.


HAG serves as Fuel Administrator of the United States Fuel Administration. The Administration regulates the production, price and distribution of coal during World War I. Garfield takes a leave of absence from his duties as Williams College President.

Mar. 13, 1918

Lucretia R. Garfield dies in Pasadena, Calif. after a lengthy illness.


HAG receives the Distinguished Service Medal presented by Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker.


The first Institute of Politics is held in August.


The last session of the Institute of Politics is held. HAG cites lack of funds as the demise of the Institute.

Oct. 1933

HAG announces his will resign from the Williams College presidency in June 1934.


HAG retires and begins a one-year round-the-world trip with Belle.


The Garfields return to the U.S. and settle in Washington D.C. where HAG spends time studying international problems. The Garfields continue to spend their summers in Williamstown and Duxbury.


HAG accepts an appointment to the War Department Defense Board, a fourteen-member board whose purpose is to study applications of the Excess Profits Law during World War II.

Dec. 12, 1942

HAG dies of natural causes at the Williamstown Inn.

Historical Note: Harry A. Garfield was appointed U.S. Fuel Administrator by President Woodrow Wilson on August 10, 1917. Garfield, taking a leave of absence from Williams College, assumed office on September 1, 1917. The main objective of the U.S. Fuel Administration was to maintain and manage the supply of fuel, especially coal, during wartime. In order to obtain this objective, it was necessary for the government to control production, supply, and prices. As Fuel Administrator, Garfield handed down dozens of administrative orders that dictated what coal producers and transporters could and could not do. These decisions, which were not always popular, were credited with the successful maintenance of the coal supply and non-stop operation of war industries. The Fuel Administration officially ceased its operations July 1, 1919 after requests for continued funding were denied. Wrap up of the Administration continued for several months. Records were transferred to the Department of the Interior, the Treasury Department completed a final audit, and a final report of all operations was published.

The easing of government regulations at the close of the Fuel Administration left mineworkers and operators uncertain of future contracts. Mineworkers eventually went on strike and demanded new contracts with higher wages. As production of coal dropped and reserves were depleted, prices soared. In October 1919, Garfield was called back to his post as Fuel Administrator to stabilize prices. Garfield proposed a five-point plan to ease the conflict. One of his points proposed the creation of an advisory board made up of workers, operators and the public. This board would not have the power to set wages or prices, but merely advise. Instead of an advisory board, a commission with voting power was proposed by President Woodrow Wilson. Garfield disagreed with the proposal citing that the interest of the public could easily be out voted. Garfield resigned as U.S. Fuel Administrator on December 13, 1919.

Biographical Sources and Related Collections

Botsford, E. Herbert. Fifty Years at Williams, Under the Administrations of Presidents Chadbourne, Carter, Hewitt, Hopkins and Garfield. Vol. IV. Williamstown, Mass.: McClelland Press, 1940.

Comer, Lucretia Garfield. Harry Garfield's First Forty Years: Man of Action in a Troubled World . New York: Vantage Press, c1965.

Comer, Lucretia Garfield. Strands from the Weaving . New York: Vantage Press, c1959.

Lewis, R. Cragin, ed. Williams 1793-1993 : A Pictorial History . Williamstown, Mass.: Williams College Bicentennial Commission, 1993.

Records of Harry A. Garfield, Fuel Administrator, 1917-1919; Records of the Executive Office, RG67; National Archives Building, College Park, MD.

Records of George E. Howes, Executive Secretary and Historian, 1918-1919; Records of the Executive Office, RG67; National Archives Building, College Park, MD.

Washington, D.C. Library of Congress Manuscript Division. Papers of Harry Augustus Garfield, 1888-1934.

Williams College President's Office, Harry A. Garfield Papers, 1908-1934. Archives and Special Collections, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.

Harry A. Garfield (1863-1942)
Papers, 1880-1934.

Scope and Content