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Art and Images in Psychiatry |

An Office or Your Life

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(11):1098. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.110.
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President James A. Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at 9:30 AM July 2, 1881, less than four months into his term as the 20th President of the United States. His assailant lay in wait at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station (the current site of the National Gallery of Art). Garfield died eleven weeks later on September 19, 1881. His death unified the entire country and its territories as they collectively grieved. Mourning his loss was healing in the aftermath of the War Between the States. So revered was Garfield that, in places as remote as Helena, Montana, the territorial newspaper quoted Shakespeare's Hamlet (epigraph) in an editorial expression of grief.

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James Wales (1852-1886), American. An Office or Your Life, cover of Puck, July 13, 1881. Image size: 2284 × 3125 pixels. Photo credit: Culver Pictures/The Art Archive at Art Resource, New York, New York.

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