|National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of the International Business Machines Corporation to the Smithsonian Institution, 1962. NPG.65.25|
Garfield corresponded with Henry about a variety of subjects related to Smithsonian business, from natural history expeditions to the Smithsonian’s scientific publications. While their acquaintance may have begun on Smithsonian business, Baird also corresponded with Garfield on other matters important to him as well. Garfield’s position in the U.S. House of Representatives made him a valuable ally when seeking funding for new scientific expeditions or an alteration in U.S. government policy.
|Broadside for "The Grand Fete to Garfield and Arthur at the National Museum Building." Smithsonian Institution Archives. Negative Number 75-11115.|
Alexander Graham Bell even tried a newly-invented metal detector in an attempt to find the bullet. Bell and Garfield shared a connection to the Smithsonian. Joseph Henry was a mentor and close friend of Bell, encouraging his research and experiments. As a member of the Board of Regents and fellow correspondent of Henry, it is possible that Garfield made Bell’s acquaintance through their mutual friend Joseph Henry and the Smithsonian Institution. And Bell followed in Garfield’s footsteps, serving on the Smithsonian Board of Regents from 1898 to 1922.