Her birthplace is Hiram, Ohio. Her father’s name was Zeb Rudolph.
She first met James A. Garfield while both were attending a school. They renewed their friendship in 1851 as students of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute. They married on 11 November 1858.
In 1881, Garfield became the President of the United States. The family moved into the White House. Even at the age of 49, she was slim and looked lovely. She was not very much interested in her role as the First Lady. But, she was a charming lady and hosted parties at the White House. In May 1881, she fell ill and was suffering from malaria. She was resting at Long Branch, New Jersey, and was yet to become fit. At that time, she heard the news that someone had shot President Garfield, her husband. She rushed to Washington by train. On its way, the train met with an accident. She did not suffer any injury. When she reached Washington, she remained by the side of her husband. He could not remain alive and died after about three months.
After his death, she left for Ohio. There she lived for 36 years, and spend her time in arranging and caring for the records of her husband’s career. A part of her home became a library for presidential library of her husband’s papers. She died in Pasadena, California.