Noted Presidential Historian, CNN Contributor to Speak at Lake Erie College

James A. Garfield National Historic Site announces a partnership with the James A. Garfield Alliance and Lake Erie College to host a public program by presidential historian and CNN contributor Dr. Thomas Balcerski on Thursday evening, September 23, 2021. The public program will take place at 7 p.m. in the Helen Rockwell Morley Memorial Music Building on Lake Erie College’s campus. It is free and open to the public.

The presentation is entitled “James A. Garfield and the Seven Presidents of Long Branch, New Jersey.” Dr. Balcerski, a New Jersey native, will discuss the many U.S. presidents who vacationed or spent significant time in the resort town of Long Branch, New Jersey, and will give special emphasis to northeast Ohio’s favorite son, President James A. Garfield.

Dr. Thomas Balcerski is an Associate Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University. A scholar of early American history, he holds a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. His research interests include U.S. presidents, first ladies, and American political history. He has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, and NBC Connecticut to discuss presidential history, and his written work has appeared in numerous history journals, on, and in the Washington Post. In 2019, Oxford University Press published his book, Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, which explores the personal and political relationship of those two nineteenth-century Democrats. His new book project is a history of the Democratic Party, America’s oldest partisan political institution.

“We’re excited to help bring Dr. Balcerski to northeast Ohio,” said Todd Arrington, Site Manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site. “We’ve gotten to know him through interactions on social media and in reading his work in various places, and we’re glad to note that he’s a fan of President Garfield. We’re especially excited to work with our non-profit partner, the James A. Garfield Alliance, and Lake Erie College to make this fascinating program free to the public.”

“I am thrilled to share my research into the history of America’s ‘Summer Capital’ with the people of northeast Ohio and the good folks at James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Lake Erie College, and the James A. Garfield Alliance,” said Dr. Balcerski. “In terms of public outreach-especially on social media-no one can beat the Garfield home’s team. Their work in interpreting the life and times of our twentieth president is commendable.”

The James A. Garfield Alliance preserves Garfield’s legacy by supporting James A. Garfield National Historic Site through philanthropy and inspiring communities into action. It advocates for the site by supporting educational and community programs and other needs that enhance the public use and enjoyment of the historic site. President Garfield visited what is now Lake Erie College in Painesville several times during his years of residence in Mentor, including in November 1880, just two weeks after his election as the nation’s twentieth president. Years later, his son, James R. Garfield, was a longtime trustee of Lake Erie College.

Lake Erie College, founded in 1856, provides an excellent, inclusive, and highly personalized education grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Grounded by hope and care, students are empowered to lead lives of personal significance and professional success as global citizens. The college offers 35 undergraduate majors and master’s programs in business administration, education, and physician assistant studies. Students compete in 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports and on three intercollegiate equestrian teams.

Lake Erie College’s main entrance is at 475 Mentor Avenue in Painesville. Enter the campus at this address and turn immediately to the right, then take the first left into the parking lot. The Morley Memorial Music Building is #4 on the Lake Erie College Main Campus map found here.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site is located at 8095 Mentor Avenue (U.S. 20) in Mentor, Ohio, approximately 25 miles east of Cleveland. The site offers guided tours of the historic Garfield home, museum exhibits, a biographical film, walking paths, and two outdoor cell phone tours. For information, visit, call (440) 255-8722, or write 8095 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, OH 44060. Find the site as @GarfieldNPS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.