Overlooked No More: Julia Sand, Whose Letters Inspired a President

A housebound New York woman sought to influence the heart of Chester A. Arthur at a time when no one believed in him.

A portrait of Julia Sand from the book “The Unexpected President.” In nearly two dozen letters she advised, cajoled and scolded Arthur on policy matters large and small.CreditDa Capo Press

Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.

Julia Sand was 31, unmarried and homebound from an illness when she wrote the first of a remarkable series of letters to Chester A. Arthur.

It was the summer of 1881 and President James Garfield was dying a slow death after being shot. Arthur, his vice president, was a notorious member of the…

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