Abram Garfield, the youngest son of President James A. Garfield, received a bachelor of arts from Williams College in 1893 and a bachelor of science in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology three years later. By 1898, Garfield had joined with Frank Meade to form the architectural firm Meade & Garfield in Cleveland, Ohio; the firm was noted for its residential designs. When the partnership ended in 1905, Garfield opened his own firm, which he ran until 1951. Garfield specialized in residential architecture, designing large residences in Shaker Heights and other Cleveland suburbs, but his work also included more modest homes for the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority and institutional projects such as schools and a hospital. Garfield served as chairman of the Cleveland Planning Commission from 1930 to 1942 and was a founder and first president of the Cleveland School of Architecture, which became part of Case Western Reserve University in 1941. He was named a trustee of the university that year and two years later was made an honorary lifetime member of the board; he received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1945. Garfield was also a director of the American Institute of Architects from 1919 to 1922.