A collection containing materials from United States presidential inaugurations is now available on the American Memory collections Web site at www.loc.gov. "'I Do Solemnly Swear': Presidential Inaugurations" is a presentation of 400 items from each of the inaugurations, from George Washington's in 1789 to Bill Clinton's in 1997. Materials from George W. Bush's inauguration will be available sometime in March.
The collection represents a collaborative effort between the Library and other institutions. In addition to items selected from the Library's photographic and manuscript collections, materials were contributed by the Architect of the Capitol, the White House and the U.S. Senate Office of the Sergeant at Arms. The Web site offers associated searchable text transcriptions of inaugural addresses through a cooperative effort with Yale Law School's Avalon Project, an online archives dedicated to providing historical and legal documents in the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government.
The Library has many treasures among its papers of 23 presidents and those of their contemporaries. A representative selection of papers for each inauguration is presented in the collection to encourage further research and study.
With support from the Madison Council, the Library's private-sector advisory group, the collection includes newly scanned items and items already available in other American Memory collections such as: "A Century of Lawmaking," "The Papers of George Washington," "Music for the Nation," "Words and Deeds," "Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film," "Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project" and others.
Included in the collection are diaries, letters, photographs, programs and sheet music that document the ceremonial aspects of presidential inaugurations. The handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses provide a glimpse at how these speeches were crafted.
This new collection has been added to the more than 90 already freely available from American Memory, which is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress.
The latest Web site from the Library is aimed at kids and families. The colorful and interactive "America's Library" (www.americaslibrary.gov) invites users to "Log On - Play Around - Learn Something."