“I Do Solemnly Swear...” Inaugural Materials from the Collections of the Library of Congress

Washington's First Inauguration, April 30, 1789

George Washington passed through several cities--including Philadelphia and Trenton--on the way from his home at Mount Vernon to his first inauguration at Federal Hall in New York City, then the temporary capital of the United States. Aware of the importance of this national ritual, Washington set many precedents during his first inauguration: the swearing-in took place outside; the oath was taken upon a Bible; an inaugural address was given (to the assembled Congress inside the Hall) the contents of which set the pattern for all subsequent addresses; and festivities accompanied the inauguration, including a church service, a parade, and fireworks.

Featured is a letter from Washington to Henry Knox addressing the quality of the cloth and buttons that would be used for Washington's suit of plain brown cloth. Also shown is a letter by the first Inaugural Committee on Ceremony in the Senate that created the first order of ceremony and formal reception. This Currier & Ives image captures the public adulation that greeted the first president-elect along his route to New York.

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  • Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888). James M. Ives (1824-1895). Washington's reception by the Ladies, on Passing the Bridge at Trenton, N.J. , April, 1789: on his way to New York to be inaugurated first President of the United States. New York: N. Currier, ca.1845. Lithograph. Prints & Photograph Division, Library of Congress (3A) LC-USZC4-703 [cph 3b52213]

  • Inaugural Committee on Ceremony in the Senate, April 27, 1789 [in secretary's hand]. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (3)

  • George Washington (1732-1799) to Henry Knox (1750-1806). Manuscript letter in hand of Washington's secretary, April 10, 1789. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (1)

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Jefferson's Draft of First Inaugural Address

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was the first to be inaugurated in the capital city of Washington, D.C. The ceremonies took place on March 4, 1801, in the Senate wing of the not yet finished Capitol building. Chief Justice John Marshall administered the oath of office to Jefferson, the first of five presidents-elect he would induct. In his speech Jefferson attempted to assuage the bitter rivalry between the Federalist and Republicans that had culminated in the deadlock election broken by Congress's election of Jefferson on the thirty-sixth ballot. Jefferson remarked: "but every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principles. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists." Jefferson's sentiments notwithstanding, his predecessor, former president John Adams, did not attend the ceremony--the first president to do so. Also featured is a hymn called "Pieces" dedicated to Jefferson, which includes an invocation, a hymn with chorus, and an oration, for a large city-wide celebration in Philadelphia on the occasion of Jefferson's inauguration.

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  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Holograph manuscript, 1801. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (4A)

  • "Pieces". Sheet Music. March 4, 1801. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (5)

  • William Russell Birch (1755-1834), artist. A View of the Capitol of Washington before it was Burnt Down by the British, ca. 1800. Copyprint from the original watercolor. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (5A) LC-USZC4-247 [cph.3a05552]

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Jackson's First Inauguration

The 1829 and 1833 inaugural speeches made by Andrew Jackson were brief and to the point. They belie the tumultuous character of his two administrations, in which the questions of nullification (i.e. permitting states to nullify federal legislation), creation of a national bank, the "spoils" system (when a conferral of office is made on people based upon political concerns rather than fitness for office), a democratic party representative of the "people," and "kitchen cabinet" advisors (unofficial advisors to the president) came to the fore. Jackson's 1829 inaugural was the first in which the people played a significant role and which they attended en masse.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). Inaugural Address, March 4, 1829. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division (8)

Read the transcript

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A White House Mob

This frontispiece illustrates the raucousness of the crowd in front of the White House at Andrew Jackson's first inaugural reception in 1829. During the inaugural festivities, the rowdy mob broke windows, tore down curtains, and stood upon the furniture in their muddy boots. Servants dragged tubs of punch onto the lawn to draw the unruly mob out of the president's house in order to minimize the destruction. Also shown is a letter from South Carolina Representative James Hamilton (1786-1857) to Secretary of State-elect Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) the day after the event that characterizes the occasion as a "regular Saturnalia."

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  • President's Levee, or All Creation Going to the White House, Washington, [March 4, 1829]. Illustrated in The Playfair Papers, London: Saunders and Otley, 1841. Frontispiece. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (10)

  • James Hamilton to Martin Van Buren, March 5, 1829. Holograph letter. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (9)

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William Harrison's Inauguration

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), who served the shortest presidential term, gave the longest inaugural address. Harrison was inaugurated on March 4, 1841, on a cold, wet day and, refusing to wear a hat or coat, caught cold. He then attended three inaugural balls in the evening. Harrison's "Tippecanoe" ball was held at the District's Carusi's Saloon with approximately 1,000 people paying ten dollars each to attend. The president's cold lingered and then turned more serious. On April 4, 1841, he succumbed to pneumonia, becoming the first president to die in office.

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The Tippecanoe or Log Cabin Quick Step

This lithograph shows an illustrated sheet music cover for a melody composed by Henry Schmidt and dedicated to Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison. A wreath of entwined branches, between which appear the seals of the states, is surmounted by a bust portrait of Harrison flanked by an arrangement of flags and cannon. The wreath frames a rural scene, supposedly of the candidate's home on the North Bend of the Ohio River. Harrison stands outside the two-story log house, hailing a visitor who holds a sign saying, "Harrison Our President." At the time, Harrison was know for winning the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe against leaders of the Shawnee Nation in Indiana.

John H. Bufford, artist. The Tippecanoe or Log Cabin Quick Step. Boston: Henry Prentiss, 1840. Lithograph on wove paper. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (11) LC-USZ62-92277 [cph 3b45139]

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James K. Polk's Inauguration

Elected with a public mandate for the admission of Texas into the Federal Union, James K. Polk underscored this mandate in his inaugural speech and became the eleventh president of the United States on March 4, 1845. With Polk's encouragement and support, Congress approved a joint-resolution to offer Texas statehood on February 28, 1845. The following July, the Texas legislature accepted. On December 29, 1845, Polk signed the Texas Admissions Act, making Texas the twenty-eighth state to enter the Union. After a stormy term in office, including a successful war against Mexico to acquire Texas, Polk declined to run for re-election. Also shown is a congratulatory letter to the president-elect from Henry Ewing. <br>
James K. Polk (1795-1849)

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Zachary Taylor's Inauguration

President-elect Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) was accompanied by outgoing President James Polk to the inauguration ceremony on Monday, March 5, 1849, because March 4 fell on a Sunday. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Roger Taney on the east portico of the Capitol. In Taylor's speech he stated that his administration would be devoted to the welfare of the entire country and would not support any particular section or local interest. That evening Taylor attended several inaugural events, including a ball held at Judiciary Square. President Taylor served a little more than one year in office. He died in office July 9, 1850, of apparent food contamination poisoning Also shown is a leaflet with arrangements for the inauguration.

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Whig Nominee Zachary Taylor

This color campaign poster for Whig nominee Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) shows the victorious Mexican War general mounted on a white charger. He holds a wide-brimmed straw hat. Above his head, in a burst of light, a dove descends with an olive branch. A landscape with mountains appears in the background. The scene is flanked by two columns entwined with banners bearing the names of Taylor's victories: Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma on the left, and Monterey and Buena Vista on the right. On the base of the columns are the words "Justice" (left) and "Peace" (right), with corresponding female figures atop them. Both figures hold American flags that are draped across the top of the surrounding framework of the picture. On the ground below is a bundled fasces inscribed "Union."

Thomas W. Strong, engraver. Union. New York: Ackerman, ca. 1848. Woodcut on wove paper. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (17A) LC-USZC4-2713 [cph 3g02713]

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Zachary Taylor's Popularity

Although Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) was not formally nominated by the Whigs until June 1848, he had already begun to attract a following in 1846. This campaign banner, which later appeared as a sheet music cover, shows a portrait of Taylor, in civilian dress, head in profile and arms folded across his chest. Two oak branches form a wreath. Below the portrait is a couplet reflecting the candidate's still independent status: About party creeds let party zealots fight/He cant [sic] be wrong whose life is in the right. Enlarged on the back wall is a campaign banner for 1848 Whig party candidates Taylor and Millard Fillmore, his vice presidential running mate.

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  • For President of the People Zachary Taylor. Philadelphia: J.L. Rogers, ca. 1846. Lithograph on wove paper Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (17C) LC-USZ62-90706 [cph 3b37055]

  • Grand, National Whig Banner. Press Onward. New York: Nathaniel Currier, 1848. Copyprint from lithograph with watercolor. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (17F) LC-USZC2-584 [cph 3b48485]

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James Buchanan's Inauguration

James Buchanan (1791-1868), the fifteenth president of the United States and the first bachelor elected, was inaugurated on March 4, 1857. Although Buchanan won the election, defeating John C. Fremont of the newly formed Republican Party, he did not gain a majority of the popular vote. His early announcement that he would not seek a second term and his ambivalence regarding secession and union did not serve him well either in the North or the South. However, a large number of people did attend the inaugural ball. A special building for the event was constructed on Judiciary Square to accommodate 6,000 people.

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First-Known Photograph of an Inauguration

Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892), the supervisory engineer of the Capitol expansion and the future quartermaster general of the Union Army, pasted the first-known photograph of an inauguration beside his journal entry for March 4, 1857. Photographer John Wood experimented with the photographic process in anticipation of documenting James Buchanan's (1791-1868) inauguration. Meigs wrote: "Wood has been trying some photography process of great speed for the purpose of taking a view of the inauguration. He made a view of the front of the Capitol in which the figures are, many of them, quite distinct. It took about 4 seconds."

John Wood, photographer. Inauguration of James Buchanan, President of the United States, at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. Albumen print, March 4, 1857. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (19)

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Lincoln for President

During Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign, brightly colored banners, outrageous political cartoons, sentimental sheet music covers, and patriotic portraits were printed to promote the vote. The Library has a rich collection of graphic political ephemera. Shown here are, The "Wigwam" Grand March dedicated to the Republican presidential candidate, and the Republican party election ticket, part of the outstanding collection of Lincolniana donated by Alfred Whital Stern.

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Lincoln's Acceptance of the Nomination

In a letter to the Republican National Convention president George Ashmun of Massachusetts, Lincoln drafted this acceptance of the party's nomination and closed with these words:

Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were represented in the convention, to the rights of all the states, and territories, and people of the nation; to the inviolability of the constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony and prosperity for all, I am most happy to cooperate for the practical success of the principles, declared by the convention.

Abraham Lincoln to George Ashmun. Holograph draft, May 23, 1860. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (21C)

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Lincoln's 1861 Inauguration

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administered the oath of office to Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861, using the Bible shown here. The ceremony was witnessed by Clerk of the Supreme Court William Thomas Carroll, who recorded the occasion in the back of this Bible.

Bible. Oxford: 1853. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (23)

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An Observation of Lincoln's Inaugural Ceremony

Montgomery C. Meigs, the Supervisory Engineer of the Capitol expansion and the future Quartermaster General of the Union Army, witnessed the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861. Shown here is his diary, written in an archaic shorthand--called Pittman-- and a stereograph view of the Capitol. Meigs summarized the President's Address in his diary, but nowhere is the effect of the speech better depicted than in the account Captain Meigs wrote to his brother John:

It was a noble speech . . . delivered with a serious and solemn emphasis . . . No time was wasted in generalities or platitudes. . . and no one could doubt that he meant what he said. . . the disease of the body politic was analysed [sic], its character & its remedy pointed out, & each sentence fell like a sledge hammer driving in the nails which maintain the states.

Captain Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892). Holograph diary [in shorthand] entry for March 4, 1861. Inauguration of President Lincoln at the U.S. Capitol and stereograph view of the inaugural ceremony. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (24)

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Lincoln's Second Inauguration, March 4, 1865

For a good part of his first term as president, Abraham Lincoln doubted that he would be elected to a second term. In a letter to his cabinet members, including Secretary of State William H. Seward and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln dwells on the forthcoming election and the long hiatus between election and inauguration. Assuming that "this administration will not be reelected," Lincoln wrote "it will be my duty to so cooperate with the president-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save afterwards."

Lincoln was reelected, carrying 54 percent of the popular vote and all but three northern states--New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky. The president delivered his second inaugural address from the east portico of the Capitol with its newly completed iron dome on March 4, 1865. The power of the sentiment in his second inaugural address is deepened by its conciseness and brevity, particularly when read in counterpoint with Lincoln's first address. In his second address he concludes in his customary eloquence (shown in the last paragraph in red):

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

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Grant's Inauguration

Ulysses S. Grant, elected as the eighteenth president of the United States, wrote his first inaugural address entirely on his own. The result was a surprise lecture on the urgent need for reduction of the national debt. The issue of Reconstruction was scarcely mentioned. Grant may have accepted the responsibilities of the office of president "without fear," as he claimed, but also without knowledge of the problems that confronted the nation in the aftermath of the Civil War. Also shown is a Senate Gallery ticket to the inaugural and a photograph of a crowd looking towards the inaugural stand on the east portico of Capitol.

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Ulysses S. Grant Campaign Banner

This campaign banner for the 1868 Republican presidential and vice presidential ticket shows nominee Ulysses S. Grant and his running mate, former Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax, in bust portraits. They are framed by two American flags joined at the center by a shield with stars and stripes, on which perches an eagle. The flags are affixed in the upper corners of the picture by two stars. Grant won the general election in a landslide when he received 214 electoral college votes to the 80 for the Democratic nominee, Horatio Seymour, the Governor of New York.

National Union Republican Candidates. Hartford: Kellogg & Bulkeley, ca. 1868. Lithograph on wove paper. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (30)
LC-USZ62-7602 [cph 3a10246 ]

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Republican Nominee Rutherford B. Hayes

In this 1876 Republican campaign banner are portraits of Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) and his running mate, William A. Wheeler, framed with laurel wreaths. Hayes's election was one of the most controversial elections in U.S. history. The Democratic nominee, Samuel Tilden, the governor of New York, won the popular vote by more than 200,000 votes. In the electoral college, Tilden appeared to have won 203 electoral votes to Hayes's 166. Although all results showed that Tilden had won, the Republican Party disputed the outcome of the election claiming that blacks had been denied the right to vote in many parts of the South. In the end, a commission handed the victory to Hayes.

Grand National Republican Banner. New York: Currier & Ives, ca. 1876. Lithograph on wove paper. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (34) LC-USZC2-2490 [cph 3b50364]

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Hayes's Inauguration, March 5, 1877

The outcome of the election of 1876 was not known until the week before the inauguration itself. A fifteen-member Electoral Commission was appointed by Congress to deliberate the outcome of the election, which gave all of the disputed votes to the Republican candidate, Hayes. The inauguration was held in secret because Republicans feared for Hayes's life. He was elected president on March 2, 1877, and took the oath of office in the Red Room at the White House on March 3. On Monday, March 5, Hayes took the oath again on the east portico of the Capitol because March 4 was a Sunday. Chief Justice Morrison Waite administered both oaths.

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Garfield's Diary Entry for Hayes's Inauguration

Ohio Representative James Garfield described President Hayes's inauguration in his diary. He relates: "The President spoke clearly and forcibly, the Chief Justice administered the oath, opening a new Bible which Hayes kissed somewhere in the first eleven verses of the 118th psalm. Drove back with the Presidential party to the White House where a lunch had been prepared by Mrs. Grant." After the luncheon at the White House prepared by Mrs. Grant for the newly inaugurated President Hayes, General and Mrs. Grant left the White House in their carriage. The White House staff and President and Mrs. Hayes bade them farewell, prompting this comment from Garfield: "No American has carried greater fame out of the White House than this silent man who leaves it today."

James Garfield (1831-1881). Diary entry. Page 2. Holograph manuscript. March 5, 1877. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (37)

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Inauguration Grand March for Hayes

When Hayes was finally declared the winner by the Electoral Commission on March 2, 1877, Carl Strandberg celebrated the event by composing the Inauguration Grand March for the inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes. The march represents the tradition of songs and instrumental pieces composed in honor of presidential inaugurations dating back to the time of George Washington.

Carl Strandberg, composer. Inauguration Grand March, 1877. Sheet music score. Music Division, Library of Congress (36)

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Garfield's Inaugural Address Draft

James A. Garfield began his inaugural address by acknowledging the belief in some parts of the world that government could not safely be entrusted to the people. Having quieted his vast audience with that sobering thought, Garfield proceeded to extol the wonders of popularly controlled government, which he thought greatly overshadowed the risks, and to argue convincingly that the United States democratic system of government expanded the boundaries of human freedom. Garfield was the second president to be assassinated and served only six months in office, four of them on his deathbed.

James Garfield (1831-1881). Draft of inaugural address, ca. March 4, 1881. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page 10. Page 11. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (39)

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Garfield Describes his Inaugural Day

President-elect James Garfield documented in his diary events on the eve of his inaugural. On March 3, 1881, he wrote: "Got but three hours of sleep last night but made some progress in the new draft of inaugural." Following dinner with President Hayes and his old classmates, Garfield returned late to his hotel and continued writing his inaugural address and he recorded that he "wrote last sentence at 2 clock a.m. March 4."

On March 5, he stated: "The day opened with snow & sleet but towards noon the sky began to clear . . . The crowd of people was very great—Reached President's Chamber in the Senate . . . at 11:30. At 11:55 went to the Senate & witnessed the inauguration of the Vice President—Thence to the East portico of the Rotunda—and read my inaugural—slowly & fairly well—though I grew somewhat hoarse toward the close—Returning to the Executive Mansion—lunched with the family [then two] & a half hours on the reviewing stand. Inauguration reception at Museum building in the evening—Home at Eleven."

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Inaugural Ball of James Garfield

More than seven thousand people attended the inauguration of James Garfield in 1881. The inaugural ball was a gala affair, held at the Smithsonian Institutes's new National Museum Building, now the Arts and Industries Building. Music was provided by the Marine Corps Band, led by John Philip Sousa.

Inaugural Ball Program, March 4, 1881. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page 10. Page 11. Page 12. Page 13. Page 14. Page 15. Page 16. Booklet. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (42)

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Harrison's Inauguration Day

Benjamin Harrison delivered his inaugural address and reviewed the inaugural parade in the pouring rain. There were an estimated 20,000 spectators standing on the Capitol Plaza with their umbrellas buffering the rain. In his inaugural address, Harrison informed his listeners that the oath of office he had just taken as president of the United States was not required by law. However, the oath had been publicly administered from the beginning, and it had come to be viewed as a covenant with the American people that the laws of the land would be faithfully executed.

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Benjamin Harrison's Inaugural Ball

Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) was the second president to have his inaugural ball at the Pension Building, now the National Building Museum, which provided the architectural backdrop needed for elaborate decorations. Harrison's inaugural committee decorated the Great Hall ceiling with long strips of colorful bunting and fresh garland that gathered at the center of each court and fell gracefully to the surrounding walls. Among the 12,000 celebrants were notable figures Frederick Douglass, General William T. Sherman, and William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill). Shown here is a souvenir program for the event.

Souvenir Inaugural Ball, March 4, 1889. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Washington, D.C.: 1889. Booklet. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (47)

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A Congratulatory Letter to President Harrison

Mrs. Elizabeth Hutter wrote to congratulate President Benjamin Harrison on his inaugural address, calling it a "magnificent production." She also mentioned the personal friendship her husband shared with President William Henry Harrison: "When your grandfather was inaugurated in 1840, Mr. Hutter, my husband, was present, and stood by his side on the platform. They were warm friends, and when death came and took him away so soon, Mr. Hutter predicted that some day, our Heavenly Father would so ordain it that one of his grandsons would be elected President."

Elizabeth E. Hutter to Benjamin Harrison, March 6, 1889. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Manuscript letter. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (48)

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McKinley's First Inauguration

William McKinley (1843-1901), twenty-fifth president of the United States, was elected to two terms in office. He saw the rise of the agrarian Populist Party and the fierce battle between free silver and the gold standard, the latter favored by McKinley. He advocated high tariffs to protect American industry and was caught up with the American expansionist impulse associated with the Spanish-American War. Shown here is the new President delivering his 1897 inaugural speech, while Grover Cleveland listens. Also shown is an admission ticket issued to Library of Congress employees to watch the inauguration. McKinley was the third president to be assassinated while in office. He was shot while visiting the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and died on September 14, 1901.

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  • J.C. Hemment, photographer. The New President Delivering his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1897. Copyprint. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (50) LC-USZ62-237 [ppmsc 02914]

  • Admission ticket for an employee of the Library of Congress to the inaugural platform, after the procession from the Senate Chambers, March 4, 1897. Printed card. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (51)

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1897 Inaugural Program and Ball Booklet

President William McKinley's two inaugurations took place on the east portico of the Capitol, followed by lavish balls held in the sumptuous hall of the Pension Building, now the National Building Museum. The design and contents of McKinley's 1897 inaugural ball booklet (shown here) is similar to those used throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They include names of various ball committee members, musical selections for the evening, and spaces for listing dance partners. Also featured is a program and souvenir of the inauguration.

Admission ticket for an employee of the Library of Congress to the inaugural platform, after the procession from the Senate Chambers, March 4, 1897. Printed card. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (51)

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Roosevelt's Inauguration, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural procession was notably festive. The president-elect waved to the thousands of well wishers lining the route, as a contingent of Rough Riders (shown in photograph), who had charged San Juan Hill with Roosevelt eight years earlier, escorted him. In contrast to the jubilant festivities, Roosevelt delivered a short, dignified inaugural speech for which the Library has his random notes. Roosevelt stepped aside after serving one term. Four years later, Roosevelt made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency--losing to Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Also shown is an invitation to the 1905 inauguration.

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Reading Copy of Roosevelt's Inaugural Address

This version of Roosevelt's inaugural address is in blue typescript on twelve narrow slips of beige paper, with emendations in Roosevelt's hand in black ink. Each page is cut into a narrow horizontal strip, about seven inches long, ranging from about one to five inches deep. Excepting the title page, the pages are numbered one to eleven, and have holes punched at the upper left. There is also evidence that the twelve slips were once held together with a pin at the upper left corner. The text of this copy of the inaugural address is very close to that of the final version and this may have been President Roosevelt's reading copy.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page 10. Page 11. Page 12. Typescript notes with emendations for inaugural address, 1905. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (53B)

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"I would prefer to have Taft succeed me"

President Theodore Roosevelt confided to his eldest daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, that "I would prefer to have [William Howard] Taft succeed me rather than anyone else, yet that I certainly could not undertake to dictate his nomination." William Howard Taft went on to secure the Republican presidential nomination and win election in 1908. Roosevelt trusted Alice's political acumen and often consulted her on political issues.

Theodore Roosevelt to Alice Roosevelt Longworth, November 10, 1907. Typed letter signed by Roosevelt. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (53E)

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Woodrow Wilson's Campaign and Inaugural Address

In the 1912 presidential election, divisions in Republican ranks allowed Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win a large majority, 435 of 531 electoral college votes although he carried only 42 percent of the popular vote. (Incumbent President William H. Taft led the Republican ticket but dissenting Republicans ran former President Theodore Roosevelt for the presidency under the banner of a hastily organized "Progressive Party.") Wilson, who learned shorthand as a teenager, habitually drafted his own speeches, including this first draft of his March 4, 1913, inaugural address, in that script.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). Draft of and notes on inaugural address, March 4, 1913, in Wilson's shorthand script. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Holograph Manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (55)

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Pass, Invitation, and Program

Presented here are samples of printed inaugural material issued during Woodrow Wilson's inauguration: the Carriage Police Pass used for access during the formation or movement of parades, an invitation on heavy cream paper with black engravings with the presidential seal engraved on the cover, and the official program sold to the general public for fifteen cents.

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"Coolidge Seems to be Gathering in the Delegates"

Former President William Howard Taft (1857-1930) predicted in this letter to his only daughter, Helen Taft Manning, that Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) would go "on to certain victory in the convention" to secure the Republican presidential nomination in 1924. Coolidge easily won the election over the Democrats, who "are in a bad way for a candidate," Taft informed his daughter Taft served one term (1909-1913) in the White House before his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.

William Howard Taft to Helen Taft Manning, April 13, 1924. Page 2. Page 3. Manuscript letter. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (57F)

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"I Do Not Choose to Run for President. . . "

President Calvin Coolidge presided over a period of remarkable economic growth at a time when America faced no serious foreign threats. In 1927 America was the most prosperous nation on the globe, and Coolidge was a very popular president. However, on August 2, 1927, he made the decision not to run for re-election. Coolidge drove from his vacation lodge in the Black Hills of South Dakota to Rapid City High School where he had a summer office. Without any notice to anyone, he called his secretary into his office and handed over a one-sentence, handwritten statement with orders that copies be made on slips of paper. At noon the President, seated at a desk with a stack of two-by-nine inch slips of paper, met with the press. He announced to them, "the line forms on the left," and as they passed by he handed each one a slip of paper. Shown is Coolidge's original handwritten note. It reads: "I do not choose to run for President in nineteen twenty-eight." Coolidge made no follow-up statement and left without answering any questions.

"I Do Not Choose to Run for President in Nineteen Twenty Eight." Holograph note Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (57D)

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"Choosin' To Run Isn't as Restful as This"

In 1928, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Clifford Berryman (1869-1949) portrays the famously laconic President Calvin Coolidge relaxing and fishing during what would have been a busy re-election season. During his retirement in Northampton, Massachusetts, Coolidge wrote his autobiography, a syndicated newspaper column, and magazine articles.

Clifford Berryman (1869-1949), artist. Choosin' to run isn't as restful as this, 1928. Pen-and-ink over graphite under drawing on paper. Published in The Evening Star, Washington D.C.: August 13, 1928. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (57E) LC-USZ62-14230 [acd 2a06168]

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"New Deal" Candidate Eclipses Tammany Tiger

New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932, faced strong challenges at the convention, which then required a two-thirds majority vote to win the top slot. Four-time New York governor Al Smith withheld his support from Roosevelt, whose rivals also included Speaker of the House of Representatives John Nance Garner of Texas. On the third ballot, Garner released his delegates to Roosevelt, who thereby gained the two-thirds majority on the fourth ballot. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman shows a weary Tammany tiger (a symbol of political corruption), alluding to Al Smith's opposition and the delegates' post-convention exhaustion.

Clifford Berryman (1869-1949). All set for the campaign! 1932. Pen and ink over graphite under-drawing on paper The Evening Star, Washington, D.C.:, July 21, 1932. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (58) LC-USZ62-14164 [acd 2a06397]

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Roosevelt's 1932 Election

In 1928, during the astounding economic boom of the 1920s, Republican Herbert Hoover won the presidential election with a massive electoral college vote, 444 to 87. By the presidential election of 1932, after the stock market crash of 1929, the nation was in a serious economic depression and wanted a change. Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won 472 electoral votes and 57.3 percent of the popular vote to President Hoover's 59 electoral votes and 39.6 percent of the popular vote. Roosevelt would go on to be re-elected to three additional terms, serving from 1933 until his death in office in 1945, a tenure unequaled by any other president. Featured on the back wall is an image of President Hoover riding with President-elect Roosevelt on the way to his March 1933 inauguration.

[Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in Convertible Automobile on the Way to U.S. Capitol for Roosevelt's Inauguration, March 4, 1933]. Copyprint. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (59) LC-USA7-18241 [ppmsc 02895]

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Invitation to White House Buffet and Official Program

This is an invitation to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Ickes for a luncheon buffet following the1933 inauguration ceremonies of President Roosevelt. Harold Ickes (1874-1952) was appointed Secretary of the Interior under President Roosevelt and was a lifelong supporter of the president's "New Deal" programs. From 1933 to 1939, he headed the Public Works Administration, which generated jobs and public building programs nationwide. Also shown is Ickes's personal inaugural program, open to an essay on previous inaugural balls.

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Campaign and Inauguration of John F. Kennedy

Democrat John F. Kennedy won a close race for the presidency in 1960. Although he carried the electoral college by a comfortable margin, 303 out of 537 electoral votes, the balloting in several states was extremely close, and Kennedy's popular vote margin was a narrow 49.72 percent to 49.55 percent for Republican Richard Nixon. Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic elected to the presidency, is shown here with Father Richard J. Casey, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, where J.F.K. attended Mass just prior to his inauguration on January 20, 1961.

President-elect John F. Kennedy Shakes Hands with Father Richard J. Casey, the Pastor, after Attending Mass at Holy Trinity Church . . . prior to Inauguration Ceremonies, January 20, 1961. Copyprint. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress (63) LC-USZ62-70671 [ppmsc 02884]

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The Poetry of Robert Frost

Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled Dedication that he intended to read at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. Frost never read it because the sun's glare upon the snow blinded him from seeing the text. Instead, the poet recited The Gift Outright from memory. This first version of Dedication was donated to the Library in 1969 by Stewart L. Udall (b.1920 ), Kennedy's Secretary of the Interior. Udall explained that no one had expected Frost to write a new poem for the inauguration as "he had steadfastly refused to compose commemorative verses during his entire lifetime."

Robert Frost (1874-1963). Dedication, 1961. Page 2. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (65)

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