January 10, 2017 Library of Congress Looks at Presidential Inaugurations in Wide-Ranging Display from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4

Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address Will Be on View

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Helena Zinkham (202) 707-2922
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A two-week display on inaugurations, at the Library of Congress, will feature presidential treasures—the handwritten speeches of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln—and collections on the lighter side: menus, dance cards and souvenirs.  The display will include newspapers, film clips, a demonstration of online resources and a challenging presidential history quiz.

“Presidential Inauguration Treasures” will be on view from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the rooms known as Mahogany Row, LJ-110 to LJ-113, on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  The display is free and open to the public.  Tickets are not needed.

The first stop for visitors will be room 113, where Lincoln’s famous First Inaugural Address (“We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection ...”) will be on display, along with the Bible that Lincoln used at his first inauguration and the pearl necklace worn by Mary Todd Lincoln.   Also on view will be the handwritten inaugural speeches delivered by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and a letter written by Washington voicing trepidation about becoming president.  Librarians and archivists will be available to discuss the documents and answer questions.

In the connecting rooms, visitors will find inaugural souvenirs from incoming presidents’ parties and parades.  An early newspaper report on an inauguration will be on view, and Library staff will demonstrate Chronicling America, a website providing access to historic newspapers that is maintained by the Library of Congress.  Film clips will portray the speeches and parades and there will be demonstrations of the Library’s presidential inaugurations website.  The quiz will challenge visitors’ knowledge of inaugural firsts.  Sample question:  Who was the first president to ride to his inauguration in an automobile?

Library staff members will be located in every room to answer questions and talk with the public.

The Library’s presidential inaugurations website can be viewed at loc.gov/rr/program/bib/inaugurations/.  It offers a wide variety of primary source materials documenting presidential inaugurations, including diaries and letters written by presidents and those who witnessed the inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs and sheet music.

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PR 17-004
ISSN 0731-3527