Jan
08
2009

Any historical facts about the Presidential Inauguration?

US Capitol (photo by David Davies  CC-BY)

US Capitol (photo by David Davies CC-BY)

  • Prior to 2009, there have been 54 formal presidential inaugural ceremonies at over 10 different locations.
  • If it falls on a Sunday, the oath is administered privately on the day or previous evening, then in public on the Monday.
  • George Washington’s second inaugural address was the shortest at 135 words, while William Harrison’s went onto a whopping 8,445 words. John Adams’ address at 2,308 words contains a sentence 737 words long. Having said that, there are numerous semi-colons allowing for subtle pauses.
  • First inaugural parade was in 1805.
  • Media coverage of the event include: 1845 first known inauguration featured in a newspaper illustration (Illustrated London News); 1857 the first inauguration to be photographed; 1897 the first motion picture filming; 1925 the first national radio broadcast; and 1949 the first televised broadcast.
  • In 1921 Warren G. Harding was first President to ride to and from his inauguration in an automobile.
  • In 1963 the oath of office was for the first time administered by a woman
  • Richard Nixon took the oath on two Bibles.
  • The first time a poet participated in the inaugural program was in 1961.
  • Ronald Reagan became the first to be inaugurated at the west front of the U.S. Capitol
  • In 1865 the first time African Americans participated in the inaugural parade
  • Last scripture verse used was in 1997 by William Clinton: Isaiah 58:12; while George Washington’s was Genesis 49:13. Not pre-planned, but read after the page was randomly opened.
  • Finally, 1985 was the coldest inauguration day on record – 7 degrees Fahrenheit.

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