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U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: A Resource Guide

Presidential Inaugurations: 1897-1925

This page contains primary source materials related to presidential inaugurations from 1897 to 1925. Select a link below to jump directly to a description of that president's inauguration along with related digitized materials from the Library's collections.

William McKinley

The twenty-fifth president of the United States (1897-1901), William McKinley was elected president in 1896 and 1900. McKinley was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while attending the Pan-American Exposition, in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901. He died a week later on September 14, 1901.

First Inauguration - March 4, 1897

Facts*

  • First Inaugural ceremony recorded by a motion picture camera.
  • First President to have a glass-enclosed reviewing stand for the Inaugural parade.
  • First Inauguration at which Congress hosted a luncheon for the President and Vice President.

Second Inauguration - March 4, 1901

Facts*

  • First time the U.S. House joined with the U.S. Senate, creating the JCCIC, to make Inaugural arrangements.

Theodore Roosevelt

The twenty-sixth president of the United States (1901-09), Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency upon the death of William McKinley.

Oath of Office - September 14, 1901

Facts*

  • Roosevelt became president upon the assassination of William McKinley, who was shot by Leon F. Czolgosz in Buffalo, New York on September 6, 1901. McKinley died on September 14, 1901.
  • No Bible was used when Roosevelt took the oath of office.

Second Inauguration - March 4, 1905

Facts*

  • First time that telephones were installed on the Capitol Grounds for an inaugural. (AOC "Inaugurations" files: Correspondence).

William Howard Taft

The twenty-seventh president of the United States, William Howard Taft served one term as president (1909-13).

Inauguration - March 4, 1909

Facts*

  • Inauguration took place in the Senate chamber because of blizzard. Strong winds toppled trees and telephone poles, trains were stalled and city streets unpassable. City workers shoveled sand and snow through half the night. It took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear 58,000 tons of snow and slush from the parade route.
  • Helen Herron Taft became the first First Lady to accompany her husband on the return ride from the Capitol to the White House following his Inauguration.

Woodrow Wilson

The twenty-eighth president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson served two terms as president (1913-21).

First Inauguration - March 4, 1913

Facts*

  • Inaugural ball was suspended for the first time since 1853. Wilson requested that the ball be cancelled because he found it inappropriate for the solemn occasion.

Second Inauguration - March 5, 1917

Facts*

  • First President to take the oath of office on Sunday. March 4, 1917 fell on a Sunday, so Wilson was sworn in privately on that day in the President's Room in the U.S. Capitol by Chief Justice Edward D. White. His public inauguration was held on Monday, March 5.
  • Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was the first First Lady to accompany the President both to and from the Capitol.
  • First time women participated in the Inaugural parade.

William Harding

The twenty-ninth president of the United States (1921-23), William G. Harding died in office on August 2, 1923.

Inauguration - March 4, 1921

Facts*

  • First President to ride to and from his Inauguration in an automobile.
  • President and Mrs. Harding and their immediate family ate lunch at the White House immediately following the inauguration. The luncheon was arranged by outgoing President and Mrs. Wilson, following the tradition established in 1889, when President and Mrs. Cleveland invited the Harrisons to eat lunch at the White House before the parade.

Calvin Coolidge

The thirtieth president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency (1923-29) upon the death of William G. Harding.

Oath of Office - August 3, 1923

Facts*

  • Coolidge assumed the Presidency upon the death of Warren G. Harding. Harding died of an apparent stroke on August 2, 1923, in San Francisco, California.

Second Inauguration - March 4, 1925

Facts*

  • First Inaugural ceremony broadcast nationally by radio.
  • First time a former President, William H. Taft, administered the oath of office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

*Please note: This information is based on a compilation by the Office of the Curator, Architect of the Capitol, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, from contemporary accounts and other sources. Additional research provided by Library of Congress staff.