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U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: A Resource Guide

Presidential Inaugurations: 1929-1965

This page contains primary source materials related to presidential inaugurations from 1929 to 1965. 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.

Herbert Hoover

The thirty-first president of the United States, Herbert Hoover served one term as president (1929-32).

Inauguration - March 4, 1929


  • First Inaugural ceremony recorded by talking newsreel.
  • President and Mrs. Hoover, Vice President Curtis, members of the JCCIC, members of the PIC, cabinet members, Chief Justice and Mrs. Taft, Speaker and Mrs. Longworth, and the G.A.R. guard of honor returned to the White House for a private luncheon before the parade.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The thirty-second president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president four times (1933-45).

First Inauguration - March 4, 1933


  • Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt attended St. John’s Church for a morning worship service, beginning a new tradition.
  • FDR used the Roosevelt family bible for all four Presidential Inaugurations. It is the oldest Inaugural Bible, printed in 1686, and the only one written in a modern foreign language: Dutch.
  • The Roosevelts had planned to host a buffet luncheon at the White House for several hundred guests after the Inauguration. However, at the last minute, Mrs. Roosevelt cancelled the luncheon in deference to the passing of Senator Thomas J. Walsh, recently deceased. Roosevelt had selected Senator Walsh to serve as attorney general.

Second Inauguration - January 20, 1937


  • First president inaugurated on the January 20th date, a change pursuant to by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
  • First time the vice president-elect was inaugurated outside on the same platform with the president-elect. No vice presidential address was given.
  • The President and First Lady hosted around 600 guests for a buffet luncheon at the White House in the state dining room and East Room. They served hot coffee, sandwiches, and cake.

Third Inauguration - January 20, 1941


  • First president to take the oath of office for a third term.
  • President and Mrs. Roosevelt hosted 1,200 guests at the White House for a buffet luncheon consisting of tomato soup, salad, beef, ham, tongue, cake, ice cream, and coffee.

Fourth Inauguration - January 20, 1945


  • First and only time a president was inaugurated for a fourth term. (The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951, restricts the presidency to two terms.)
  • At the height of WWII, Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth Inauguration was simple and austere with no fanfare or formal celebration following the event. There was no parade because of gas rationing and a lumber shortage.

Harry S. Truman

The thirty-third president of the United States (1945-53), Harry S. Truman assumed the presidency upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945.

Oath of Office - April 12, 1945


  • Truman took the oath of office just two hours after he received word of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death, which was caused by cerebral stroke.

Second Inauguration - January 20, 1949


  • First televised Inaugural ceremony.
  • Truman reinstated the Inaugural Ball.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The thirty-fourth president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower served two terms as president (1953-61).

First Inauguration - January 20, 1953


  • First time the JCCIC hosted the Inaugural luncheon at the Capitol.
  • Broke precedent by reciting his own prayer after taking the oath, rather than kissing the Bible.

Second Inauguration - January 21, 1957


  • January 20, 1957 fell on a Sunday, so Eisenhower was sworn in privately that day by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the White House East Room. His public Inauguration was held on Monday, January 21, 1957.

John F. Kennedy

The thirty-fifth president of the United States (1961-63), John F. Kennedy died in office on November 22, 1963. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.

Inauguration - January 20, 1961


  • First president to be inaugurated on the extended East Front.
  • First time that a Speaker of the House administered the oath of office to the vice president. (Previously the oath had been given by either the President pro tempore of the Senate, the ex-Vice President, or a United States Senator.) (Roll Call, 1/18/1961).
  • First time a poet, Robert Frost, participated in the official ceremonies at the Capitol.
  • First time that both parents of the president-elect attended their son's inauguration. (Washington Daily News, 1/21/1961).
  • As the first Catholic elected president, Kennedy was the first to use a Catholic (Douay) version of the Bible for his oath.
  • First inaugural parade for which Army flame throwers were used to clear snow from Pennsylvania Avenue. (Washington Daily News, 1/21/1961).
  • First appearance of the Air Force Academy Band in the parade. (Evening Star, 1/3/1961).
  • First time that the parade was televised in color (NBC). (New York Times, 1/15/1961).
  • First inauguration celebrated with five balls.
  • Last president to wear traditional stovepipe hat to the inauguration.

Lyndon B. Johnson

The thirty-sixth president of the United States (1963-69), Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency upon the death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Oath of Office - November 22, 1963


  • Johnson assumed the Presidency upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
  • First time a woman administered the oath of office (U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One).
  • First and only time a President took the oath of office on an airplane.

Second Inauguration - January 20, 1965


  • Security for Johnson's Inauguration was tight following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. For the first time, the president rode in a bullet-proofed limousine.

*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.