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Good afternoon. This announcement is being sent to a number of lists.
Please accept our apologies for any duplications.

Collaborative Online Collection Celebrating Presidential Inaugurations
Now Available on American Memory

The Library of Congress has made available at its American Memory Web
site an online collection of selected materials to celebrate the
inaugurations of the presidents of the United States. “I Do Solemnly
Swear . . .”: Presidential Inaugurations consists of approximately four
hundred items from each of sixty-two inaugurations, from George
Washington’s in 1789 to William Jefferson Clinton’s in 1997, and will
include items relating to the sixty-third inauguration of 2001. A key
objective of this online presentation is to make accessible to the
public, before the inauguration of the next president, many of the
treasures and other important primary-source materials held by the
Library of Congress as well as by other institutions. The collection has
been organized chronologically by presidential inauguration and an
effort has been
made to offer a balanced number of items for each inaugural event.  It
is produced by the National Digital Library Program and contains
material primarily from legislative and executive branch agencies with
additional items from other collection sources. The website can be
accessed at the following url: <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/>

Presidential inaugurations in the United States represent the transfer
of power from the people to a new or re-elected president and are marked
with all the gravity and solemnity appropriate to such a momentous
occasion. The ceremonies surrounding the investiture of a president take
place regardless of weather conditions and are accompanied by grand or
modest celebrations as warranted by circumstances--the specter of war,
ill health of a president, or a president’s wishes. In times of tragedy,
at the death of a president, an inauguration becomes a muted occasion, a
simple swearing-in ceremony, when a vice president assumes the

Behind the panoply of public display, there is the intimate, human side
of every inauguration– the president's inaugural address to be drafted,
letters to be written, and thoughts to be entered into diaries–all of
which enrich our understanding of a president and his inauguration. The
private, “behind-the-scenes” nature of manuscript materials, in
particular, provides a different perspective to such a grand and
important event and allows us to contemplate it in another dimension,
the private realm.

This collection includes selections from diaries and letters of
presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations, handwritten drafts
of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs,
prints, photographs, and sheet music. The selections are drawn from the
Presidential Papers in the Manuscript Division, as well as from the
collections of the Prints and Photographs Division, Rare Book and
Special Collections Division, Music Division, and the General
Collections of the Library of Congress. Additional original material has
been included from the photography collections of the Architect of the
Capitol and the United States Senate Office of the Sergeant at Arms.
Links are provided to images or documents in the online
collections of the Presidential Libraries (administered by the National
Archives and Records Administration--NARA) and the White House. It is
expected that numerous related inaugural Web sites will link to this
Library of Congress site, among them those of the Smithsonian
Institution, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies,
and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York.
Some items in this presentation–from records of early sessions of
Congress to early films of Presidents McKinley and Theodore
Roosevelt–are already online in American Memory. An important component
is a collaboration
with the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School, which permits the site
to offer Yale’s online presentations of the inaugural addresses from
Presidents Washington to Bush with associated searchable text

Special presentations and noteworthy Web sites related to this
collection include:

 The essay “Presidential Inaugurations–Words and Images” offers examples
contemporaneous pairings in which a recounting of an inaugural event in
a diary or letter corresponds to an image of the same event. These
matched words and images were felicitous discoveries among the numerous
selections for the Presidential Inaugurations Web site.

 “Bibles and Scripture Passages used by Presidents in taking the Oath of
Office,” “Presidential Oaths of Office,” and “Inaugurals of Presidents
of the United States: Some Precedents and Notable Events”–three
reference lists compiled by the Office of the Curator in the Architect
of the Capitol–present historical facts such as the dates and locations
of each presidential inauguration and the chief justices or other
officials who presided. They also provide details about inaugural
“firsts” such as the shortest and longest inaugural addresses (George
Washington, 1793; William Henry Harrison, 1841); the first vice
president to assume the presidency at the death of a president (Tyler,
1841); the first inaugural to be covered by telegraph (Polk, 1845); or
the first time an automobile was used in an inauguration (Harding,

A forthcoming video presentation by Manuscript Specialist Dr. Marvin
Kranz, curator of  Presidential Inaugurations, focuses on selected items
in the online presentation.

 A Library of Congress publication compiled by Ruth Freitag,
Presidential Inaugurations: A Selected List of References, a major
bibliography of presidential inaugural sources, is presented online for
the first time with fully-indexed, searchable citations.

 A link to the Web site of the Joint Congressional Committee on
Inaugural Ceremonies (Senate Committee on Rules and Administration)
provides a history of the committee and its role in organizing the
inaugural ceremonies. This site will feature a live broadcast of the
presidential inauguration of 2001.

“I Do Solemnly Swear . . .”: Presidential Inaugurations will be added to
more than eighty collections already freely available from American
Memory, a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library
of Congress. By the end of 2000, the conclusion of the Library's 200th
year, the program will bring more than five  million items of American
history to citizens everywhere through the Internet.

Please direct any questions to ndlpcoll@loc.gov

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