Highlighted Site of the Week – “I Do Solemnly Swear…” - State and Federal Communications

October 8, 2010  •  

Highlighted Site of the Week – “I Do Solemnly Swear…”

Andrew Jackson's InaugurationThe Library of Congress hosts a Web site of historical collections called American Memory. One of that site’s hidden gems is “I Do Solemnly Swear…”: Presidential Inaugurations. The Library of Congress has pulled 2,000 digital documents from their many divisions and includes transcripts of the speeches, as well as “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.”

Would you like to see the hand-written copy of George Washington’s first inaugural speech? How about a photo from Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration? The site offers a series of 12 videos ,with Marvin Kranz, historical specialist in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress giving commentary.

Did you know the oath each president recites is in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution?

I love finding out about firsts and mosts, so I was delighted by the fun page of Precedents and Notable Events. George Washington had the shortest inaugural speech at 135 words and William H. Harrison had the longest with 10,000 words! The inauguration of James Polk was the first to be covered by telegraph, James Buchanan’s the first to be photographed, William McKinley’s the first to be filmed (silent movie), Herbert Hoover’s the first to be covered by talking newsreel, Harry Truman’s the first to be televised, and – you probably have guessed – Bill Clinton’s was the first to be broadcast live on the internet.

So have fun. I do solemnly swear you’ll love “I Do Solemnly Swear …” : Presidential Inaugurations!

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