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Monday, 12th January 2009

Resources of the Week: 2009 Presidential Inauguration

Resources of the Week: 2009 Presidential Inauguration
By Shirl Kennedy, Senior Editor

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

January 20th is the Big Day. Barack Obama will be sworn in as the nation's 44th president -- and first African-American president. To commemorate this very special event, we bring you a round-up of inauguration-related information. Not that we haven't already been doing some of this. To wit:
+ Fast Facts: Inauguration Resources #1 -- Includes items from the U.S. Senate's inauguration websites.
+ Inauguration Factfile from Infoplease.com
+ Master Inaugural Events Schedule, from ConklinScott, a political consulting firm

Our first stop today -- USA.gov, currently hosting a Presidential Inauguration 2009 page. Here you'll find links to information about the new president and vice president and their families, all the details associated with the impending inauguration, and Inaugural history, including materials from the Library of Congress.

Also from the Library of Congress -- "I Do Solemnly Swear," which is "a collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations from George Washington's in 1789 to George W. Bush's inauguration of 2001. This presentation includes 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." It also includes an extensive bibliography.

LC's Prints and Photographs Division has assembled a special collection of portraits of presidents and first ladies:

The Library of Congress has extensive resources for the study of the United States presidents and first ladies. Frequent requests for presidential portraits inspired Prints and Photographs Division staff to compile this ready reference aid of formal and informal pictures in the division's custody. The selected images include at least one likeness of each of the first forty-two presidents and most of the first ladies. This presentation inaugurates a series of online illustrated reference aids that will appear under the running title "By Popular Demand".

There's also a timeline.

Bartleby.com offers a complete collection of keyword-searchable inaugural addresses, for every president from George Washington to George W. Bush. The American Presidency Project at UC-Santa Barbara also has a complete collection. If you want to search them, you'll need to go to the site's home page and use the search form with the dropdown box in the lower right corner. Some audio/video is also available here. Hear Franklin Delano Roosevelt tell us, in his first inaugural address (March 4, 1933) "that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself...."

If you're fortunate enough to be headed to D.C. for the inauguration itself, you might be interested in the Special Inaugural Public Programs and Display at the National Archives.

In January, the National Archives will present a series of free public programs on Presidential transitions including a special display of original documents in celebration of the peaceful transfer of political power that occurs in our country every four years.

The Archives Library Information Center has a page devoted to information about the Presidents. The Inaugurations section comprises an eclectic mix of links. Trivia enthusiasts may want to jump right to the quizzes:

The Smithsonian Institution also has a series of special inauguration-related events planned for visitors. According to its website, the museum has hosted inaugural celebrations since 1881. You can view materials on inaugural parades, the oath of office, and inaugural balls.


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