1953 Inauguration

Dwight David Eisenhower took the oath of office on Tuesday, January 20, 1953. The oath was administered by Chief justice Frederick Moore Vinson. Before delivering his inaugural address, the President offered a prayer:

"My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads. Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive branch of Government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere. Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen."

The two and one-half hour inaugural parade was witnessed by an estimated 1 million persons, of whom 60,000 were in the grandstand in seats ranging in price from $3 to $15, according to location. About 22,000 service men and women and 5,000 civilians were in the parade, which included 50 state and organization floats costing $100,000. There were also 65 musical units, 350 horses, 3 elephants, an Alaskan dog team, and the 280-millimeter atomic cannon. It was the most elaborate inaugural pageant ever held.

In addition to a governors' reception for 3,000 invited guests, there were two inaugural festivals, one at the Uline Arena for 11,000 persons, and one at the Capitol Theater for 3,500 persons. Tickets ranged in price from $3 to $12. Forty stars of stage, screen, and TV participated in the celebration. In the evening two inaugural balls were held, one at the National Guard Armory and the other at the gymnasium of McDonough Hall at Georgetown University.

1953 Inaugural Trivia:
  • The first time an entire official family attended church services with an incoming President was on January 20, 1953, when President-elect Eisenhower and his staff attended a pre-inaugural service at the National Presbyterian Church on Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C. The Reverend Edward L. R. Elson, pastor of the church, conducted the service.
  • Eisenhower broke with custom by reciting his own improvised prayer instead of kissing the Bible.
  • The oath was administered by Chief Justice Frederick Vinson on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol.
  • The temperature was 49 degrees with cloudy skies.
  • The Bible was open to Psalm 127, Verse 1 and Second Chronicles Chapter 7, Verse 14 during the 1953 inauguration.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower takes the Oath of Office to become the 34th President of the United States of America.
Jan 20, 1953

January 20, 1953, crowds from all over country pour into Washington for the inauguration. Eisenhower, Mamie, and John Eisenhower arrive, attend religious services and are met at the White House by President Harry and Bess Truman. Following a motorcade to the Capitol, dignitaries file through the Rotunda. Among these are members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Diplomatic Corps, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General George C. Marshall, Truman's cabinet, Herbert Hoover. Senator William F. Knowland administers the oath to Richard M. Nixon, then Eisenhower is sworn in by Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson. Eisenhower offers the inaugural prayer, then addresses the nation. Eisenhower presents Mamie, then they attend the parade. January 21, 1953, the cabinet members take office. Oaths are administered to John Foster Dulles and Oveta Culp Hobby.

1957 Inauguration

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution set January 20th as the official inaugural date. Because January 20, 1957 fell on a Sunday, President Eisenhower took the oath of office for his second term in a private White House ceremony. He repeated the oath and was formally inaugurated again in public on Monday, January 21 at the inaugural ceremonies held on the east portico of the White House. The oath was administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren both times.

Ronald Reagan followed the same scenario in 1985 after winning re-election. January 20 falls on a Sunday four times in the twenty-first century; 2013, 2041, 2069, and 2097. It always occurs every 28 years.

In the afternoon 750,000 spectators watched a three and one-half hour parade over a three-mile route. Marching in the parade were 17,000 people, including 11,757 in military service. There were 47 marching units, 52 bands, and 10 drum and bugle corps in the inaugural parade. The highlight of the parade was a mammoth float -- 408 feet long and mounted on 164 wheels -- which introduced the theme "Liberty and Strength Through Consent of the Governed."

Four inaugural balls were held in the evening at the Armory, the Mayflower Hotel, the Statler Hotel, and the Sheraton-Park Hotel.

1957 Inaugural Trivia
  • First time that a president was inaugurated for a term limited by the Constitution (22nd Amendment).
  • First presidential luncheon, held in the Old Supreme Court Chamber (S--228) in the Capitol.
  • For the 1957 Inaugural Parade, grandstands located along the line of march accommodated 65,800 persons; 2,900 more than in 1953.
  • January 20, 1957 Private ceremony in East Room, White House. Oath administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
  • January 21, 1957 Public ceremony on East Portico, U.S. Capitol. Oath administered by Chief Earl Warren.
  • Temperature: 44 degrees, light snow in the early morning, cloudy skies with a few flurries in the mid afternoon.
  • The Bible was open to the following passage during the 1957 Inauguration: Psalm 33, Verse 12

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1957 Inauguration

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower leave the White House with Sam Rayburn, Styles Bridges, and Richard Nixon for inaugural ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol. Marion Anderson sang the Star-Spangled Banner. William Knowland administers the oath to Richard Nixon; Earl Warren administers the oath to Eisenhower. Excerpts of the inaugural address, the return to the White House, the viewing of the inaugural parade. Eisenhower party at the inaugural ball at the Mayflower Hotel. 

Presidential Inaugurations

Library of Congress
Materials Available - Documents, Photographs, Essays, Video

A collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations from George Washington's in 1789 to the present. 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.

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