1 George Washington" href="/topic/politics/george-washington-PEHST002264.topic">George Washington
had to borrow money to go to his own inauguration.
2 Perhaps the greatest myth of U.S. inauguration history is that William Henry Harrison" href="/topic/politics/william-henry-harrison-PEPLT002746.topic">William Henry Harrison's long speech in chilly weather caused his death in 1841. True, Harrison didn't wear a hat or overcoat while speaking for an hour and 40 minutes. But the 68-year-old Harrison conducted extensive presidential business for weeks after his address. It's unclear when Harrison caught the cold that led to his pneumonia, but he didn't summon a doctor until 23 days after the inauguration. He died about a week later. The "fatal speech" idea seems predicated on the common but false notion that cold weather causes a cold.
4 Ulysses Grant was inaugurated for his second term on a day in 1873 when the noon temperature was 16 degrees. A temporary wooden structure was built for the inaugural ball, and the weather turned it into an icebox. The food froze while guests danced in their coats. The musicians' violin strings snapped because of the chill, and 100 canaries, brought in to provide pleasant sounds, froze to death in their cages.
5 Pierce and Herbert Hoover both
"affirmed" rather than swore the oath of office because of religious
7 Dwight Eisenhower's 1953 parade was covered by a 24-year-old reporter who worked for the Washington Times-Herald as the "Inquiring Camera Girl." Her name was Jacqueline Bouvier, soon to become Jackie Kennedy.
9 Lyndon Johnson was the only president to take the oath of office from a woman, Federal District Judge Sarah Hughes. He also was the only president to be sworn in on an airplane, taking office after Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
Sources: Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies; inaugural.senate.gov; www.nara.gov; History News Network; Washington Post; "Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America" by Thurston Clarke; "Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2009" by Jim Bendat; "Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time" by Freeman Cleaves; "President James Buchanan" by Philip Shriver Klein; "Presidential Inaugurations" by Paul F. Boller Jr.; Tribune news services. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com