December 23rd, 2008
08:09 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama to take oath of office using Lincoln Bible

Obama will be the first president since Lincoln's first term to be sworn in using the Lincoln Bible.
Obama will be the first president since Lincoln's first term to be sworn in using the Lincoln Bible.

The Obama transition team announced Tuesday morning that the president-elect would be sworn in with the Lincoln Bible, used by 16th president when taking the oath of office in 1861 (Full statement released Tuesday follows):

"Washington, D.C. – On January 20th, President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible upon which President Lincoln was sworn in at his first inauguration. The Bible is currently part of the collections of the Library of Congress. Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance. President-elect Obama will be the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.

'President-elect Obama is deeply honored that the Library of Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in,' said Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau. 'The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America's unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage.' "

"The Lincoln Bible will be available for a press viewing between 11:00 AM and Noon today in the Members' Room on the first floor of the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First St. S.E. in Washington, D.C. Video and still cameras are permitted. Media should allow 10-15 minutes to clear security at the First Street entrance to the Jefferson Building. Clark Evans, who heads the Reference Services Section of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, will also be available at that time to answer questions about the Lincoln Bible and the Library. High-resolution photographs of the Bible are also available upon request. RSVP is not required. Please contact the PIC Communications Office with questions.

The Bible was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court, for use during Lincoln's swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861. The Lincoln family Bible, which is also in the Library of Congress's collection, was unavailable for the ceremony because it was packed away with the First Family's belongings, still en route from Springfield, IL, to their new home at the White House.

The Bible itself is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim around the three outside edges of both covers. All its edges are heavily gilded. In the center of the top cover is a shield of gold wash over white metal with the words 'Holy Bible' chased into it. The book is 15 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 4.5 cm deep when closed. The 1,280-page Bible was published in 1853 by the Oxford University Press.

Annotated in the back of the volume, along with the Seal of the Supreme Court, is the following: 'I, William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the said court do hereby certify that the preceding copy of the Holy Bible is that upon which the Honble. R. B. Taney, Chief Justice of the said Court, administered to His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, the oath of office as President of the United States ...'

The Lincoln Inaugural Bible will be on display at the Library of Congress February 12th to May 9th, 2009, as part of an exhibition titled "With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition." The exhibit will then travel to five other American cities. The Library is planning several other events and programming in commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of the nation's 16th president, who was born on February 12th, 1809.

On March 4, 2009, the 147th anniversary of Lincoln's first inauguration, the Library of Congress will also be convening an all-day symposium with several renowned Lincoln scholars."

soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Polly

    He is walking as the Messiah. Except he's on the golf course buying beer for the press.

    December 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. BUSHED!!!

    RealityKing December 23rd, 2008 10:53 am ET
    Over 600,000 Americans died during Linclon's presidency..
    ***************TO-RealityKing How many died during BUSH/Cheney's Presidency..due to an unjust WAR!!!!

    December 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Soccer Nana

    "bj, Texas December 23rd, 2008 9:34 am ET

    The cover might be the Lincoln Bible but the inside will be the Koran."

    I don't even have the words to describe your inbred foolishness.

    @Greg, PE Obama does go to church; unfortunately, he resigned from his former church during his campaign, due to disparaging remarks made by his former pastor, Reverend Wright. And just where have you been hiding?

    @ignorance is bliss, no he want be using your book.

    @naqib, you should learn to read and comprehend – he did not release any information because the ATTORNEY GENERAL told him not to in order to NOT JEOPARDIZE the ongoing investigation. Did you go to school in Alaska?

    @larry from TN, if you hypocritical "evangelicals" can touch the Bible and your hands don't burn, then PE Obama's won't burn either.

    @All Haters, give it up; this man (black, white, mixed race, biracial, african-american; whichever term you choose to use) is going to be the best president he can be. Support him; we all live in THIS Country; we fight wars for THIS Country. Stop the separatists ideations.

    December 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Chris

    I have said it before and I will say it again, until we as United States citizens unite and support our president AND one another, we will never move forward. The negative comments about our president elect are horrible. when will you guys understand that it takes more than one person to make a world work, and with us not working together, we are working apart–shame on us–look what we have allowed ourselves to get into.

    December 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Polly

    I don't know who you are calling a bigot, but just because someone doesn't agree with the greatness of Obama doesn't make them a bigot. I feel great admiration for Martin Luther King and I especially admire the guts of Rosa Parks.

    December 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Common Sense

    I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU PEOPLE!

    Obama is a Christian, but WHAT IF HE WAS A MUSLIM???? It's a RELIGION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone has a right to their own RELIGION! AND FOR THOSE WHO KEEP BRINGING THIS UP MEANS THAT YOU DESCRIMINATE!!!!

    YOU ALL MAKE ME SICK....I NEED YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING WHEN YOU MAKE COMMENTS LIKE THAT!

    WHAT IF HE WAS JEWISH??? WOULD YOU STILL MAKE THE SAME COMPLAINTS....???? DON'T GET PRACTICING THE MUSLIM RELIGION CONFUSED WITH BEING ARABIC, ETC.... THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I DON'T GIVE A FROG'S FAT *SS WHAT HE IS, AS LONG AS HE GIVES AN HONEST EFFORT IN TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR AMERICA!

    GROW UP IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Sam, Muncie, Ind.

    You mean he isn't going to be sworn in on the QUR'AN?!?! I thought he was Muslim!

    Hahaha!

    December 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. kelly WI

    Just another shrewd political photo op.
    A presidents only constitutional job is to keep the country safe.
    Its the congress that does all the spending etc. Congress writes the bills and its a presidents job to either sign them or not.
    Bush was complainging about the Fannie Freddy situation for years but the dems in congress wouldn't do any thing about it.
    you should check the historical FACTS before blaming Bush for everything.
    Oh, gol, its snowing again. Must be Bushes fault.

    December 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Glen in Laurel, Maryland

    Sue,

    "Talk/talk/talk"? What do you want from him? He hasn't taken office yet! And even when a president is in office, the tools are a voice and a pen. Did you think there were knobs and levers on the president's desk?

    December 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Polly

    How can you go to church for 20 years and not know what the heck they are preaching?

    December 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. naqib

    Soccer Nana

    @naqib, you should learn to read and comprehend – he did not release any information because the ATTORNEY GENERAL told him not to in order to NOT JEOPARDIZE the ongoing investigation. Did you go to school in Alaska?

    Learn to comprehend... you're a tool...
    He said there was no contact what so ever! So what would it jeopardize? I didn't go to school in Alaska... Nice bigot statement by the way... you're a racist lady... and I pity you.

    December 23, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Polly

    Why do I keep hearing about beer and Obama? That's a little concerning. I understand it isn't a big deal to most of the population except those who have know alcoholics.

    December 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. bob smith

    Racists

    December 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. bob smith

    racist

    December 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. bob smith

    nazi racists

    December 23, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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