Inauguration Day

Lydia’s Pick
Diary: Caleb E. Iddings, 1881 


Today, January 20th is imprinted in our minds as a day of ceremony marking the hope and promise of a new presidential term.

Prior to 1933, however, folks had to wait an additional six weeks – that is, until March 4th – before officially swearing in a president chosen in November.

While chances for mild weather are far greater in March than in January, Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings (1829-1904) lets us know that James A. Garfield’s inauguration in 1881 resembled deep winter rather than a foretelling of spring.

Dr. Iddings describes a snowy day turning to rain with extreme wind and expresses concern for those attending the ceremony in Washington DC.  Indeed, an inauspicious beginning to a tragic presidency that would end by assassination just six and a half months later.

Patricia’s Pick
Essay:  “The Inauguration,” Allan Farquhar, 1901


Today, we witness the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States.  One of the many treasures found within the Sandy Spring Archives is Allan Farquhar’s (1853-1944) essay, The Inauguration. 

Within these pages, you will journey to our nation’s capital not once, but ten times, to join Mr. Farquhar as he describes his experiences standing within the crowds at the steps of the Capitol watching several presidential inaugurations.

He begins with this amazing recollection, “Well do I remember the tall figure and swarthy face of Lincoln as he emerged from between the pillars on the eastern portico to deliver his immortal 2nd inaugural.”  Within these pages, you will discover vivid accounts of the atmosphere surrounding the inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, McKinley, and Harrison.

Should you decide to read this essay, you will be rewarded with first-hand knowledge and fascinating insights regarding the political landscape surrounding these great men.