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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Postcard Thursday: Washington's Inaugural

President Washington Taking the Oath, Federal Hall, 1789; courtesy of the New-York Historical Society
Today's postcard is, once again, not an actual postcard, though we've certainly seen views similar to this on cards over the years. This 1839 painting by Guiseppe Guidicini depicts the moment on April 30, 1789 -- 225 years ago yesterday -- that George Washington placed his hand on the Bible and was sworn in as America's first president.

If you happened to be on Wall Street yesterday, you might have seen some activity at the building that occupies the site of the old Federal Hall. Every year on the anniversary of the inauguration, the Masons do a reenactment of Washington's swearing in, complete with costumed interpreters and period-appropriate music. The Masons are the custodians of Washington's Bible, but it's not clear if they bring it with them for the reenactment.

Considering the fact that this year marked a major anniversary of the presidency, there has been little press, though Slate did run a good article a few days ago; over at the Congressional Archives, they posted the minutes from the Senate describing the event.

The image above is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society and prominently displayed in their lobby gallery. We'll be giving a talk at the Society on Thursday, June 26, using objects from the collection like this, so save the date!

* * * *
Read more about Washington's New York in
Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers


And, of course, Inside the Apple is available at fine bookstores everywhere.

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