National Archives News

Presidential Inaugurations

Presidential Inaugurations

On January 20 every four years, the President of the United States takes the oath of office. The inauguration usually takes place at the United States Capitol and includes a ceremonial program and a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Take a look at historical inaugurations documented in records held by the National Archives and its Presidential libraries.

Historical Videos


U.S. Capitol during Reagan inauguration 1981

Peaceful Transition of Power: American Presidential Inaugurations (Prologue, Winter 2000)

A Look at Inauguration Day Through the Years: Inaugural Photographs and Facts (Unwritten Record)

Inauguration Report (Hoover Heads)

80th Anniversary – Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 Presidential Inauguration (Forward With Roosevelt)

75th Anniversary of FDR’s Second Inaugural and a New Inauguration Day (Forward With Roosevelt)

Amending America: The 20th Amendment, January 20, and Presidential Inaugurations (The Reagan Library Education Blog)

Featured Document Display

George Washington's first inaugural address and the Bible upon which he swore his Presidential oath

Teaching and Learning Resources

Primary sources related to Presidential elections on DocsTeach.

Research Resources

Records of Presidential Inaugural Committees in the National Archives

Presidential Libraries research

Election 2016

Every four years, on the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) of November, we cast our votes for the next President of the United States. The National Archives and Records Administration has a unique role in the election process: NARA’s Office of the Federal Register administers the Electoral College.

Find out how the Electoral College works and what the Federal Register does, and discover our Presidential libraries’ election memorabilia in our #ElectionCollection.

The Electoral College and the National Archives

What is the Federal Register's role in the Electoral College? Federal Register staff take you through the process and describe this unique duty—from sending instructions to the governments of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to receiving and reviewing certificates of votes to turning over the votes to Congress.

The Presidential Transition

Records Management Guidance for the Presidential Transition (Records Express blog)

New Transition-Related Materials (Records Express blog)

White House Transition Interviews (oral histories of former White House staffers from the Nixon administration Clinton administrations)

NARA’s Role in a Presidential Transition (Prologue, Fall 2016)

Escorting a Presidency into History: NARA's Role in a White House Transition (Prologue, Winter 2008)


Every Tuesday during the months leading up to the election, we published campaign memorabilia from our Presidential libraries on a new #ElectionCollection Instagram and invite other cultural organizations and individuals to share their own mementos from past campaigns.

Use the #ElectionCollection tag to view and share campaign memorabilia on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. And find more in-depth stories on the blogs of the National Archives and American Experience

Teachers! DocsTeach has organized the #ElectionCollection memorabilia by theme so you more easily find objects to use in your classroom.


“The Electoral College: A Message from the ‘Dean’” (Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives, Fall 2008)

The Electoral College: Then and Now (Pieces of History blog)

Constitution 225: Blueprint for the Electoral College (Pieces of History blog)

Constitution 225: The President (Pieces of History blog)

To Choose a President (Pieces of History blog)

The Election isn't over . . . (Pieces of History blog)


Teaching and Learning Resources

#ElectionCollection Presidential Campaign Memorabilia on DocsTeach

Lesson plan for Tally of the 1824 Electoral College Vote