1949 Inauguration of President Harry S. Truman Historical Facts At-A-Glance
Inaugural "Firsts" -
This Inauguration introduced several "firsts":
- A Time to Celebrate
- Although Harry Truman had been President for nearly four years, this
was his first Inaugural celebration. Truman missed the pomp and circumstance
that normally accompanies the rise to that office on April 12, 1945,
when he took the oath of office during a somber ceremony at the White
House following the death of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- The Ceremony and
Other Events- The oath of office and President's speech began at Noon
on Thursday, January 20, 1949 on the steps of the Capitol Building in
Washington, DC. The Inaugural parade began at 1 p.m., and the Inaugural
ball was held at the National Guard Armory at 10 p.m. the same night.
- Kansas City Friends
- Thousands of Kansas Citians flocked to Washington, DC to support their
friend, and hometown hero. Several attended the Inaugural celebrations
as special guests of the Trumans. Miss Elaine Bourke (Lally) of Kansas
City, then 26, rode in the Inaugural parade as a special guest of Dr.
and Mrs. Wallace Graham, friends of the Trumans. In 1996 she donated
her gown Inaugural Ball to the Truman Library. Mrs. Mary Shaw Branton,
a friend of Margaret Truman, also attended the festivities. On Jan.
20, 1999, Mrs. Branton will act as an honorary chairman of 50th Anniversary
Inaugural Committee's gala fund raising event to benefit the Harry S.
Truman Library Learning Center.
- The debut of the
current Presidential Seal of the United States of America at an Inauguration
- The first openly
integrated Presidential Inauguration; Harry and Bess Truman ensured
that minorities were welcome to attend all events and stay in Washington
- Harry Truman was
the first President to be sworn in using two Bibles
- Presidential Seal
- This Inauguration featured the debut of the current Presidential Seal
of the United States of America. In October, 1945 President Truman signed
an executive order which, for the first time, made a legal definition
of the President's Coat of Arms, Seal and Flag. The new seal featured
an eagle facing to it's right - the direction of honor - and toward
olive branches in its right talon - symbolizing peace. The former design,
first used in 1880 by President Rutherford B. Hayes, featured the eagle
facing toward arrows in its left talon - symbolizing war.
- Television - The
1949 Inauguration was the first to be nationally televised, and was
estimated to have been viewed by 10 million Americans. More persons
watched President Truman's Inauguration than ever before had seen a
single event. It also was more than the total of all persons witnessing
all previous Presidential Inaugurations.
- Budget - The 1949
Inauguration was the most expensive and elaborate Inauguration to that
date. Republicans in Congress, predicting a Dewey (Republican) victory,
allocated a record budget of $80,000, which at that time was the largest
amount ever allocated for an Inauguration. Following is a sample of
how the funds (supplemented by general government funds) were spent
by the Inaugural Committee:
- Grandstand for
Inaugural parade $189,000
- Inaugural gala
(ball) $ 29,000
- Fireworks $ 3,950
- Commemorative medals
(souvenirs) $ 7,600
- The Crowd - More
than 600,000 visitors were expected in Washington, DC for the Inaugural
celebration. The Inaugural parade was seven miles long. Trains arrived
in Washington, DC every two minutes with visitors for the Inauguration.
More than 5,000 persons were expected to sleep in Pullman cars in the
The Harry S. Truman
Library and Museum is one of twelve presidential libraries administered
by the National Archives and Records Administration. Since its dedication
in 1957, the Truman Library has welcomed more than 8 million visitors
and attracts approximately 100,000 people annually.
The Museum is open
Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon
to 5 p.m. Regular admission fees: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (65+),
$3 ages 6-15, and under 6, free. Call 268-8200 or visit TrumanLibrary.org.
taken from The Kansas
City Star, January 17-20 editions, 1949)