Plus: Bromances and the Mad Men archives |

January 19, 2017

By Lily Rothman

When Donald Trump stands in front of the nation to take the Oath of Office on Friday, it will be the 58th Presidential Inauguration in American history. That means there’s been time for a LOT of Inaugural moments worth remembering.

TIME’s History desk has been zooming in on the big moments, from the first photograph of an Inauguration to the first boycott by lawmakers, but we also wanted to take a broad view of the ritual. That’s why I teamed up with Ryan Teague Beckwith from our politics team to bring you this run-down of every single Inaugural ceremony from 1789 to 2013. The Inaugurations trace the arc of the nation, with shout-outs to everything from the Louisiana Purchase to the Cold War, and remind us that nothing ever goes completely as planned. (I’m looking at you, people who forgot to bring a Bible for George Washington’s swearing-in.)

You can see the whole thing here and check back after Friday for an updated version.

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

10 Historians on Barack Obama's Legacy

As the 44th President of the United States prepares to leave office, 10 experts imagine how future historians will judge his legacy.

The Reason We Can't Assess President Obama's Place in History

Historians say there's a missing ingredient in any attempt to place Barack Obama on a ranked list of presidents.

This Is Why the Obama-Biden Bromance Is Surprising

Other White House friendships include the one between Rutherford B. Hayes and his Vice President, who hosted Sunday-night sing-alongs

The Real Youngest Pope Ever Had the 'Worst Reputation'

Real history is even more scandalous than TV's Young Pope

Mad Men Head of Research Shares Her Process

Looking back at the show's collections are officially archived


Feb. 2, 2009

Eight Years Ago: Obama Takes Office

A man named Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of the United States. He came to us as the ultimate outsider in a nation of outsiders—the son of an African visitor and a white woman from Kansas—and he has turned us inside out. That he leads us now is a breathtaking statement of American open-mindedness and, yes, our native liberality. Even before his first act as President, and no matter how he fares in the office, he stands as a singular event in our history.” (Feb. 2, 2009)

Read the full story

Jan. 19, 1959

Today in 1959: The Space Race

When the Soviet Lunik raced past the moon and free of the earth last week, it did more than win a triumph for its designers. It also marked a turning point in the multibillion-year history of the solar system. One of the sun's planets had at last evolved a living creature that could break the chains of its home gravitational field.” (Jan. 19, 1959)

Read the full story

Jan. 27, 1961

Inauguration 1961: JFK

“Snow stopped falling, the sky cleared, and a white winter sun shone down. At 12:51 o'clock on Jan. 20, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, his breath frosty in the frigid air, raised his right hand and pronounced the fateful words: "I do solemnly swear . . ." Thus last week did Jack Kennedy become the 35th President of the U.S. This was his time of personal triumph. But it was more than that. For the moment of Kennedy's oath taking gave meaning to all the ritual and ceremony, to all the high jinks and low capers, to all the confusion bordering on chaos, that had gone before in a wild and wonderful week.” (Jan. 27, 1961)

Read the full story


Iconic Moment The New York Times’ Helene Stapinski was able to get a look at rare video footage of the making of Marilyn Monroe’s famous subway-grate scene.

Distant Relations Another from the Times: Jon Mooallem’s magazine piece about the latest research on Neanderthals.

Places to Be In his last days in office, President Obama named five new national monuments. At the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis explain the history behind those sites.

King in Chicago In honor of MLK Day, Politico’s Joshua Zeitz had this fascinating look at a less famous period of King’s life and work.

Setting the Record Straight ABC News was one of many outlets that explained what was wrong with Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s summary of the history of civil rights, which he had offered in a statement directed at Rep. John Lewis.

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