Harding, Coolidge take office

First presidential selfie ever? Republican presidential nominee Warren G. Harding and his pick for vice president, Calvin Coolidge, pictured together at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 1920. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI
First presidential selfie ever? Republican presidential nominee Warren G. Harding and his pick for vice president, Calvin Coolidge, pictured together at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 1920. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI

WASHINGTON, March 4, 1921 (UP) - President Warren G. Harding and Vice President Calvin Coolidge assumed office today.

The inaugural ceremonies that gave the nation its twenty-ninth chief executive were simple but impressive.


Thirty-eight words marked the oath that made Harding Ohio's seventh native son in the White House.

The inaugural ceremonies were conducted under half-masted flags, reminders of the fact that as a new Republican administration took the helm, Champ Clark, a great Democrat, lay dead nearby.

Woodrow Wilson, who for eight years has headed the government, was busy with official duties until the close of the administration, signing bills at the capitol. He did not attend the inauguration.

Chief Justice White of the United States Supreme Court administered the constitutional pledge to Harding. White served in a similar capacity each time Wilson was inaugurated president. The pledge Harding gave was as follows:

"I, Warren G. Harding, do solemnly sear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Under the rule of simplicity imposed by Harding, the vast throng who watched his induction into office stood throughout the entire ceremony.


Thirty blind soldiers, veterans of the World War, alone of the vast assemblage were provided with chairs.

Diplomats, generals, cabinet officers, men and women alike remained standing until Harding's address brought the inauguration to an end.

Bright sunshine lured the inaugural visitors out early this morning and hundreds of them were grouped around the capitol hours before the ceremonies were scheduled to start.

President-elect Harding and Mrs. Harding met the joint inaugural committee at their hotel shortly before 10:30 a.m. and left for the White House. They spent 30 minutes in their future home with President and Mrs. Wilson.

Mrs. Harding wore a dark blue dress with collar facing of lighter blue, and dark hat, with plume trimmings.

The presidential party then left the White House for the capitol.

President Wijlson and Harding rote in the auto that led the procession. There was a slight delay in starting while Wilson was helped into the automobile. Secret service men had to help him lift his feet onto the steps of the car.

Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Harding occupied the second car. The third car bore Vice President Marshall and Coolidge, and the fourth their wives. Cars carrying secret service men and newspaper men completed the procession.


A large crowd had gathered outside the White House gates to observe the departure. A guard of honor at the White House consisted of Washington High School Cadets with drummers and buglers.

Wilson sat with immobile expression beside Harding during the 10-minute trip to the capitol.

Upon arrival at the capitol Harding went at once to the president's room. Wilson was taken to another entrance and helped into the elevator, which carried him to the same room. While Harding talked with members of the inauguration committee Wilson sat at the desk signing bills and completing work of his administration.

In the meantime the Senate chamber was rapidly filling for the Coolidge inaugural ceremonies. Mrs. Harding and others of the party went to the Senate gallery after their arrival from the White House.

Mrs. Coolidge, her two young sons and the incoming vice president's father sat in the front row near Mrs. Harding and the father of the new president.

When the ceremonies for Coolidge started, President Wilson, who had been expected to attend, was whisked away to his new home. It was announced that he had been advised by his physicians not to remain through the ceremonies. Wilson carried a cane with him, and kept his left arm bent close to his side.


Following the inauguration of Coolidge, Harding walked to the east porch of the capitol and out to the inauguration stand, where he took the oath and delivered his inaugural message.

Following the ceremonies, President Harding and the new first lady of the land rode to the White House to take formal possession.

At the Wilson residence the Democratic cabinet and other officials of the administration gathered for their last act of homage to their chief. This unusual act was planned by Secretary of War Baker and Robert W. Wooley.

While interest of the throngs at the ceremonies today was centered in the new chief executive and his wife, considerable attention was paid to the 10 members of Harding's cabinet, who were together for the first time. Members of the cabinet are:

Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, New York.

Secretary of War, John Wingate Weeks, Massachusetts.

Secretary of Navy, Edwin Denby, Michigan.

Secretary of Treasury, Andrew W. Mellon, Pennsylvania.

Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, California.

Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty, Ohio.

Secretary of Interior, Sen. Albert B. Fall, New Mexico.

Secretary of Labor, James J. Davis, Pennsylvania.

Postmaster General, Will H. Hays, Indiana.

Secretary of Agriculture, Henry C. Wallace, Iowa.


Harding, Wilson, members of the new and old cabinets, diplomats and other officials were resplendent in silk hats and formal morning attire throughout the ceremonies.

Governors of many states were present.

Although Harding has put his stamp of disapproval on any official inaugural ball, there are three slated to be held tonight. One is by the Ohioans in Washington. The others are a charity ball for the public, and one of a private nature, given by Mrs. Edward McLean. Dances and dinner parties were on the cards at many of the embassies.

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