Photo courtesy of St. Johns Lodge #1 A.Y.M.

George Washington Presidential Inaugural Bible on Display at LBJ Library

Dec 02, 2013

George Washington’s Bible on Display
Public may view this historic Bible one day only- December 9, 2013

What:  George Washington’s Inaugural Bible on display
When:  Monday, December 9, 2013
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: LBJ Presidential Library
2313 Red River St.
Photo Credit:
Courtesy of St. Johns Lodge #1 A.Y.M.
Anne Wheeler
[email protected], 512 721-0216

AUSTIN, TX – The George Washington Presidential Inaugural Bible will be on display at the LBJ Presidential Library on Monday, December 9, 2013.  On April 30, 1789, George Washington placed his hand on this Bible and took the oath of office, becoming the first President of the United States.   The ceremony took place at the old City Hall (later called Federal Hall) on Wall Street in New York City.  Washington wore a dark brown suit, white silk stockings and his hair was powdered, pulled back, and tied with a ribbon, the customary dress of that time.

Since that time, the Bible has been used for the inaugurations of Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

Visitors to the LBJ Library will see the Bible with its pages opened to the actual pages on which Washington placed his hand, chapters 49 and 50 of Genesis.  The Bible, a King James Version, was printed in London, and contains 103 steel engravings of maps and Old Testament scenes. 

The Bible is the property of St. John's Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons, Free & Accepted Masons, the oldest Lodge in New York State, founded in 1757.

Although many presidents take the oath of office by placing a hand on a Bible, it is not required by law.  When Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office on November 22, 1963, on board Air Force One, he placed his hand on a Catholic missal, which is displayed in the LBJ Library exhibits.