First inauguration of Calvin Coolidge

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First Presidential Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge
Date August 3, 1923; 91 years ago (1923-08-03) (Private ceremony)
Location Plymouth Notch, Vermont
Coolidge Homestead
Participants Calvin Coolidge

The first inauguration of Calvin Coolidge as the 30th President of the United States occurred following the death of his predecessor, Warren G. Harding. On August 2, 1923, President Warren G. Harding died while on a speaking tour in California. Vice President Calvin Coolidge was visiting his family home, which did not have electricity or a telephone, in Vermont when he received word by messenger of Harding's death.[1] The Vice President dressed, said a prayer, and came downstairs to greet the reporters who had assembled.[1] In front of a small group of observers, including Coolidge's wife Grace and United States Representative Porter H. Dale, his father, John Calvin Coolidge, Sr., a notary public, administered the oath of office. The swearing in took place in John Coolidge's family parlor by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923; the new President Coolidge then went back to bed. Coolidge returned to Washington the next day, and was re-sworn by Justice Adolph A. Hoehling, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, as there was some confusion over whether a state notary public had the authority to administer the presidential oath.[2][3]

The United States Constitution requires the president to take an oath at the beginning of his term, but it does not identify the person or officer who is to administer the oath.[4] By 1923, and continuing to the present day, it is traditional for the Chief Justice of the United States to administer the oath, but that is not a constitutional requirement. Indeed, when George Washington was sworn in on April 30, 1789, neither the Supreme Court nor any other part of the federal judiciary had been created. In the case of Washington's first inauguration, the oath was administered by Robert Livingston, a New York state judicial officer.


  1. ^ a b Fuess, Claude M., "Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont," Little, Brown, 1940, 308–309
  2. ^ Fuess, 310–315
  3. ^ Greenberg, David (2007). Calvin Coolidge: The 30th President, 1923-1929. Macmillan. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-0-8050-6957-0. 
  4. ^ U.S. Const. art. II, s. 1