Inauguration Fact: The inaugural ball tradition began with the first inauguration, held in New York.
It was unofficial, and President Washington attended alone—his wife had not yet arrived in New York.
Dolley Madison planned the first official ball, held for her husband President James Madison in Long’s Hotel in Washington, DC. Guests paid four dollars to attend.
During Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency, the inaugural balls were canceled to preserve the solemnity of the day. Franklin D. Roosevelt brought back the tradition with an official inauguration ball in 1933, but the war would make the following balls more subdued. In 1949, President Truman began the tradition of multiple balls so that more people could participate and see the President and First Lady.
Image: President William Jefferson Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton Dancing at the Tennessee Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC, 01/20/199, ARC 5950246, Clinton Presidential Library.
The Clinton Library has just added over 14,000 pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speeches and interviews to their Digital Library.
The material highlights topics such as health care, women’s rights, the Millennium Council, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and her domestic and foreign travel. The collection contains articles, press releases, statements, speeches, and interviews of the First Lady.
The original 19th Amendment will be on display from October 19-24 at the Clinton Presidential Library. If you’re near Little Rock, Arkansas, visit the Library to see the amendment that guarantees all American women the right to vote.
Pictured here, President William Jefferson Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton waving from the back of the campaign train during the Huntington Train Kick-off event for the whistle stop tour. Huntington, West Virginia. 8/25/96
-from the Clinton Library, National Archives ID: 6160456