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, 01/20/1997, ARC 5950246, Clinton Presidential Library.
A look back at the last US team to win gold in women’s gymnastics!
The National Archives holds Federal records, so we don’t have any pictures of this year’s gold-medal winning gymnasts (but if they visit the White House when they come home, we will eventually have those records). Instead, here’s a Presidential photograph from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library from 1996, the last time the American team won gold in women’s gymnastics: President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton pose for a photo with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team in the Blue Room, August 7, 1996. (Photographer: Bob McNeely)
Who is your favorite gymnast of the 2012 Fab Five?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated as an Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton on June 22, 1993. The Senate confirmed Ginsburg’s nomination on August 3 by a vote of 96-3. She was sworn in on August 10.
Nomination message from President William Clinton, 6/22/1993, Records of the U.S. Senate
President William J. Clinton Playing the Saxophone at the 14th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, 06/18/1993
April 19, 1995: The Oklahoma City Bombing
Timothy McVeigh began his plot to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in September 1994. Shortly after that, he began purchasing the ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane racing fuel and diesel fuel which made up the truck-sized bomb. He had chosen his target by the end of 1994, and a few days before the bombing on April 19, McVeigh rented a 20 foot Ryder truck and loaded it with the explosives.
On the morning of April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked the truck with explosives in front of the complex. At 9:02am, a massive explosion occurred ripping off nearly a third of the building and creating a crater thirty feet wide and eight feet deep.
The explosion killed 149 adults and 19 children inside the building and injured more than 680 others. The bomb damaged or destroyed 324 other buildings and caused over $650 million in damage in downtown Oklahoma City.
Seen here is a page of the statement delivered by President Bill Clinton on the day of the attack. The President’s edits are handwritten on the page.
-More at the Presidential Timeline
February is National Hot Breakfast Month - Did you eat a hot breakfast this morning?
Just so you know…January is Be Kind to Food Servers Month.
Please remember to be nice to your waiter, waitress or lunch lady!
With the passing of Vaclav Havel last month, here is a candid image of the former Czech president with Bill Clinton. The two friends are having dinner and a beer with Madeleine Albright and others at the Golden Tiger Pub in Prague. 1/11/94.
Thanks to John, one of our archivists at the Clinton Library, for locating it in the holdings and including this note, “I wanted to send you a cool image that shows the wonderful relationship these two leaders shared.”
Clinton Library photo ID: P11302-15a
1995 Government Shutdown
16 years ago today:
Tomorrow it will be 16 years since a confrontation between the White House and the Republican congressional leadership over the budget results in a partial shutdown of the federal government. December 16, 1995.
Take a look at President Clinton’s statement on the impending shutdown and budget negotiations from December 15, 1995.
October 23, 1995
That’s hilarious, Mr. President
This photograph, taken on the porch at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY, shows President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sharing a laugh after President Yeltsin made a joke about journalists.
Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat together - the historic handshake between the Israeli Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) took place after the signing of the Middle East Peace Agreement on September 13, 1993.
The ceremony was held on the South Lawn of the White House.
-from the Clinton Library
Imagine President Clinton on the phone with astronauts aboard the Endeavor Space Shuttle. Now, read the transcript between the White House and space:
The Oval Office
12:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Can you hear me?
MISSION COMMANDER RONALD GRABE: Mr. President, I believe we hear you, but slightly broken up.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we can hear you, and we are looking at you. And you all look wonderful.
COMMANDER GRABE: Well, you’re loud and clear now, Mr. President. That’s much better.
THE PRESIDENT: We want to congratulate you on a spectacular launch and on looking so happy. The American people are very reassured watching you on television now.
COMMANDER GRABE: Well, thank you, sir. It’s early in the mission, but we’re very excited about the mission. It’s certainly a multifaceted one and it really does show the versatility of the space shuttle. We’re doing a little bit of everything on this flight.
THE PRESIDENT: I know. I understand one of the things you’re doing is chasing down the Eureca satellite that was put up by the shuttle last July. And I’m especially pleased about that because it shows what we can do in the way of international cooperation as well as science. And I want to congratulate you on that and wish you well.
ASTRONAUT VOSS: Thank you very much, Mr. President. We’ve been working very hard for about a year training for this rendezvous and retrieval. And we’re had a lot of fantastic support both in our own country and our own ground support team, and the international team all over in Europe and we’re looking forward to bringing back great science on Eureca to the Europeans.
THE PRESIDENT: We’re looking forward to that, too. I also understand that David and Jeff will be outside the shuttle practicing for the repair of the Hubbell Telescope and for the future assembly of the space station. And I thought that maybe one of them or both would like to comment on it so people can get a good look at you now, and when they see you outside in your suits they’ll know who they’re seeing.
ASTRONAUT WISOFF: Well, Mr. President, we’re looking very forward to the space walk. We feel proud to be able to represent America. And we’re very happy of your support of the space station. We think it represents the best of America and their pioneering spirit and the NASA team has done a really great job of preparing us for our flight. And I think that both Dave and I just can’t wait to get there.
-From June 22, 1993
Read the full phone conversation through the Clinton Presidential Library.