George Washington’s 1793 record for the shortest inaugural address still stands.
2. Who delivered the longest inaugural address ever?
William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address at 8,445 words (ironically, he served the shortest term, dying of pneumonia a month after being sworn in).
3. Who was the first president inaugurated in January?
In 1933, the 20th amendment to the US Constitution shortened the length of lame-duck administrations by moving the inauguration date of a new president from March to January 20. (During years when Jan. 20 has fallen on a weekend, presidents have been sworn in at private ceremonies, with public ceremonies on the following Monday.) Franklin Roosevelt was the first president affected, in 1937
4. Whose inauguration was the coldest one on record?
That would be Ronald Reagan. During his public inauguration on Jan. 21, 1985, the temperature at noon was seven degrees.
5. Who was the first First Lady to accompany the new president from the inauguration to the White House?
Helen Herron Taft made the trip with William Howard in 1909.
6. Whose inauguration was the first to be broadcast by radio?
Calvin Coolidge, in 1925.
7. Who was the first president to cancel the inaugural ball?
Franklin Pierce, who was grieving the recent death of his son, canceled his inaugural ball in 1853.
He wasn’t the only one, though. Woodrow Wilson felt a ball was too extravagant for such a solemn occasion. Warren G. Harding said “thanks but no thanks” to the inaugural committee, hoping to send a message of thrift and simplicity. The committee hosted a huge private party at his home instead. He started a trend: For Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, charity balls replaced inaugural balls.
For more inaugural fun facts, photos and videos, see the Senate’s Inauguration of the President Web site.