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Inaugural Parade: 1921

Inaugural Parade: 1921

March 4, 1921. "Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding (obscured), Philander Knox and Joseph Cannon on Pennsylvania Avenue en route to Harding inauguration." Passing the National Radio School and Washington Post buildings. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

 

A low key affair

According to contemporary accounts Harding's inaugural was the simplest in living memory. He appears to have dispensed with most of the customary pomp and circumstance and rode in a five car procession which was as close to a parade as the people of DC got. The only ceremonial aspect was the small mounted cavalry escort. Beyond that his inaugural is remembered as the first to use automobiles for moving the POTUS. Prior to that we were still using horse drawn carriages at the inauguration. Mr. Wilson made the trip in the car but did not attend the swearing in ceremony on account of his ill health. He was partly paralyzed from a massive stroke. Contrary to recent reports claiming that Andrew Johnson was the last president to skip his successor's swearing, there was Mr. Wilson and one other. In 1974 Richard Nixon slinked out of town about an hour before Gerald Ford was sworn in. Mr. Trump seems to be following in some similar footsteps.

Regards the question below about top hats; Mr. Kennedy's was the last inaugural that was full dress formal. Ike was the first to adopt ordinary business attire for his inaugurals in 1953 & 57. Prior to that, presidential inaugurations were treated as a state occasion with formal morning dress de rigueur. Ronald Reagan's first inaugural in 1981 saw the last gasp of any attempted formality in dress. While Reagan did not opt for the traditional striped pants with claw hammer coat and top hat, he did wear a stroller to his swearing in. But his second in 1985 was just business suits.

Major Patton

I believe the saber-bearing officer riding behind the president's car is none other than Major George S. Patton. In 1921 he was Commanding Officer of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, stationed at Fort Myer; we see a 3rd Cavalry guidon on the right. The Model 1913 Saber the troops are carrying was designed by GSP himself.

White guys

What a difference at today’s inauguration.

A Clatter of Hooves

They appear to be hoof’n it. Maybe they’re late.

Three Packards and a Pierce-Arrow

---with a whole bunch of Model 1913 "Patton" Cavalry Sabers

Ask the Man Who Owns One ...

Looks like three Packard Twin Sixes with a Pierce-Arrow alongside. Two of the famous Three P's. All that's missing is a Peerless.

Great photo as always!

Men in top hats.

When did the top hat go out of fashion, especially in political circles? By searching I found a picture of JFK with one, but I think they were mostly gone by Eisenhower's day.

Better than you might think

No, not Harding. He was completely unqualified for and overwhelmed by the office of President.

However, "Prez," a musical based on Harding's life, is better than you might think. I have seen it. A concert version is available online:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?120623-1/ragtime-warren-g-harding

Peaceful Transfer -100

Could you imagine the winner and loser of the presidential election riding in the same car today? Me neither! Civility seems a lost and dying art. Thank you for this timely reminder!

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