“Such Friends” 100 years ago, March 4, 1921, United States Capitol Building, Washington, DC

Ohioan Warren G. Harding, 55, is standing on the East Portico of the Capitol Building, waiting to take the oath of office to become the first sitting Senator and the first Baptist to be inaugurated President of the United States.

Inauguration of Warren G. Harding

Given the state of the nation’s economy, at his request the whole day will be relatively quiet. No parade. No inaugural ball.

However, at the insistence of his wife, Florence, 60, Harding is planning to announce that this week the White House will be open to the public for the first time since the start of the Great War. It’s time for his promised “return to normalcy.”

In keeping with tradition, his predecessor, President Woodrow Wilson, 64, has invited the Hardings to a small luncheon at the White House after the swearing in ceremony. Harding, a Republican, has greatly appreciated the professional courtesy Wilson, a Democrat, has shown during this peaceful transfer of power, despite Wilson having suffered a serious stroke just five months before.

But first, Harding is planning to break with tradition by going directly to a special executive session of Congress to personally present his nominees for his Cabinet (all agreed to by Florence), including Andrew W. Mellon, 65, for Secretary of the Treasury and Herbert Hoover, 64, for Secretary of Commerce.

Fingering a printer’s ruler that he keeps in his pocket for good luck—leftover from his days on the newspaper back in Marion, Ohio—the president-elect puts his right hand on the George Washington Bible and says,

I, Warren Gamaliel Harding, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.