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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration Bible

When Barack Obama makes history, he will be using the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used on March 4, 1861.
It was not the family Bible, because the Lincoln family possessions were still packed up and en route to Washington from Illinois, but one that was specially purchased on the eve of the inauguration by the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
And it wasn't even new, having been published by the Oxford University Press in 1853.

A handsome volume, it is bound in burgundy velvet and edged heavily in gilt. The two covers are both protected on three sides by a narrow metal edge, which accounts for what is described as its "tolerably good condition" now. Held at the Library of Congress, it even has provenance -- a handwritten testimonial by the Clerk who bought it.

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