Lincoln Bible

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Lincoln Bible

The Lincoln Bible is the Bible owned by President Abraham Lincoln, and was later used by Barack Obama at his two inaugurations in 2009 and 2013, as well as the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017. The Lincoln family donated the Bible to the Library of Congress, which includes it in their collection.


The Bible is an Oxford University Press edition of the King James Bible. Published in 1853, it has 1280 pages, and measures approximately 6 inches (150 mm) long by 4 inches (100 mm) wide, and 1.75 inches (44 mm) thick,[1][2] and is bound in burgundy red velvet with gilt edges.[2][3] The back flyleaf of the Bible bears the seal of the Supreme Court of the United States along with a record of the 1861 inauguration.[4] The Bible is not a rare edition, and a similar Bible lacking the Lincoln Bible's historical significance would be valued at approximately $30 or $40.[4]


Abraham Lincoln reached Washington, D.C. for his inauguration in 1861. His belongings, including his Bible, had yet to arrive. William Thomas Carroll, the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, fetched a Bible that he kept for official use. This became the Lincoln Bible.[5] Although the Bible remained with Carroll for a time, the Lincolns acquired it at an unknown time. The Bible later remained with the Lincoln family up until 1928, at which point Mary Eunice Harlan, the widow of Robert Todd Lincoln, donated it to the Library of Congress.[4] When the Bible was donated, it contained markers at the 31st chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy and the fourth chapter of the Book of Hosea.[6] Barack Obama chose this Bible for his inaugurations in 2009[3] and 2013.[7] The Bible was on display at the Library of Congress until 2009 in a celebration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.[2] The Bible was used to swear in Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016.[8] Donald Trump was sworn in on this Bible and his childhood Bible at his inauguration on January 20, 2017.[9]

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