When Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, he will do so with his hand on two Bibles: his own, and one used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Only one other president has used that Bible for the oath: Mr. Trump’s predecessor.
Mr. Trump’s personal Bible was given to him by his mother in 1955, two days before his ninth birthday, according to a statement from the inaugural committee. He had just completed the Sunday Church Primary School at the First Presbyterian Church in Queens, where he grew up.
‘A Certain Kind of Electricity’
To use the Lincoln Bible, the inaugural committee has to borrow it from its permanent home at the Library of Congress.
Lincoln swore the oath on it at his first inaugural in 1861, as the United States stood on the cusp of the Civil War. It was not used again at an inauguration until the election of Barack Obama, who was sworn in on it in 2009 and again in 2013.
Conservationists at the Library of Congress said the book was ready for another big day, though they have wary eyes turned toward a weather forecast that hints at the possibility of rain.
“We always have it in the back of our mind that this might be happening,” said Elmer Eusman, who is the head of conservation. “So we’re prepared.”
“We already had made a protective box for it for Obama’s inauguration,” he said, adding that the library is creating a Mylar wraparound for the cover to protect it from rain.
Mr. Eusman said the library would also have someone on standby who will be notified immediately if the Bible has been damaged and will whisk it back to a conservation lab for immediate repair.
The steps are mostly precautionary. The Lincoln Bible is in good shape, and “it can certainly sustain this kind of activity,” said Mark Dimunation, the head of rare books and special collections.
The Bible was given to the library by Mary Lincoln, the widow of Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, Mr. Dimunation said. The collection also included the contents of President Lincoln’s pocket from the night he was killed.
Source: New York Times