Special Collections Division


Finding Aid to the Barack Obama Election and Inauguration Collection, 2008-2009

Processed by Chad Leinaweaver ; processing completed February 2009.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Barack Obama Election and Inauguration Collection
Dates: 2008-2009
Extent: 2.13 linear feet (1 Solander case)
Abstract: A collection of printed newspapers, magazines, clippings, and ephemera documenting Barack Obama's election and inauguration as the 44th President of the United States.
Provenance: Gift of various donors, including William J. Dane, Daniel Schnur, and Chad Leinaweaver, January 2009. Collection also includes some library purchases.
Preferred Citation: This collection should be cited as: Barack Obama Election and Inauguration Collection, Special Collections Division, Newark Public Library.
Collection Call Number: RG 1
(Referenced in the Poster Collection)

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Restrictions on Access

Access Restrictions

Available by appointment only.

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

Use Restrictions

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

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Biographical Note

Barack Obama was not only the first African American to run for the office of the President of the United States, he was also the first African American elected to that office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 to an American mother and a Kenyan father, Obama attended Columbia University and later moved to Chicago where he worked with city churches in rebuilding the South Side neighborhood. He attended law school and became the first African American president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review; he returned to Chicago to practice civil rights law, teach at the University of Chicago Law School and remain active in his old community. He was elected to the Illinois state Senate in 1996 and was elected to the United States Senate in 2004, becoming only the third African American to serve in the United States Senate since Reconstruction. Obama is married to Michelle (Robinson) Obama, a lawyer and former vice president for University of Chicago Hospitals, and has two daughters: Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7.

Barack Obama entered the race for the 2008 presidency in February 2007. He won a hard-fought campaign over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, with his nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August of 2008. Obama was elected as the first African American President of the United States when he defeated Republican John McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, on November 4. Obama received 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173, carrying states such as Florida and Ohio—states that decided the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, respectively, for Republican George W. Bush—and other important battleground states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa. The race between Obama and McCain was close throughout the summer and fall of 2008, and political pundits were uncertain even in the weeks leading up to the election, as to which candidate would win. Obama won the popular vote by 66,862,039 to 58,319,442.

President Obama's inauguration was held on Washington, DC on January 20, 2009. He was sworn in a few minutes after 12 o'clock noon by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., using the same bible Abraham Lincoln used for his own inauguration in 1861. The event was witnessed by what was estimated to be more than one million people; a sea of Americans stretched from the U.S. Capitol down the Mall past the Washington Monument. Obama's inaugural address highlighted the historic moment of his election and inauguration, but also outlined many of the challenges facing the country at the time. Yale University poet Elizabeth Alexander, evangelist Dr. Rick Warren, classical musicians Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowry, and entertainer Aretha Franklin were also part of the program at the U.S. Capitol. A variety of inaugural balls were held in Washington that evening for the new president.

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Scope and Content

Collection of various copies of newspapers, clippings, magazines, and other ephemera documenting Barack Obama's 2008 United States presidential election victory and his inauguration held on January 20, 2009. Much of the collection is iconic in origin or features many images of Barack Obama's campaign, election, and inauguration. Included is a copy of the New York Times Magazine that includes photographs of members of Obama's administration, several pictorials, clippings, magazine covers, and advertisements with many images of Obama himself or artwork of Obama. Given that many of the collection items are newspapers or clippings, there is news coverage of election night and Obama's inauguration, but also extensive stories detailing Obama and his family's background, President George W. Bush's last days in office, and news of John McCain's presidential election run.

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Access Points

The entries below represent persons, organizations, topics, forms, and occupations documented in this collection.

Subject Names:

Biden, Joseph R.
Biden, Jill
Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-
Bush, Laura Welch, 1946-
Clinton, Hillary Rodham
McCain, John, 1936-
Obama, Barack
Obama, Malia, 1998-
Obama, Michelle, 1964-
Obama, Sasha, 2001-

Subject Topics:

AM New York
Council Monitor (Newark, N.J.)
New York Post
New York Times
New York Times Book Review
New York Times Magazine
Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)
Us Weekly
Washington Post

Document Types:

Mixed media—1960-1990

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Container List


1 1 The New York Times (full copy of late edition) Nov. 5, 2008
1 2 Star-Ledger (front page spread) Nov. 5, 2008
1 3 The Washington Post (copy of sections A, B, C, E, F, AA) Jan. 20, 2009
1 4 Star-Ledger "Change comes to America" section Jan. 18, 2009
1 5 "Presidents' Day Celebration" New York Times Store Advertising section [Feb. 15, 2009]
1 6 Star-Ledger (front and special inaugural sections) Jan. 21, 2009
1 7 AM New York (full issue) Jan. 21, 2009
1 8 New York Post (late city final edition, inauguration souvenir) Jan. 21, 2009
1 9 "Barack Obama in the Times" New York Times Store Advertising section ca. Nov.-Dec. 2008


1 10 "Obama's People" New York Times Magazine Jan. 18, 2009
1 11–12 Time (special commemorative edition, 2 copies) 2008
1 13 The Council Monitor (Newark, N.J.) Winter 2008
1 14 Time November 17, 2008
1 15–18 Time (commemorative edition, 4 copies) November 17, 2008
1 19 Time November 24, 2008
1 20 Newsweek (Special commemorative issue) 2009
1 21 People November 24, 2008

Newspaper and Magazine Clippings

1 22 "Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama: American Presidents," Full-page advertisement from the Danbury Mint, Star-Ledger Essex County section Nov. 25, 2008
1 23 New York Post (late city final edition) p. 1-8 Nov. 11, 2008
1 24 "Congratulations to… Barack Obama" full-page advertisement From Crown booksellers, New York Times, sec. A, p. 7 Nov. 14, 2008
1 25 "History has been made…" and "…but the future can't wait," Star-Ledger, Opinion section, p. 20 Nov. 5, 2008
1 26 Cropped front cover, New York Times Magazine Nov. 9, 2008
1 27 Cropped front cover, Us Weekly magazine [Nov. 14, 2008]
1 28 Cover, New York Times Book Review Jan. 18, 2009
1 29 "Barack Obama in the Times" advertisement, New York Times Dec. 31, 2008

Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Items

1 30 Two e-mail print-outs from Carol Barton concerning the "Inauguration Commemorative Pop-up! (included within the Jan. 20, 2009 edition of The Washington Post) Jan. 19, 2009
1 31 Program, "Celebration, Presidential Inauguration of Barack H. Obama," [Newark City Hall?], Newark, N.J. [ca. Jan. 20, 2009]

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