Presidential Elections

Inaugurations and the First One Hundred Days

When was the first inaugural ball held?

Although George Washington hosted an informal ball after his inauguration in 1789, the first official inaugural ball was held in honor of James Madison who, along with his wife, Dolley, danced the night away at Long’s Hotel in Washington, D.C. As time went on, the balls became more elaborate: Martin Van Buren’s inauguration featured two inaugural gala balls, and President William Henry Harrison held three to meet his supporters’ demand for tickets. Later inaugurations have featured specially built pavilions for dancing, multiple ball sites throughout the capital, and even inaugural parties in other cities. Nine inaugural balls were held in honor of President George W. Bush in 2001.


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