FDR's Inauguration Carpet (1941)
On January 20, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for a 3rd term as President of the United States. It was a tumultuous time in history, sandwiched between the great depression of the 30’s and the Second World War. The inauguration occurred roughly ten months before Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the US into WWII.
The Theodore Bilbo Papers includes over 1000 boxes of correspondence with Mississippians and others around the country. The other 1500 boxes include subject files, photographs, family history, and regalia. One unusual item in the Bilbo papers is a 28” x 17” framed carpet that was on the speaker’s stand at the 1941 Inauguration of FDR. The back of the frame includes a cord, so that the carpet may be hung for display. There’s no background information on how the carpet came to Bilbo, but with Bilbo being a prominent, albeit controversial, senator in the Democratic Party, he had the connections to get a segment for his collection.
To learn more about the Theodore Bilbo Papers, review the guide to his collection found here. If you have any questions about this item, contact Jennifer Brannock at Jennifer.Brannock@usm.edu or 601.266.4347.
Text by Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books & Mississippiana and Andrew Rhodes, Special Collections Specialist.