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Barack Obama Election and Inauguration Collection

Identifier: PC 1

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Majority of material found within 2008 - 2009

Conditions Governing Access

Available by appointment only. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Barack Obama was not the first African American to run for the office of the President of the United States, but he was 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 and Sasha.

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.


2.13 Linear Feet (1 Solander box)

Language of Materials



A collection of printed newspapers, magazines, clippings, and ephemera documenting Barack Obama's election and inauguration as the 44th President of the United States.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of various donors, including William J. Dane, Daniel Schnur, and Chad Leinaweaver, January 2009. Collection also includes some library purchases.

Chad Leinaweaver
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Newark Public Library Repository

5 Washington Street
PO Box 630
Newark NJ 07102 USA