A commenter on The Stranger's historic inauguration coverage writes:

I haven't had time to sit down and read the article through yet, just glanced at it, I just wanted to say the illustrations that accompanied the story by Kathryn Rathke are just fucking beautiful.

Totally. Just look at this (click that above link for a better-quality version of it):


What you might not know if you haven't spent the last two months digging through archived material from past presidential inaugurations is that this image is an update on and an homage to an 1861 wood engraving depicting Lincoln's first inauguration.


Lincoln's first inauguration was a bit of a nail-biter, considering he had won after not even having been on the ballot in nine Southern states. Certain people wanted him dead so badly, especially in Baltimore; passing through that city, he grudgingly agreed to let his advisers sneak him out of town 12 hours earlier than scheduled, under cover of night and in a disguise (he put on a hat other than a top hat—I love you, 19th century) because the Baltimore police—the police!—refused to protect him.

As for the above image, according to this site:

While early inaugurations were small, local affairs, by Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration the crowds had swelled from thousands to tens of thousands, lining the parade route and packing the Capitol grounds. The entire nation shared in the excitement thanks to illustrated weekly newspapers, which delivered images within days of the event to homes across the country. With the nation on the brink of civil war, Abraham Lincoln feared that violence would mar his inauguration day. For the first time during an American presidential inauguration, the primary duty of the military units escorting the president was to protect him rather than to serve a ceremonial role. The inauguration was held on the east front of the Capitol, with the unfinished dome providing a symbolic image of the fragmented nation.

There are more drawings of past inaugurations here. There is another drawing by Rathke, of Obama being sworn in, here.