Swearing In Bible

Swearing In Bible With this Bible Gerald Ford took the oath of office, at noon, on August 9, 1974, becoming the 38th President of the United States.  This same Bible was used eight months earlier, when on December 6, 1973, Congressman Ford was administered the oath of office as the nation’s 40th Vice President.

On each occasion, the oath was administered by the Honorable Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the United States.  When the oath was first recited by Ford over this Bible, he had opened it to the 19th Psalm, attributed to King David, which asserts, “The law of the Lord is perfect….  The Statues of the Lord are right…. [T]he judgments of the Lord are true.”  Upon taking the oath as President, Ford leafed the pages to the Book of Proverbs, chapter 3, that contains words taught to him by his mother and that he often uttered as a prayer, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

At each ceremony, Betty Ford held the Bible while the oath was administered.  When Chief Justice Burger read the oath that August 9th, Mrs. Ford recalled, “The words cut through me, pinned me to the floor.  I felt as though I were taking the oath with him, promising to dedicate my own life to the service of my country.”

After the ceremony, held in the East Room of the White House, Warren Burger handed the new President the card from which the Chief Justice read the oath (pictured here with Bible).  On the backside of the card he had written a note, the first in Ford’s nascent administration where he was referred to as “Mr. President.”
Dear Mr. President,

It occurred to me that
 you might like to have this in
 your family archives relating to
 this day’s historic events.
Our thoughts and prayers
will be with you in the difficult years
                                             Warren E. Burger
                                             Vera S. Burger

The Bible was a gift to the Fords by their eldest son, Michael, who was studying to become a minister.  It is a Jerusalem Bible, published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., in 1966.  During the Bicentennial celebrations, in 1976, the Bible was exhibited on the Freedom Train, which carried historic documents and artifacts across the United States, celebrating the nation’s 200th birthday.