Inauguration Balls Past and Present

Harry S Truman's Inauguration Ball
Ralph Morse / Time Life Pictures / Getty

Presidential Gala
Parties celebrating a new U.S. President date back to the Washington Administration. Though some Presidents, like Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding, have eschewed the custom, deeming it too excessive, the Inauguration Ball has become a staple of Washington's social calendar. Harry S Truman's ball, above, was held four years after he was sworn in; when he had taken office upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, the atmosphere in the capital had been too somber for a party

Get the Latest Photos from
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.