I was giving tours on Saturday and someone asked about McKinley's inauguration, which made me go do some research! You can check out this site on McKinley's. There are a lot of pieces on inauguration history at this LOC exhibit site. You can also check out this chronology with facts on each inauguration. I also found this site, which had a bunch of fun things on inaugurations. I rather enjoyed McKinley's rules for the ball! I actually found it really interesting that you weren't allowed to smoke! I also found this piece, which was a protest ball against Polk very cool:
Sir: You are no doubt aware that extensive preparations are being made by the Democratic Associations of the District of Columbia, aided by other Democratic citizens, and Representatives and Senators in Congress, to give a magnificent Ball on the evening of the 4th of March next, in honor of the inauguration of James K. Polk as President and George M. Dallas as Vice President of the United States. This is intended as a complimentary affair, and will be attended with great expense. Another Ball has been started here by the office-holders of questionable politics, upon the list of Managers of which are to be found many most ungenerous and uncompromising Whigs, who in the recent contest not only denounced the Democratic party as an illiterate rabble, but libelled Colonel Polk, and descended into the tomb of his patriotic ancestor to disturb his ashes. We are unwilling that such men shall do honor to the occasion in the name of the Democratic party. This mongrel Ball is called the "National Inauguration Ball," and the price of tickets was originally fixed at $10, to keep up, as some of the managers were heard to observe, the respectability of their Ball. The managers of that affair, however, to rid it of the odium which attaches to it on account of its exclusiveness, and to make it more popular with this community, have reduced the price of tickets to $5. They expect by this movement to draw the active Democracy of the country to the Ball, and to injure the regular untainted "Democratic Ball" thereby. We assure our Democratic friends, (whom we did not deceive when the contest raged fiercely, and when the most of the managers on the part of the citizens here of the National Inauguration Ball were fighting against us and you,) that in the question between these two Balls are involved the purity, the integrity, and stern purposes of the Democratic party. We would scorn to hold a contest about a ball, if it were a mere question as to the social fitness of either. But this is a strange city. The Democracy have heretofore gained many victories by fierce contests over enfranchised citizens, but their effects were scarcely visible in this disfranchised District two months after the termination of the battle. We presume you understand us, and will sustain us, by procuring subscribers to our Ball from amongst those who will attend the inauguration. Invitations to the "Democratic Inauguration Ball" will be forwarded to the ladies of your section of country by the Democratic Members of Congress in a few days.