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Obama takes oath on Abraham Lincoln's Bible

world Updated: Jan 20, 2009 23:42 IST

Barack Obama, the first black-American President of the US, on Tuesday took oath on the same Bible used to swear in Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Williams administered oath of office to Obama, the 44th President of the US, at the Capitol in the presence of a sea of humanity.

The Bible was carried by his wife and the First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Obama, who is an ardent follower of the 16th US President who led the country during the civil war, had also announced his historic bid for the presidency from the steps of the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, the same spot where Lincoln, another state legislator, began his quest.

There are several Bibles that boast a Lincoln pedigree still in existence. A family Bible is at his Kentucky birthplace, and another, famously presented in 1864 to the president by African-Americans grateful that the President had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, is in the archives at Fisk University in Nashville.

But Obama gravitated to the two Bibles in the library's collection. The Lincoln family brought one of them from Illinois when they moved to Washington in 1861 -- but because it was packed among the household goods, it was not found in time to be used in Lincoln's first inaugural ceremony.

A substitute Bible was quickly provided, and Lincoln repeated the short oath of office given by Chief Justice Roger Taney -- a moment recorded in the back of the book by the clerk of the Supreme Court.

The Bible was given to the library in 1928 by the widow of Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert.