Every four years, on the Saturday after the second Wednesday in January, Virginia’s three highest elected officials – the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the attorney general – are inaugurated. Witnessing the event will be both houses of the General Assembly, a large company of invited guests, and members of the news media. In a ceremony that has not changed significantly since the 1930s, the new governor and his colleagues will take an oath of office to support and defend the state’s constitution and execute the laws of the commonwealth.
Invitation and ticket information for the inauguration of Governor Thomas B. Stanley on 20 January 1954.
Video clip: John S. Battle takes the oath of office as Virginia Governor in 1950, with former Governors William Tuck and Colgate Darden in attendance.
Mills Edwin Godwin, Jr. (1914-1999) was the only modern two-term governor of Virginia. He served as a Democrat from 1966-1970 and as a Republican from 1974-1978. Video of Godwin's 1966 inauguration.
Abner Linwood Holton (1970-1974) was the first Republican governor in Virginia in a century.
The Holton administration focused on improving and reducing the cost of governmental services to the state’s citizens and reducing the number of departments reporting directly to the Governor.
The inaugural committee for George F. Allen in 1994 recognized the public’s insatiable desire for memorabilia and offered a catalog of keepsakes including inaugural boots and a watch.
Recent governors have created websites to share information about inaugural events and activities. Image: snapshot of archived homepage of the Kaine Inaugural 2006 website, captured 16 January 2006.
Research, text, and arrangement by Barbara Batson, Exhibitions Coordinator, Education and Programs Department; Roger Christman, State Records Archivist, State Records Department; and Brent Tarter, former editor, Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Editing and assistance from Sonya Coleman, Digital Collections Specialist and Julie Campbell, former editor of Virginia Cavalcade.
Imaging by Paige Buchbinder and Mark Fagerburg, Photo & Digital Imaging Services Department and Roger Christman, State Records.
All images from Manuscripts & Special Collections (Personal Papers Collection and Prints and Photographs Collection) and State Records Collection, Library of Virginia.