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Designs for Eisenhower’s Second Inauguration Festival
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Acclaimed designer Samuel Asch’s drawings for the Inaugural Festival at Washington, D.C.’s Uline Arena. The Festival featured prominent entertainers from the world of stage, screen, opera, dance, and popular music.

[DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER]. Second Inaugural Festival designs by Samuel Asch, New York, December 1956. 14 items, including 9 colored pencil and carbon sketches on lined paper, one Inaugural Committee circular letter, 2 photostats of Asch’s designs, and 2 photostats of images of the completed project. Includes a 1953 Inaugural Festival program.

Inventory #24773       Price: $1,250

Historical Background

January 20 fell on a Sunday in 1957, so Dwight D. Eisenhower’s formal second inauguration was held at the Capitol on Monday, January 21. The Inaugural Festival was held at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, at the Uline Arena. Inaugural Balls were held at the National Guard Armory and three hotels on January 21.

The Inaugural Festival featured prominent performers such as singer Pearl Bailey; comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello; entertainer Phil Silvers; Hungarian ballet artists Nora Kovach and Istvan Rabovsky, who defected in 1953; “Park Avenue Hillbilly” Dorothy Shay; singer Pat Boone; actress and soprano Kathryn Grayson; tap dancer and Wizard of Oz scarecrow Ray Bolger; “The Dancing De Marcos,” Sally and Tony De Marco; singer Gogi Grant; and African-American dancers, the Step Brothers. Also joining these artists were the Apollo Singing Club of Cincinnati, and the Michigan State Glee Club. The Inaugural Festival was broadcast on radio and television throughout the nation.

Opened by Dutch immigrant Miguel Uline next to his ice plant in 1941 as a hockey rink for the Washington Lions, the Uline Arena was also used in the 1950s for the Washington Capitols basketball team and the Georgetown Hoyas college basketball team. The venue hosted boxing matches, circuses, music concerts, and other events as well. Eisenhower held one of his inaugural balls in the Uline Arena in January 1953 and returned four years later for his second inaugural festival. Sold and renamed the Washington Coliseum in 1959, it was the venue for the Beatles’ first American concert in February 1964. Narrowly avoiding demolition in the early twentieth century, the Washington Coliseum is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Samuel Asch (1888-1958) was born in Russian Poland to Jewish parents and came to the United States in 1900. Initially employed as a sign painter, by 1925, he was an art decorator and exposition architect with a studio in New York City. His firm designed exhibits for trade shows and other events, including inaugurations going back to that of William Howard Taft.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) was born in Texas and grew up in Kansas. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915, served in the country during World War I, and was promoted to Major soon after. At the beginning of World War II, he joined quickly came to the attention of Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. In November 1942, Eisenhower became Supreme Commander of Allied forces in North Africa. In December 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe, and Eisenhower had primary responsibility for planning the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944. In November 1945, he returned from Europe to replace Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army. Three years later, he became President of Columbia University, where he served until 1953. In 1952 and again in 1956, he won landslide elections as a Republican candidate for the Presidency.

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