Lynch was sworn in using a bible once belonging to abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The book was given to Douglass as a gift from members of the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C. just before he departed for Haiti in 1889 to serve as a U.S. minister resident and consul general.
On Wednesday, the more than 100-year-old bible gained more significance when it was used to swear in the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general.
Like Lynch, many lawmakers and officials have turned to historic holy texts, including bibles, Torahs, Qurans, the constitution and the Bhagavad Gita, to help cement their place in history.
At his 2009 Inauguration, President Obama became the first president to be sworn in on the Lincoln Bible since President Abraham Lincoln himself. For his 2013 inauguration, the president doubled the historical significance and coupled the Lincoln Bible with the “traveling bible” Martin Luther King, Jr. used as a pastor and while he traveled across the country fighting for equal rights.
Four presidents – Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush - have taken the oath of office with the bible George Washington used when he was inaugurated as the first president of the United States in 1789.
Many politicians turn to holy texts belonging to their family for generations. Vice President Joe Biden has used a bible that is 5 inches thick and has been in his family since 1893 each time he was sworn in as a U.S. senator and both times he was sworn in as vice president. His son Beau also used the bible for his swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware.
But sometimes with age comes controversy, as is the case with a famous Texas bible. Governors in Texas, including George W. Bush and Rick Perry, have abided by a centuries-old tradition of taking the oath of office on a bible belonging to Sam Houston, two-time president of the Republic of Texas and a former state governor. But in recent years, researchers have questioned whether the 199-year-old bible actually belonged to the Texas legend.
In 2013, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, became the first member of Congress to be sworn in on a Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred text.