The next President to use the Masonic Bible was a Mason, Warren Gamaliel Harding, in 1921. (Harding's Inaugural Ceremony was the first to use a loudspeaker system.) Dwight D. Eisenhower followed in 1953, and Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 1989 George Herbert Walker Bush was the last President who made use of the Bible. This time in 2001 the Masonic Bible was planned to be part of the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect George Walker Bush as the 43rd President of the United States. (It so happened, ominous weather prevented its use.)
Washington Post reporter, Phil McCombs, while Thundering on the Metroliner, described the occasion as follows:
The Bible itself, published in London in 1767, is complete with the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha, supplemented with historical, astronomical and legal data from the period, plus 103 steel engravings and two foldout maps.On the next day, no one that I know picked up their copy of the Washington Post and shouted, "Holy smoke screen! Stop the press!" Someone should have, because the newsflash Philander D. Chase had passed on to Phil McCombs was the first public announcement that flat out challenged what historians and pundits ever since Washington Irving's 1857 publication of Life of Washington, vol. iv, had come to treat as an unchallenged matter of fact. No matter, despite Irving's inaugural narrative, there is no known contemporaneous account or subsequent written recollection reporting that George Washington added "so help me God" to his presidential oath.
When it arrived on the balcony, Washington -- with one hand upon it and the other over his heart, as a later famous painting  may or may not have correctly portrayed the scene* -- repeated the oath of office in a loud, firm voice," according to one noncontemporaneous account [my emphasis]. "He then added, 'So help me God,' and bent forward to kiss the Bible."
Livingston shouted, "Long live George Washington, president of the United States!" and everyone went nuts.
(Whether Washington actually added "So help me God" to the oath is not supported by any eyewitness accounts, according to Philander D. Chase, editor of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia. "He may have said those words," Chase said.)
[The Washington Post, Testament to History; Washington's Inaugural Bible Travels from New York to Do the Honors Again; Phil McCombs.Washington D.C. Jan 20, 2001. pg. C.1]
Later on, in the course of my ongoing research, I contacted Philander Chase regarding, what appeared to be, his somewhat equivocating comment: "He [Washington] may have said those words ['so help me God']," and in a November 17, 2005 e-mail , he further explained, "... Washington as president was a remarkably strict constructionist of the Constitution, and it seems to me very unlikely that he would have altered or amended the constitutional oath regardless of whatever views he may have had on the subject, and his personal views as far as they are known seem to have been pretty comfortable with the oath as it appears in the Constitution."
*In contrast the Inauguration of Washington, engraving published by Johnson, Fry & Co., after painting by Alonzo Chappel, 1859, has been considered the most authentic rendition of the inaugural scene.