U.S. National Institutes of Health

Washington’s Inauguration at Philadelphia, painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, ca. 1947

Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

George Washington took the oath of office for the second time a few months before yellow fever arrived in Philadelphia. During the epidemic, he and many other politicians fled the city for the safety of the surrounding countryside.