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In 2007, when he became the first Muslim, Rep. Keith Ellison used the Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson, which the Library of Congress brought over for him.

Some, though, brought their own books that have been in their families for years.

Rep. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, carried a small, pocket-sized Bible that belonged to his grandfather.

Newly elected Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, used a Bible that his father used as a pastor in Dallas. He said before the ceremony he read Psalms Chapter 40 — the same passage he read before every campaign debate and each election night.

“It was comforting encouragement,” Mr. Cruz said.