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Warren G. Harding: Twenty-Ninth President of the United States
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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 05, 2010 09:04PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Warren G. Harding

Before his nomination, Warren G. Harding declared, "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality...."

A Democratic leader, William Gibbs McAdoo, called Harding's speeches "an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea." Their very murkiness was effective, since Harding's pronouncements remained unclear on the League of Nations, in contrast to the impassioned crusade of the Democratic candidates, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Thirty-one distinguished Republicans had signed a manifesto assuring voters that a vote for Harding was a vote for the League. But Harding interpreted his election as a mandate to stay out of the League of Nations.

Harding, born near Marion, Ohio, in 1865, became the publisher of a newspaper. He married a divorcee, Mrs. Florence Kling De Wolfe. He was a trustee of the Trinity Baptist Church, a director of almost every important business, and a leader in fraternal organizations and charitable enterprises.

He organized the Citizen's Cornet Band, available for both Republican and Democratic rallies; "I played every instrument but the slide trombone and the E-flat cornet," he once remarked.

Harding's undeviating Republicanism and vibrant speaking voice, plus his willingness to let the machine bosses set policies, led him far in Ohio politics. He served in the state Senate and as Lieutenant Governor, and unsuccessfully ran for Governor. He delivered the nominating address for President Taft at the 1912 Republican Convention. In 1914 he was elected to the Senate, which he found "a very pleasant place."

An Ohio admirer, Harry Daugherty, began to promote Harding for the 1920 Republican nomination because, he later explained, "He looked like a President."

Thus a group of Senators, taking control of the 1920 Republican Convention when the principal candidates deadlocked, turned to Harding. He won the Presidential election by an unprecedented landslide of 60 percent of the popular vote.

Republicans in Congress easily got the President's signature on their bills. They eliminated wartime controls and slashed taxes, established a Federal budget system, restored the high protective tariff, and imposed tight limitations upon immigration.

By 1923 the postwar depression seemed to be giving way to a new surge of prosperity, and newspapers hailed Harding as a wise statesman carrying out his campaign promise--"Less government in business and more business in government."

Behind the facade, not all of Harding's Administration was so impressive. Word began to reach the President that some of his friends were using their official positions for their own enrichment. Alarmed, he complained, "My...friends...they're the ones that keep me walking the floors nights!"

Looking wan and depressed, Harding journeyed westward in the summer of 1923, taking with him his upright Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. "If you knew of a great scandal in our administration," he asked Hoover, "would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?" Hoover urged publishing it, but Harding feared the political repercussions.

He did not live to find out how the public would react to the scandals of his administration. In August of 1923, he died in San Francisco of a heart attack.

Source: The White House Biographies

message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig One of our members recently mentioned this book, so I thought I would share:

The Teapot Dome Scandal by Laton McCartney by Laton McCartney

message 3: by Bryan (new)

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks Bryan. It is a good thing to work on all of the Presidential threads and add the books that need to be added for them all. This will help to prepare potential lists for all of the presidents.

Thank you for doing this.

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Glad to do it. I will try to work on this a little more.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks a lot for your efforts Bryan; and I think it would be great to start enhancing all of these threads once again. And of course Jerry thank you too.

message 7: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Landry Bentley wrote: "Thanks a lot for your efforts Bryan; and I think it would be great to start enhancing all of these threads once again. And of course Jerry thank you too."

No problem at all! I noticed a few others that I'm going to try to fill in as well. I have a running list of presidential books, so I try to add in what I have when I have a chance.

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Jerry; add away. We have a thread per president and we would like to build up lists of books for each one.

message 9: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Here is something interesting about Harding and the influence of women voters. Today in history:

On November 23, 1921, President Warren Harding signed the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act, which contributed matching federal funds to states to establish and run prenatal and child health care centers. Although it was not a strong act, it was still a significant move by the federal government toward providing public health care to mothers and infants.

Reformers had sought similar legislation since 1917, but it was not until 1921 that a number of factors combined to push it through. In 1912, President William Taft established the Children's Bureau, which began a nationwide investigation of maternal and infant mortality rates. The agency soon discovered that nearly 80 percent of U.S. women did not receive proper prenatal care-a fact starkly illustrated during World War I when thousands of men failed to pass their physicals due to afflictions stemming from inadequate medical care as children. Indeed, while the Bureau found a correlation between economic level and mortality rates, the mortality rates at all income levels were much higher in the United States than in other industrialized nations.

While the Bureau's findings clearly demonstrated the existence of a severe problem, there was little agreement on how to solve it. The few existing state-run child welfare clinics had proven effective at reducing infant mortality and bettering overall health, and many groups sought to duplicate this model on a national scale. Others, most notably the American Medical Association (AMA), were hesitant to accept a widening of federal involvement in medical care. The AMA was wary of government encroachment on their autonomy as medical professionals and criticized the act as neo-socialist. These reservations succeeded in blocking the passage of such legislation as early as 1918.

With the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 granting women the right to vote, however, political power shifted dramatically. Women had long been the leading voices of reform in various areas of social welfare, especially in regards to child and maternal health care. President Harding responded to this newly created constituency by actively supporting the passage of Sheppard-Towner as well as appointing women to high posts within his administration. The legislation itself proved to be temporary, however. Underfinanced from the beginning, the AMA-led campaign against Sheppard-Towner finally succeeded in 1929 when Congress did not renew its funding.

message 10: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Great post Bryan, very interesting and good info.

message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig You are welcome. I did not know about this law until yesterday!

message 12: by Bryan (last edited Jan 04, 2012 12:58PM) (new)

Bryan Craig Here is a reference source for all things Harding (up until 1991 or so):

Warren G. Harding A Bibliography (Bibliographies of the Presidents of the United States) by Richard G. Frederick Richard G. Frederick

message 13: by Bryan (last edited Jul 29, 2013 07:47AM) (new)

Bryan Craig For the specialist:

(no image) Latin American Policy of Warren G. Harding by Kenneth J. Grieb (no photo)

message 14: by Bryan (last edited Jan 04, 2012 01:02PM) (new)

Bryan Craig This has got some good reviews:

Florence Harding The First Lady, The Jazz Age, And The Death Of America's Most Scandalous President by Carl Sferrazza Anthony by Carl Sferrazza Anthony

Library Journal:
Anthony's extensive subtitle pretty much sums up his huge book on the driven wife of one our most unfortunate presidents. This work follows Anthony's two-volume history, First Ladies (LJ 8/90), and, more recently, As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Friends and Family (HarperCollins, 1997). His new book is a massive, incredibly detailed study of the Hardings, the unhappy couple who thrived in the seamy atmosphere of official Washington during and after World War I. We get Warren Harding, scandals and all, and after a while the reader becomes repulsed at the president's dalliances and improprieties. Anthony takes pains to raise out of the muck Florence's positive contributions, including the creation of Zion National Park, implementation of the federal women's prison system, and staunch support for the establishment of the Veterans Bureau. Anthony's book is an essential-if uncomfortable-guide to the wild side of Jazz Age Washington and an important corrective to what we think we know about this era. Recommended.
-?Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. LibAmes
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc

message 15: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Bryan wrote: "This has got some good reviews:

Florence Harding The First Lady, The Jazz Age, And The Death Of America's Most Scandalous President by Carl Sferrazza Anthony by Carl Sferrazza Anthony


Now I am very curious, so on the to-read list it goes. Thanks for pointing this one out.

message 16: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Indeed, it is on my TBR list!

Florence Harding The First Lady, The Jazz Age, And The Death Of America's Most Scandalous President by Carl Sferrazza Anthony Carl Sferrazza Anthony

message 17: by Bryan (last edited Jul 29, 2013 07:51AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I haven't been there yet, but I hope to:

The Harding Home Museum in Marion, Ohio

The Harding Home was the residence of Warren G. and Florence Kling DeWolfe Harding for the 30 years of their marriage prior to Harding’s election to the U.S. Presidency. The Hardings moved into the home in July 1891, shortly after its construction. The couple married at the foot of the stairs on July 8, 1891. The exterior of the home originally was painted red with dark red trim. The Hardings had the home repainted green with white trim in 1903, the color of the home ever since. The first front porch, which was wooden, was replaced that same year with the large, grand porch we see today.

The Hardings lived in the home full-time from 1891 through 1915, when Harding entered the U.S. Senate. During the next five years, they lived in a home on Wyoming Avenue in Washington D.C and occasionally visited their hometown. In 1920, all eyes turned toward Marion, Ohio, and the Hardings’ Mt. Vernon Avenue home when Sen. Harding conducted his famous Front Porch Campaign for the U.S. Presidency.

The campaign, the last front porch campaign in American history, focused on Harding’s “Return to Normalcy” theme following World War I. The Republican platform that year included adoption of a federal budget system; founding the Veterans Bureau; lowering taxes; and opposing the League of Nations. Harding celebrated his birthday, November 2, with an easy win over fellow Ohioan James Cox. Harding secured 60.3 percent of the popular vote and 404 electoral votes. He won the first presidential election in which women had the right to vote.

After just 29 months in office, President Harding died of a heart attack on Aug. 2, 1923 in San Francisco. During his short time in office, the popular president succeeded in establishing the Bureau of the Budget; the Veterans Bureau; staging the first peace conference in world history; and laying the foundation for a World Court. Mrs. Harding, who suffered for many years with kidney disease, never returned to her Marion home, and died on Nov. 21, 1924 in her hometown. Her will stipulated that the home and much of her personal property be donated to the Harding Memorial Association in order to open the home as a museum. The museum opened its doors in 1926.

The Harding Memorial Association operated the home until 1978, when financial problems forced it to ask the State of Ohio to take over ownership. Since that time, the Ohio Historical Society has managed the site for the state. This spring, a local management group will manage the site on behalf of the OHS.

About 95 percent of the objects in the Harding Home are original to the Hardings. On guided tours, visitors view the Harding’s furniture, decorative arts, clothing, gaslights and other furnishings. The site’s collection includes objects from the Hardings’ Marion home, Senate home and from their life in the White House.

Also on site in the Press House, which was constructed in 1920 as work space for the newspaper reporters covering the campaign. It now houses a small museum and gift shop.

message 18: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) For years rumors swirled around Harding that he had "negro" blood, the kiss of death in the early 20th century. Below is an article from the NY Times (written before President Obama was elected). Very interesting.

Our First Black President?

Published: April 6, 2008

Will Americans vote for a black president? If the notorious historian William Estabrook Chancellor was right, we already did. In the early 1920s, Chancellor helped assemble a controversial biographical portrait accusing President Warren Harding of covering up his family’s “colored” past. According to the family tree Chancellor created, Harding was actually the great-grandson of a black woman. Under the one-drop rule of American race relations, Chancellor claimed, the country had inadvertently elected its “first Negro president.”

In today’s presidential landscape, many Americans view the prospect of a black man in the Oval Office as a sign of progress — evidence of a “postracial” national consciousness. In the white-supremacist heyday of the 1920s (the Ku Klux Klan had a major revival during the Harding years), the taint of “Negro blood” was political death. The Harding forces hit back hard against Chancellor, driving him out of his job and destroying all but a handful of published copies of his book.

In the decades since, many biographers have dismissed the rumors of Harding’s mixed-race family as little more than a political scandal and Chancellor himself as a Democratic mudslinger and racist ideologue. But as with the long-denied and now all-but-proved allegations of Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his slave Sally Hemings, there is reason to question the denials. From the perspective of 2008, when interracial sex is seen as a historical fact of life instead of an abomination, the circumstantial case for Harding’s mixed-race ancestry is intriguing though not definitive.

To anyone who tracks it down today, Chancellor’s book comes across as a laughable partisan screed, an amalgam of bizarre racial theories, outlandish stereotypes and cheap political insults. But it also contains a remarkable trove of social knowledge — the kind of community gossip and oral tradition that rarely appears in official records but often provides clues to richer truths. When he toured Ohio in 1920, Chancellor claimed to find dozens of acquaintances and neighbors willing to swear that the Hardings had been considered black for generations. Among the persuaded, according to rumor, was Harding’s father-in-law, Amos Kling, one of the richest men in Harding’s adopted hometown of Marion. When Harding married his daughter, Florence, in 1891, Kling supposedly denounced her for polluting the family line.

There were rumors of other family scandals as well: the 1849 case in which “one David Butler killed Amos Smith” after Smith claimed that Butler’s wife, a Harding, was black; the suggestion that Harding’s father’s second wife divorced him because he was too much Negro “for her to endure.” In Chancellor’s book, such stories are relayed with a bitter, racist glee — ample reason not to accept them out of hand. But if none of this had any resemblance to the truth, how did all of these rumors get started?

In 1968, the Harding biographer Francis Russell offered an explanation: Harding’s great-great-grandfather Amos told his descendants that he once caught a man killing his neighbor’s apple trees and that the man started the rumor in retaliation — a rather weak story that Russell declined to endorse and that did not silence the mixed-blood rumors. Well into the 1930s, African-Americans claiming a family link continued to pop up in the press. (One decidedly dark-skinned Oliver Harding, supposedly the president’s great-uncle, appeared in Abbott’s Monthly, a black-owned Chicago magazine, in 1932.) As recently as 2005, a Michigan schoolteacher named Marsha Stewart issued her own claim to Harding ancestry. “While growing up,” she wrote, “we were never allowed to talk about the relationship to a U.S. president outside family gatherings because we were ‘colored’ and Warren was ‘passing.’ ”

Genetic testing and genealogical research may one day prove the truth or falsity of such claims. In the meantime, as the campaign season plunges us headlong into a “national conversation” about race, it’s worth thinking about why that truth has been so hard to come by for so long — about what makes it into our official history and what we choose to excise along the way.

Harding’s hometown, Marion, Ohio, provides a case in point. The town gained national fame in 1920 as the site of Harding’s “front-porch campaign”; for weeks, he delivered stump speeches from his well-tended home. Far less well known, as the historian Phillip Payne has noted, is what happened the year before, when a mob of armed white Marion residents drove more than 200 black families out of town, one of a wave of postwar race riots that served to segregate the industrialized north.

As he campaigns to become the nation’s first (openly) black president, Barack Obama likes to say that we’ve begun to put that divisive history behind us. The truth may be that we don’t yet know the half of it.

message 19: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks, Jill, I did not much about the details on this. I hope someone finds the answer to this one day.

message 20: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) One of the many scandals of the Warren Harding presidency.

The Teapot Dome Scandal

The Teapot Dome Scandal How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country by Laton McCartney by Laton McCartney (no photo)


The Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s was all about oil-hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of petroleum. When the scandal finally broke, the consequences were tremendous. President Harding's legacy was forever tarnished, while "Oil Cabinet" member Albert Fall was forced to resign and imprisoned for a year. Others implicated in the affair suffered prison terms, mental hospitals, suicide, and even murder.

message 21: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Florence Harding: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

message 22: by Martin (last edited Dec 18, 2013 05:15AM) (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Jill wrote: "One of the many scandals of the Warren Harding presidency.

The Teapot Dome Scandal

TTPDS is a wonderful book. Before reading it, I regarded as hyperbole any notion that a president of the U.S. could be bought. Now, not so much. I could swear I see Warren G's price tag in some of his photos.

The Teapot Dome Scandal How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country by Laton McCartney by[author:Laton McCartney|

message 23: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) He certainly surrounded himself with his "Ohio Gang" and that was his first mistake. I really like reading about Harding since authors have many different takes about the man himself. I am also fascinated by Jess Smith, who played a major part in Harding's life.......what exactly was his role? Was he just a gofer, was he as crooked as some say, or was he just a hanger-on? A very interesting personality.

message 24: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Interesting you should say that, Jill. Everything I've read says Harding was interested in the ladies, but otherwise an empty suit. Campaigning, for instance, consisted of sitting on his porch in Ohio.

But I agree about the band that surrounded him (I wonder how many, if any, he actually selected). Fall was the character in McCartney's book that drew my interest.

The Teapot Dome Scandal How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country by Laton McCartney by Laton McCartney

message 25: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Harding is an interesting figure for sure. He had a much different vision of the presidency than his immediate predecessors, more like Taft and the 19th century: let Congress lead.

He also was elected at a time when people really craved change, and Harding was a effective campaigner. He got the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 passed that created larger presidential oversight over the budget.

Yeah, Fall definitely wanted to roll back the conservation measures of TR and Wilson by letting private companies lease public lands, and greed got the better of him.

message 26: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments I had no idea that the Harding administration succeeded in passing the BAA of 1921. Thanks for that.

But, now, my question is: what was the administration's motivation?

The cynic in me can easily understand why a Republican president, bought and paid for quite literally by the oil industry, and a Republican Congress (no?), would want control of a centralized budget...and the motivation is not for the good of the country as evidenced by the Teapot Dome Scandal.

message 27: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Well, Harding pledged to reduce government spending and the best way to make that happen was the BAA. Charles Dawes was the first bureau director and they were pretty effective team.

Wilson and Taft wanted to pass the BAA, but they had an issue that they could not remove the comptroller general who ran the Government Accounting Office, so they did not sign the law. Harding did.

With spending, ironically, Harding was good at reducing it.

message 28: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments After reading some of the comments on Harding here, I had to go back and check up on the guy. Unfortunately, we have no biographies on him in the house, a little surprising given my son's breadth and depth of presidents. But, then given Harding's place in history, not so surprising.

I eventually ended up resorting to Wikipedia's ranking of presidents that looks across 18 such rankings. Harding ranks in the bottom tier for all 18.

He's not alone. The Whig presidents, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan (the worst of the worst?), share that distinction with Warren.

In contrast, Washington ranks in the top tier in all.

Did all these studies get it wrong?

I know Calvin Coolidge is getting a new coat of paint by some partisans today. So, should we be rethinking Warren's administration?

Is there a decent critical biography of Warren? (Please say, "no." If I spend money on one and it turns out to be as lamentable as the new Coolidge propaganda, it will send me into a homicidal rage.)

message 29: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Let me pose some questions about Warren:

1) What was his motivation for supporting the budget act? I am particularly interested in knowing whether he and his administration were able to use it directly, or indirectly, to financially benefits friends of Warren.

2) Was his support of the budget act a matter of a rotten politician managing to do some good (it happens, you know)? Or, was his intent less than honorable but the result beneficial (that happens too)?

message 30: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I picked up this book in a sale bin but have not read it. About 500 pages long, it appears to have gotten rather good reviews on GR. It looks like something that might give the reader some inside information on the man himself.

The Shadow of Blooming Grove Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell by Francis Russell (no photo)

message 31: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Thanks Jill. I'll check it out.

message 32: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Martin wrote: "Let me pose some questions about Warren:

1) What was his motivation for supporting the budget act? I am particularly interested in knowing whether he and his administration were able to use it dir..."

Harding supported the budget act, so he could control government spending; it was a campaign pledge. He did now have more power over the executive departments and agencies, but I'm not sure if that laid the seeds of corruption, because he still had to face strong Congressional committees. I think it would have happened anyway, because Harding really had no management skills and was soft on his friends.

Jill suggested a pretty good one. It is pretty critical. I flipped through Dean's short biography, and he came from Harding's hometown. It is more revisionist, so you might want to get this from the library and not buy it ;-)

Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents, #29) by John W. Dean by John W. Dean (no photo)

message 33: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Bryan,


"Harding supported the budget act, so he could control government spending; it was a campaign pledge."

Given who Harding was, I can't help but continue to wonder about his motivations. As best I can determine, his interests were pretty limited and had little to do with the well being of the country, other than its ability to continue produce attractive daughters and other luxuries.

So, What I'll be looking for, as we all should for someone who is bought and paid for, is who was pulling the puppet's strings? If we follow the money, I suspect that the budget act opened coffers to those who bought Harding.

Perhaps no example better indicates that that the Interior department's role in the Tea Pot Dome Scandal. As you say, the Budget Act gave him stronger control over the various departments. And, part of the prid pro quo that got him elected was to open the nation's reserves to the oil companies.

It is a shame that his widow was allowed to burn so much of his administration's record after rushing back from California after his heart, such as it was, gave out.

message 34: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Just from I have read, Harding was a small timer who would rather smoke a cigar and womanize but had a wife who had bigger and better plans for him. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he was malleable to that "Ohio gang", Fall, and Doheney, who knew they could control him totally. I don't think that Harding made many decisions but was led to them by his cronies. The money was rolling in to their pockets while they lived in a fool's paradise. I wonder how the scandals would have broken if he hadn't died prematurely since cracks were already starting to show in the administration. I think it is one of the most interesting administrations in our history to study since there is so much disagreement about Harding's role.

message 35: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments I agree with your assessment of Harding, but I can think of lots of administrations that are more interesting, at least in the eye of this beholder.

message 36: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Well, it certainly does not get much attention by historians, and it is a shame, because there clearly are lessons learned.

The time period is interesting, because there were so many changes going on: Prohibition, affects of the end of WWI, labor strikes, and the the growth of consumer economy.

message 37: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The process leading up to Harding's nomination is, in itself, a book. I agree that there are more interesting administrations but Harding's holds a special fascination for me.

message 38: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments For me, too. It's the fascination of a train wreck.

I'm looking forward to receiving Shadow of Blooming Grove. At $5 and change the price is right.

message 39: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Martin, good score. Don't forget to cite it.

The Shadow of Blooming Grove Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell by Francis Russell (no photo)

message 40: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Ooooops. Thanks.

message 41: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage during the Great War

The Harding Affair Love and Espionage during the Great War by James David Robenalt by James David Robenalt (no photo)


Warren Harding fell in love with his beautiful neighbor, Carrie Phillips, in the summer of 1905, almost a decade before he was elected a United States Senator and fifteen years before he became the 29th President of the United States. When the two lovers started their long-term and torrid affair, neither of them could have foreseen that their relationship would play out against one of the greatest wars in world history--the First World War. Harding would become a Senator with the power to vote for war; Mrs. Phillips and her daughter would become German agents, spying on a U. S. training camp on Long Island in the hopes of gauging for the Germans the pace of mobilization of the U. S. Army for entry into the battlefields in France.

Based on over 800 pages of correspondence discovered in the 1960s but under seal ever since in the Library of Congress, The Harding Affair will tell the unknown stories of Harding as a powerful Senator and his personal and political life, including his complicated romance with Mrs. Phillips. The book will also explore the reasons for the entry of the United States into the European conflict and explain why so many Americans at the time supported Germany, even after the U. S. became involved in the spring of 1917.

James David Robenalt's comprehensive study of the letters is set in a narrative that weaves in a real-life spy story with the story of Harding's not accidental rise to the presidency.

message 42: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Finally, something about Harding where the sex isn't redacted, which incidentally makes for a lot of blank pages.

Thanks for posting that, Bryan. Looks interesting.

message 43: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig You are welcome, this book does look interesting and I'm happy the Library of Congress released this stuff.

The Harding Affair Love and Espionage during the Great War by James David Robenalt by James David Robenalt (no photo)

message 44: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments I just read the foreword. I get the impression that much of the text addressing the letter cache are the missives redacted in The Shadow of Blooming Grove.

The Shadow of Blooming Grove Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell by Francis Russell

message 45: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Very good, history in action :-)

message 46: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Warren Harding Affair Letters Going Public

Next month, the Library of Congress will open the letters detailing a 100-year-old presidential affair.

The letters detail the relationship between President Warren G. Harding and his mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips, from 1910 to 1920. Their affair began in 1905, continued through Harding’s term as a U.S. senator and ended before his inauguration in 1921, although the two remained on good terms. Harding was married for the duration of the affair.

Read more:

message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks Bryan for these posts on the Presidential threads.

message 48: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4302 comments Mod
First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy

First Lady Florence Harding Behind the Tragedy and Controversy by Katherine A.S. Sibley by Katherine A.S. Sibley (no photo)


Florence Kling Harding has come down through history as one of our most scorned first ladies. Victimized by caricatures and branded a shrew, she stands at the bottom of historians' polls, her reputation tarnished by her husband's scandals despite their joint popularity while in office. These depictions, argues Katherine Sibley, have prevented us today from seeing how innovative a first lady Florence Harding really was.

This new look at Mrs. Harding restores humanity to an oft-maligned figure by examining her progressive causes, her celebrity, and her role in her husband's work. For if Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with shattering the first lady's ceremonial mold, it was Florence Harding who made the first cracks.

Sibley's is the first book to offer a full treatment of Florence as first lady rather than as mere supporting actress in the Harding administration. Never shying from publicity, she made herself more available to the press than did her predecessors and opened the White House up to the public. And she took such a pioneering role in Warren Harding's campaign and presidency that many thought she outdid her husband as a politician.

Turning to primary sources that others have overlooked, Sibley challenges the clichs about Florence's time in the national spotlight. She describes how Mrs. Harding supported racial equality, lobbied for better treatment for veterans and female prisoners, and maintained a lifelong interest in preventing animal cruelty. As adviser to her husband, she assisted with his speechwriting and consulted with the cabinet; she was also the first first lady to deliver spontaneous speeches while traveling with the president.

At a personal level, Sibley examines in detail how Mrs. Harding responded to her husband's death, assessing why this tragedy struck Americans with such force even as national empathy proved so fleeting. She also offers a more nuanced description of the president's philandering, viewing Nan Britton's claims with skepticism while noting the effects on Florence of his dalliance with Carrie Phillips.

Florence Harding bequeathed an activist legacy, and it is due to her example that aspiring presidential wives are expected to campaign with their husbands and be accessible to public and press. Florence Harding truly set the stage for those to follow; this book delivers the full and fair portrait that has long been her due.

message 49: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding's Scandalous Legacy

Dead Last The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding's Scandalous Legacy by Phillip G. Payne by Phillip G. Payne (no photo)


If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the twenty-ninth president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner. Prior to the Nixon administration, the Harding scandals were the most infamous of the twentieth century. Harding is consistently judged a failure, ranking dead last among his peers.

By examining the public memory of Harding, Phillip G. Payne offers the first significant reinterpretation of his presidency in a generation. Rather than repeating the old stories, Payne examines the contexts and continued meaning of the Harding scandals for various constituencies. Payne explores such topics as Harding’s importance as a midwestern small-town booster, his rumored black ancestry, the role of various biographers in shaping his early image, the tension between public memory and academic history, and, finally, his status as an icon of presidential failure in contemporary political debates. Harding was a popular president and was widely mourned when he died in office in 1923; but with his death began the construction of his public memory and his fall from political grace.

In Dead Last, Payne explores how Harding’s name became synonymous with corruption, cronyism, and incompetence and how it is used to this day as an example of what a president should not be.

message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
It is funny about the above - presidents who are guilty of corruption and scandal or even being impeached are not dead last in the historic standings - you have folks like Pierce, Fillmore and Buchanan instead - more incompetence or drink or something like that is worse in people's eyes than being corrupt. Tough call.

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