Many historians believe that Elizabeth was Harding's child, conceived in his Senate office and born a few weeks before Harding was elected president. Her mother was a very young Nan Britton, a woman 30 years younger than Senator Harding. They got together in the Senator's office, public parks, and cheap hotel rooms. Harding tried to get Nan to abort the baby, but she refused and Elizabeth Ann was born about 1 year before Harding was elrected president. The American public had no knowledge of Elizabeth until after the President's death. Harding used the secret Service to sneak Ann into the White House and to deliver child support payments, but refused to ever meet Elizabeth. After Harding's death, his wife refused to continue the child support payments. Britton than wrote a book, The President's Daughter making the affair public, much to Mrs. Harding's embarassment. Britton published the book privately as no publisher would handle it. At first it was little noted, until H.L Menken reviewed it. Sales soared. [Dean] The whole affair was especially unseeming as Mrs. Harding herself had been an ummarried mother. Republicans tried to descredit Britton and block publication of the book, but every examination of the account simply confirmed it and added to the public notirity. The book when published became a best seller, Royalties from the book supported mother and daughter. Some of the book royalties were used to fund the Elizabeth Ann League to provide for unmarried mothers. Elizabeth Ann entered Lake Forrest College in 1938 as Elizabeth Ann Harding planning to teach. She married Henry Blaesing. They moved to California where they raised three children. One biographer believes that Nan Britton's claim of an affair with Harding is false and that she was blackmailing him over another affair. [Dean]
Britton, Nan. The President's Daughter.
Dean, John. Warren G. Harding.
Wead, Doug. All the President's Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families (Atria: New York, 2003), 456p.
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