You’re probably struggling right now to place Warren G. Harding in American history — sure, we have elementary schools and Wikipedia entries to evidence his presidency, but was he around during the depression? The Victorian era? Was he like, just before Eisenhower or something?
Warren G. Harding became an unlikely trending term today, not because of an anniversary or the centennial of an important date in American history. No, instead, it’s because Harding was apparently a total raving horndog… and his salacious letters to the wife of a friend, no less, are set for release this month.
Harding was in office as Commander in Chief for two short years in the early twenties between Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson. (A period that could be dubbed “the era of eminently forgettable American Presidents.”)
From March 4, 1921 until his sudden and mysterious death on August 2, 1923 at the age of fifty-seven, Harding was leader of the free world… a job he mysteriously appears to have gotten done despite nailing anything that was not previously nailed down.
A regular Hugh Hefner, Warren Harding’s legacy of tang is prolific in one short Wikipedian paragraph, which details a string of exploits that could make Charlie Sheen blush. It reads:
“In a 1998 Washington Post article, journalist Carl S. Anthony wrote that Harding had extramarital affairs and sexual encounters with numerous women. These women included Susie Hodder and Carrie Fulton Phillips, Mrs. Harding’s personal friends; Grace Cross, Harding’s senatorial aide; and Nan Britton, a 22-year old campaign volunteer (President Harding was age 51 when the affair occurred). Anthony stated that Harding was the father of Hodder’s daughter.”
Luckily, Harding (heh, heh) couldn’t swing an Anthony Weiner back then because we had no Twitter, right? Right? Wrong. One of America’s most womanizing presidents indeed left behind the prehistoric equivalent of a sexting legacy… in the form of filthy, dirty, scandalous letters sent to a lover.
Hardcore history, indeed.
The New York Times, in an article titled “The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See,” promises that even in a time in which political sex scandals are torrid, the letters’ content is… explicit.
The paper reports:
“The correspondence is intimate and frank — and perhaps the most sexually explicit ever by an American president. Even in the age of Anthony Weiner sexts and John Edwards revelations, it still has the power to astonish.”
“In 106 letters, many written on official Senate stationery, Harding alternates between Victorian declarations of love and unabashedly carnal descriptions. (While Phillips’s notes and some drafts of her letters have been preserved, her actual replies were not.) The president often wrote in code, in case the letters were discovered, referring to his penis as Jerry and devising nicknames, like Mrs. Pouterson, for Phillips.”
The official record of Warren G. Harding letters has been sealed by the Library of Congress for decades, but the steamy missives will be made public at the end of the month.
[Image: Warren G. Harding, Library Of Congress]