U.S. President Warren G. Harding Little-Known Facts

About the U.S. President Warren G. Harding, history, trivia, and little-known facts.

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29th President

WARREN GAMALIEL HARDING

PRESIDENCY

LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS

Speaking to the National Press Club, Harding revealed how his genial, compliant nature had once been characterized by his father. "If you were a girl, Warren," his father had told him, "you'd be in the family way all the time. You can't say no."

Despite his surface calm, Harding's vulnerable nature led to serious breakdowns in times of stress. He was only 22, and already publisher of the Marion Star, when he suffered his first nervous breakdown and was sent off to a sanitarium in Michigan for several weeks. This was the first of five such episodes over the next 12 years. It is possible that as Harding slowly learned of the corruption in his own administration, he was heading for the most serious of all such breakdowns at the time he died.

Norman Thomas, leader of the American Socialist party and six-time candidate for president, was one of Harding's newsboys on the Marion Star. A particularly bright and energetic boy, Thomas was always a welcome guest in the Harding home, even after that home was the White House.

All members of Harding's cabinet except Hughes and Hoover became participants in the President's twice-a-week poker games. "Forget that I'm President of the United States," Harding would say as he slipped into his place at the poker table. "I'm Warren Harding, playing poker with friends, and I'm going to beat hell out of them." The Duchess was generally on hand to mix drinks for the guests, though under the recently passed Prohibition Amendment, such refreshment was strictly illegal.

In addition to his regularly scheduled presidential poker games, Harding played golf two afternoons a week and followed boxing closely in the sports pages. As additional recreation, he went outside every day at noon to shake hands with the crowd of visitors at the White House, or attended the Gayety Burlesque, watching the show from a special box where he could not be seen.

As a senator, Harding was so proud of his speech against the League of Nations that he had a phonograph record made with his speech on one side and the song "Beautiful Ohio" on the other.

Despite the generally hostile attitude of liberal historians, it must be conceded that Harding actually did more than any other president to preserve the Constitution of the U.S. He removed that great document from the files of the State Dept., where it had been rotting, and had it placed in a protective glass case.

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