Nan Britton was accused of lying and extorting money from the President’s family when she claimed to have had an affair with President Warren Harding. However, a DNA test conducted on in 2015 proved her claims to be true. Unfortunately, Nan passed away before the results were revealed.

Nan Britton with her daughter Elizabeth
Nan Britton with her daughter, Elizabeth

Warren Harding was rumored to have several mistresses at the time, but Britton was still shamed in the press for claiming an affair with the president. 

Who was Nan Britton?

Britton was born in 1896 in Marion, Ohio, where Harding was a newspaper publisher. The two had known each other through Britton’s father and one of her teachers being acquaintances of Harding. In 1916, at the age of 20, Britton began an affair with Harding that lasted for more than six years and even continued after he became President. However, Harding never publicly acknowledged their relationship or their daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing.

Nan Britton with her daughter Elizabeth

Britton, who was 20 at the time, slept with Warren Harding in a New York hotel room four years before he became president. She claimed their affair lasted more than six years and that they continued their relationship after he became president, resorting to “a small closet in the anteroom” in the West Wing where they “made love,” she wrote.

United States' 29th president, Warren Harding

Harding supported her daughter financially but did not publicly acknowledge the child as his. He never met his daughter. However, after his death, it was difficult for Britton because the financial support would cease. That is why she decided to make the affair public.

After Harding’s untimely death in 1923, his wife Florence refused to honor the agreement for financial support for Elizabeth and Britton struggled to prove her relationship with the President. She even wrote a book, “The President’s Daughter,” to advocate for the rights of illegitimate children and to support her daughter. However, she was unable to provide concrete evidence and lost a lawsuit.

Nan Britton's book, The President's daughter
Nan Britton’s book, The President’s daughter

Britton struggled to prove her relationship; she allegedly destroyed the letters she and Harding had exchanged at his request and because his family insisted he was sterile. However, the Library of Congress has made the letter sent to others available online.

More than 250 love letters written by Harding to Carrie Fulton Phillips between 1909 and 1920 were discovered in 1964, lending credence to Britton’s claims and the fact that he had multiple mistresses at the same time. Harding was married to Florence, his wife, from 1891 until he died.

Harding wrote her poem

Poem Warren Harding wrote to Carrie

Some words with hidden meanings

Pictue of words used by Hoarding to convey hidden messages

Harding family vilified Britton

According to Peter Harding, the grandnephew of the president, the Harding family, “really vilified” Britton.

As a boy growing up Peter said he believed the family’s lies “My father said this couldn’t have happened because President Harding had mumps as a kid and was infertile and the family really vilified Nan Britton.”

However, as a 79-year-old physician living in Big Sur, California, Peter ordered DNA testing that proved Nan Britton’s ancestry. He and his cousin, Abigail Harding, made contact with James Blaesing, Nan Britton’s grandson and the son of the daughter she claimed to have conceived with the President. 

Ancestry DNA test revealed the truth

Ancestry DNA, a division of, revealed that James was a second cousin to Peter and Abigail Harding, implying that Nan Britton’s daughter Elizabeth Ann Blaesing was President Harding’s daughter.  

Abigail, a retired high school biology teacher, stated, “I have no doubts left” and that the question of Nan Britton’s relationship with Harding is resolved.  

James Blaesing, Britton’s grandson, stated that the relationship was a love story and that his family always believed her. To prove the relationship was a lie, the family was followed, their home was broken into, and items were stolen. 

Some members of the Harding family are willing to accept the DNA evidence, while others are not sure. James Robenalt, who wrote a book on Harding’s affair with Carrie Phillips that was skeptical of Britton’s claims, accepts the new evidence. 

James Robenalt, who wrote a book on Harding’s affair with Carrie Phillips was skeptical of Britton’s claims and accepts the new evidence, “I’m very pleased that that’s the result just because that family deserves to be recognized.”

Nan Britton and her family now

In the 1980s, Britton and her extended family moved to Oregon, where her three grandchildren were living as of 2015. Britton died in 1991 in Sandy, Oregon, where she had lived during the last years of her life. Twenty-four years after her death, confirmed through DNA testing of descendants of Harding’s grandchildren and Britton’s grandchildren that Elizabeth was indeed Harding’s daughter.

Now that you’ve read about Nan Britton and the child of Warren Harding, read about 10 President’s Kids Who Were Outrageous and Caused Scandals

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