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Nan Britton was branded a “degenerate” and a “prevert,” accused of lying for money and waging an extortion campaign against the president’s family while sabotaging his legacy. A DNA test on Ancestory.com in 2015, however, proved that she was not lying. Nan, sadly, died before she could see the results.

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. Britton’s father knew Harding, and one of Britton’s teachers was Harding’s siter. She admired Harding from afar until she asked for his assistance in finding work. Britton hung Harding photographs on her bedroom wall. Harding agreed to a meeting in New York. Nan Britton was 31 years younger than him.

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, repairing 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, but behind closed doors, he financially supported her but did not publicly acknowledge the child as his. Harding never met his daughter. But after his death, it was difficult for Brittton because the financial support would cease. That is why she decided to make the affair public.

Harding had promised to support their daughter, but after his untimely death in 1923, his wife, Florence, refused to honor the agreement. Britton insisted that she wrote the book (The President’s Daughter) to support her daughter and to advocate for the rights of illegitimate children.

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

She even filed a lawsuit, but she was unable to provide any concrete evidence, so she lost the case.

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 his 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 lie “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.”

Peter, now 79, a physician in Big Sur, Calif., was among those who ordered the DNA testing that proved Nan Britton’s ancestry. “It’s sort of Shakespearean and operatic, this story hangs over the entire presidential history because it was an unsolved mystery,” he said.

Peter and his cousin, Abigail Harding, decided to pursue the matter and 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 Ancestry.com, discovered James was a second cousin to Peter and Abigail Harding, implying that Nan Britton’s daughter Elizabeth Ann Blaesing was President Harding’s daughter.

Abaigail Harding, 79, retired high school biology teacher said “I have no doubts left” and Nan Britton question is resolved, “When he(James) is related to me, he’s related to Peter, he’s related to a third couusin – there’s too many nails in the coffin, so to speak. I’m completely convinced.”

Britton’s grandson, James Blaesing, said that Britton’s relationship with Harding was a love story and hier family always believed her. “She loved him until the day she died. When talked about him, she would get the biggest” smile on her face, she just loved this guy, he was her everything.”

To prove the relationship was a lie, the family was followed, their home was broken into, and items were stolen. “I went through this maturing process in school. They made fun of him and her.”
“I wanted to prove who she was and prove everyone wrong,” he said of the tests that finally vindicated his grandmother.

While some of the members of he Harding family seem willing to accept the DNA evidence, but other’s aren’t sure about it.

“I’m not questioning the accuracy of anybody’s tests or anything, but it’s still in my mind still to be proven,” said Richard Harding, 76, another grandnephew of the president, adding that he would welcome the new family members if he saw enough evidence to support this claim.

“I hope they’ll find their new place in history is meaningful and productive for them. “

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

Nan Britton and her family now

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