President's Century-Old Affair Letters to Be Released

But they're not to Warren Harding's best-known mistress
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2014 3:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A thousand pages of love letters from the man some historians say was America's most scandalous president to a mistress will see the light of day next month for the first time in around a century. The Library of Congress says the letters from Warren G. Harding to Claire Phillips, a friend of his wife's, will be released when the 50-year period of secrecy the president's nephew insisted on when he donated the letters expires, USA Today reports. The affair began in 1905, carried on throughout the years the Republican was a US senator from Ohio, and ended soon before he was elected in 1920. She successfully blackmailed the GOP over the affair, winning a monthly stipend and jobs for several relatives.

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But Phillips wasn't the most famous mistress of Harding, who died in office in 1923. That distinction goes to young campaign volunteer Nan Britton, who claimed in 1928 tell-all book The President's Daughter that they had sex in locations including a White House coat closet—and he fathered her child. According to a Washington Post profile, Harding had at least two other long-term mistresses, and had "assorted other flings," including with "a Washington Post employee known as Miss Allicott, and former chorus girls Maize Haywood and Blossom Jones," as well as "a string of 'New York women.'" Harding "even publicly ogled Margaret Gorman, the first Miss America, in Atlantic City, days after her crowning," the Post finds. (Read more Warren G. Harding stories.)

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