The Vindication of Nan Britton

She’s been called a hussy, a harlot, a precursor to Monica Lewinsky and everything sexually negative in between. But, at long last, Warren G. Harding’s former mistress, Nan Britton, has been vindicated by the modern wonders of DNA testing.

Cover of Britton's tell-all, The President's Daughter
Cover of Britton’s tell-all, The President’s Daughter

Admittedly, Nan was a bit pazza when it came to inserting herself into Harding’s boudoir; after all, she had lusted after the old man (a friend of her father’s who owned an Ohio newspaper, The Marion Star, at the time of Britton’s initial fascination) long before he ever relented to her coquettish charms. Like one of those ardent Rudolph Valentino fans who killed themselves after he died, Britton plastered the walls of her room with images of Harding that she clipped from magazines and the newspaper.

Warren, you dog
Warren, you dog

So sure, she sounds a little as though she was going to make it her mission in life to be the mother of Harding’s child whether he was interested or not, but that doesn’t change the fact that Harding still had a say in the matter. So fervent was Nan in her emotions for Harding that her father decided to tell him about it so that he might dissuade her from any further false notions of their being together. And while Harding purportedly told her she would one day meet the man of her dreams, this obviously didn’t work and the two began an affair (supposedly) around the time Britton graduated high school and moved to New York to become a secretary–1919 being the year of Elizabeth Ann Blaesing’s conception.

A mother and her illegitimate child
A mother and her illegitimate child

Harding may have ceded to Britton’s desire, but that didn’t keep him faithful to just her (or his wife). Carrie Fulton Phillips, a fellow Marion girl, was his main go-to for about fifteen years before he took the presidential office in 1920–which is when things started to heat up with Britton. While Harding was not unearthed as a scalawag until after his death (for reasons beyond his sexual appetite), the dismantling of his reputation was, in part, due to Britton publishing the 1928 tell-all The President’s Daughter, in what she deemed an attempt to make money for her child, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, as well as to raise awareness about the problems illegitimate children face in general. Regardless of her seemingly noble intentions, she was written off as a liar and a whore. If only she could have solved the matter then with a simple test furnished by science. Then again, it would appear as though nothing could stop her from harboring a certain affection for Harding–a classic case of the woman loving the man who treats her like shit, who just wants him to want her the more he doesn’t.

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  1. Pingback: Men Who Don’t Understand the Problem With the No Strings Attached Trope. | Missing a Dick

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