warren g. harding

Was Warren G. Harding Gay? Exploring the 29th President’s Sexuality

For a long time, there have been whispers that Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States, was gay or liked both men and women. While he acted like a family-loving man who cared for his wife Florence in the open, some clues suggest he may have been drawn to men in private. Let’s look at the hints.

The Nan Britton Surprise

In 1927, a lady named Nan Britton wrote a book claiming she had a long romantic relationship with Harding that led to a baby. DNA tests in 2015 proved the kid was indeed Harding’s. Britton’s book also mentioned Harding hugging male friends for a very long time and writing letters saying he “loved” a male buddy named Charles Craver. Could these be signals of hidden gay feelings back then?

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Love Notes to Carrie Phillips

In 1968, a history expert found loving letters Harding wrote to his close friend Carrie Phillips. He used affectionate words like “Would you miss me terribly?” and “I shook from your gentle touches.” While possibly just a close friendship, the letters hint at romantic feelings between them.

Secret Code Speak?

Some history experts think Harding may have used code words in letters to secretly refer to gay activities with men back when being gay was not okay. Words like “secret meeting,” “little buddies,” and “covering up” could have meant hidden gay relationships.

If Harding were gay or liked both, he would have had to completely hide it to keep his political job and marriage at that closed-minded time. This could explain why there’s no obvious proof of his real liking for men or women.

The Mystery Goes On

Since there’s no definite evidence either way, the discussion around Harding’s liking for men or women is still debated today by those studying this controversial president. Publicly he followed traditional family values, but the clues about his private life raise fascinating questions that may never be answered.

As views have become more accepting of LGBTQ people, some argue we should re-examine Harding’s contradictions from a modern view. Whether straight, gay, or both, Harding’s complex personal life continues to be examined as a window into American society in the 1920s.


Was there ever definitive proof that Harding was gay?

No, there is no concrete proof either way about Harding’s sexuality. The evidence is based on circumstantial clues like letters, rumors, and coded language.

What were some of the “coded” words Harding may have used?

Historians theorize Harding used words like “rendezvous,” “little pals,” and “covering up” as secret references to gay activities.

Who was Nan Britton and what did her book claim?

Nan Britton wrote a book in 1927 claiming she had a long affair with Harding that produced a child. DNA tests later confirmed he was the father.

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