AFTER ALMOST A CENTURY OF RUMORS AND QUESTIONS, DNA TESTS PROVE THAT ELIZABETH ANN BLAESING WAS THE OUT-OF-WEDLOCK DAUGHTER AND ONLY BIOLOGICAL CHILD OF PRESIDENT WARREN G. HARDING
Blaesing’s son, James, is proven by AncestryDNA in August, 2014 testing to be a second cousin to both Peter and Abigail Harding (known first cousins) and grandnephew and grandniece of President Harding. This makes James and his two brothers grandsons of Harding.
There are also 5 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren in the direct line. Harding’s marriage to Florence Kling Harding produced no children. Historians have spent almost 90 years searching for conclusive evidence as to whether an Oregon woman named Elizabeth Ann Blaesing (1919-2005) was the illegitimate daughter and only child, of 29th U.S.President Warren G. Harding. Now there is absolute scientific proof.
Elizabeth Ann’s mother, Nan Britton, declared that Elizabeth Ann was Harding’s daughter in her shocking best-selling 1927 autobiography, “The Presidents Daughter.” Nan claimed a 6-1/2-year extramarital affair with Harding which she consummated in her early 20’s after a longstanding childhood crush.. Harding was in the U.S. Senate representing Ohio when the affair began. She claimed that it continued through his presidency meeting in the White House. The affair ended with Harding’s untimely death during his presidency in 1923. Britton died in 1991.
Historians and biographers have questioned the legitimacy of Britton’s claims for almost 90 years while the Blaesing family members have tried to live normal lives despite constant harassment and a cloud of suspicion since Britton’s book was published. Only with the last 6-7 years did Jim Blaesing begin to develop the resolve to contact the Hardings and ask for DNA testing. He did so with the desire to set the public record straight. His family has never doubted the account in the book and reveres President Harding as did their grandmother. Jim also wanted his grandmother to get the acknowledgement she deserved as an early activist for women rights. Also confirmed are his grandmother’s claims that Harding, through Secret Service agents, sent Britton child support payments. The Harding family stopped the payments after Harding’s death.
During this same time frame Peter Harding decided from the Harding side to reach out and seek DNA testing with the Blaesings. Eventually Peter, first cousin Abigail and Jim Blaesing were tested by Ancestry.com in August of 2014 after Abigail discovered the degree of accuracy now available while doing her own genealogy research in 2013.
Peter first encountered “The Presidents Daughter” at age 14 when he discovered it among his father’s (Warren G. Harding II) collection of books about the Presidents. When he asked his father about the book he was briefed in the family Ideology regarding the book. (1) The book was not truthful and was a childhood fantasy written as fact. (2) The book may have been written by Nan’s boyfriend, possibly to extort money. (3) The book had been dreamed up by Democratic opponents to scandalize Republicans (4) That Warren G. had mumps as a child and was sterile.
Peter held these beliefs until 1965 when he discovered that his father and uncle had gone to court to suppress the publication of love letters to a woman named Carrie F. Phillips. (These letters were recently released by the Library of Congress after 50 years.) The very existence of the letters opened the door to his doubts concerning the family ideology. During his career as a Psychiatrist which began in the U.S. Navy in the mid 70’s, he had several patients who were searching for the identity of their biological parents and this opened his mind to Britton’s point of view.
With the death of his sister Carolyn 4-5 years ago, Peter inherited the book and decided to finally read it (at age 68) He discovered that there were uncut pages and so probably his father had never even read it. Upon reading the book with his wife Peggy, Peter believed it to be an accurate journal written by a highly skilled writer worthy of great respect. Her account of President Harding was consistent with the man who wrote the Carrie Phillips love letters described in Jim Robenalt book “The Harding Affair” which Peter also read.
At this point in 2011 Peter reached out to the Blaesing family living in Oregon by phone and Jim Blaesing returned his call initiating this 4-year process. Peter and Jim met in person for the first time this last March at Peter’s home in Big Sur and Jim and Abbie, who lives in Ohio, have been in touch by phone and email. They are all planning some sort of Family Union Party in the future.