Warren G. Harding Biography

Served: March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
Born: November 2, 1865
Birthplace: Blooming Grove, Ohio
Died: August 2, 1923
Occupation: Journalist
Political Party: Republican
Spouse: Florence Kling

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From Journalist and Newspaper Publisher to the White House

Warren G. Harding was not a lawyer or an army general. Actually, he was the first newspaper publisher to be elected to the presidency. In addition to being a journalist, Harding was an incumbent senator.

Throughout his presidency, Harding advocated a move away from the progressive reforms that had been passed by the two previous presidents and instead promoted a move toward a stronger economy. Additionally, he protected the interests of the alcohol industry.

A Life in Print

Harding’s father became a newspaper publisher during his son’s youth and taught him the ropes of the newspaper business. As Warren G. Harding continued his schooling, he chose to remain in the print industry and study the newspaper trade at Ohio Central College.

When he graduated, Harding worked a few odd jobs before buying the Marion Daily Star. Eventually the newspaper became one of the city’s most popular papers. Later, after his political career had flourished and he’d gained the presidency, Harding sold the paper for $550,000. Originally, he had taken out a loan to purchase the paper for just $300. Not a bad return on investment.

One of his biggest detractors at this time was Amos Kling, a real estate mogul who had tried to ensure the newspaper’s failure early on. In 1891, Harding married Kling’s daughter Florence Kling DeWolfe, a divorcée and mother. Florence, who took over circulation management responsibilities for the paper, had a lot to do with its later success.

Warren G. Harding’s Pets

  • Laddie BoyLaddie Boy, an Airedale terrier, was a famous pet of Warren Harding
  • Old Boy, an English bulldog
  • Pete, squirrel
  • There were canaries belonging to Florence Harding

MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets

A Presidential Cabinet With Much to Hide

When Harding became president, he placed some of the brightest minds around him and appointed them to his cabinet. This included Herbert Hoover and Charles Evans Hughes. Unfortunately, some of the men he ended up appointing were later embroiled in accusations of corruption.

Some of the policies set in place during Harding’s presidency included the first federal child welfare program and an eight-hour workday for railroad workers. Additionally, Harding saw unemployment rates drop dramatically, and he tried to pass an anti-lynching bill in support of African-Americans.

Although he was beginning to be recognized for his work with minorities, women, and labor organizations, Harding’s presidency was cut short when he died suddenly in August 1923.

Did You Know…?

  • Harding’s father-in-law was so upset at his daughter marrying his nemesis that he refused to speak to the couple for eight years. He also forbade his wife, Florence’s mother, from attending the wedding, but she managed to be present for the exchange of vows.
  • Harding once gambled away a White House china set dating back to Benjamin Harrison’s presidency during a poker game.
  • Thanks to the scandals in his administration, Harding has often been depicted as one of the worst presidents in the United States. The truth is that more recently, historians have begun to recognize some of the important work he did in support of minorities and women. Harding became aware and stressed about the amount of corruption surrounding him toward the end of his term.
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