Nan Britton

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Nan P. Britton claimed that she had an affair with President Warren G. Harding, an Ohioan. She also claimed that Harding was the father of her daughter, Elizabeth Ann.

Britton was born on November 9, 1896, in Marion, Ohio. As a teenager, she developed a crush on Harding, who, at the time, was editor of the Marion Daily Star. Harding and Britton's father were friends, and Harding supposedly knew of Nan Britton's infatuation with him.

In 1927, Britton authored a book, The President's Daughter, about her affair with Harding. Harding had died in 1923. In her book, Britton claimed to have had sex with Harding in the White House. It was also in this book where Britton claimed that Harding was her daughter's father. According to Britton, Harding had promised to support his daughter financially, but his family refused to do so after his death. Publication of Britton's book caused people to further view Harding in a negative manner, especially after several other scandals, including the Teapot Dome Scandal, occurred during his presidency.

Harding's friends and colleagues routinely denied Britton's claims. One of Harding's friends, Charles Augustus Klunk, wrote his own book, which identified Britton's claims as lies. Klunk, a hotel owner in Marion, even called Britton a "degenerate." In 1931, Britton sued Klunk for libel. In the case Britton v. Klunk, the jury found that there was "no cause for action." The jury issued this verdict because they believed Britton had proven herself to be of low moral character by publishing her own book. In essence, Britton's actions, as she detailed them in her book, justified Klunk's description of Britton.

According to reporters at the time of the trial, Britton failed to provide any evidence to prove that she had engaged in an affair with Harding. The jury, however, did not rule on whether or not Britton slept with Harding. Britton died on March 21, 1991. Until her death, she insisted that her daughter was the offspring of Harding.

References

  1. Anthony, Carl Sferrazza. Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President. New York, NY: W. Morrow & Co., 1998.  
  2. Britton, Nan. The President's Daughter. New York, NY: Elizabeth Ann Guild, Inc., 1928.
  3. Mee, Charles L., Jr. The Ohio Gang: The World of Warren G. Harding. New York, NY: M. Evans, 1981.
  4. Murray, Robert K. The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1969.  
  5. Trani, Eugene P, and David L. Wilson. The Presidency of Warren G. Harding. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1977.