Elizabeth Ann Blaesing
Elizabeth Ann Britton Harding Blaesing (22 October 1919 – 17 November 2005) was the alleged illegitimate daughter of Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

, the 29th President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, and Nan Britton
Nan Britton
Nan P. "Nanny" Britton was a figure associated with the Presidency of Warren G. Harding due to her claim that Harding fathered her illegitimate daughter shortly before his election as President....

, a native of Marion, Ohio
Marion, Ohio
Marion is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Marion County. The municipality is located in north-central Ohio, approximately north of Columbus....


Britton, who made her claim public with the publication of her book, The President's Daughter
The President's Daughter
The President's Daughter is a book written by Nan Britton, a native of Marion County, Ohio, USA, who claimed in the book that during a six year relationship, she and then Senator Warren G. Harding conceived a child together in 1919...

(Elizabeth Ann Guild, 1927), could never produce primary source evidence to prove that Harding acknowledged his paternity of the child. Elizabeth Ann used Harding's surname as a child and young adult; her birth certificate, however, due to a doctor's error, was written in the name of Emma Eloise Britton. Her mother also used Christian as her child's surname at one point.

Initially given to her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth and Scott Willetts
Scott Willetts
Scott Willetts was a prominent violin teacher with the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois who coached many members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1940 through 1974...

 of Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, to be raised, young Elizabeth Ann was taken back by Britton once Britton's book was published. Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Elizabeth Ann graduated from Sullivan High School in Evanston, Illinois
Evanston, Illinois
Evanston is a suburban municipality in Cook County, Illinois 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, bordering Chicago to the south, Skokie to the west, and Wilmette to the north, with an estimated population of 74,360 as of 2003. It is one of the North Shore communities that adjoin Lake Michigan...

; later she married Henry Edward Blaesing on September 18, 1938, in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. At the time Nan Britton began a series of newspaper interviews discussing Elizabeth Ann (referring to her as "Ann Harding") and her (Elizabeth Ann's) marriage, but refusing to provide the name of her husband.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ann, her husband, and her sons lived on Alderdale Street in Downey, California. In the mid-1960s the family moved to Glendale, California
Glendale, California
Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population is 191,719, down from 194,973 at the 2000 census. making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California...

. In 1964, the matter of Harding’s alleged paternity of Elizabeth Ann was again brought to the forefront when a series of lawsuits in Ohio involving the ownership of love letters written by Harding to his late mistress Carrie Phillips were taking place. In an Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 wire service article distributed in mid-July of that year, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing confirmed publicly that in 1934 her mother had told her that Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

 was her biological father. "It's not something that you bring up in casual conversation," she stated in the story.

When contacted by Harding scholar Dr. Robert H. Ferrell, author of The Strange Death of President Harding and later by John Dean
John Dean
John Wesley Dean III is an American lawyer who served as White House Counsel to United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. In this position, he became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up...

, author of Warren Harding, The American President Series, Blaesing refused interviews on the topic.

Blaesing died in Oregon on November 17, 2005. The family did not make a public announcement about the death; however, her son Thomas Blaesing did confirm the event during a May 2006 interview according to the May 31, 2006, Cleveland Plain Dealer. According to Blaesing's son, his mother was not interested in seeking DNA evidence confirming paternity. Testing on Blaesing's sons or grandchildren would also resolve the mystery. Some scholars, most notably bioethicist Jacob Appel, have argued that the Blaesings have a "moral and civic responsibility" to provide their DNA for comparative purposes.

If Blaesing was, in fact, President Harding's daughter, then, between the 2000 death of John Coolidge
John Coolidge
John Coolidge was an executive with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, the founder of the Plymouth Cheese Corporation and the first son of President Calvin Coolidge and Grace Anna Goodhue.-Biography:...

 and her own death, she was the oldest living child of a President, and between the 1995 death of Francis Cleveland and her own death, Harding was the earliest President still to have a living child, this distinction now belonging to Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

. As of 2008, that distinction now belongs to John Eisenhower
John Eisenhower
John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower is the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Mamie. He is a retired United States Army officer and the author of several books of military history. He served as the U.S...



  • Associated Press Wire Service. Secret Kept for Twenty Years: California Woman Says She is Daughter of Harding. Tri-City Herald, Pasco, Washington, p. 15, July 17, 1964.
  • Dean, John; Schlesinger, Arthur M. Warren Harding (The American President Series), Times Books, 2004. ISBN 0-8050-6956-9
  • Ferrell, Robert H. The Strange Death of President Harding. University of Missouri Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8262-1202-6
  • Mee, Charles Jr. The Ohio Gang: The World of Warren G. Harding: A Historical Entertainment M. Evans & Company, 1983. ISBN 0-87131-340-5
  • Presidential mystery stays unsolved. Sloat, Bill. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, May 31, 2006.
  • History's DNA. Appel, Jacob M. The Chicago Tribune. August 21, 2008.
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