Description

    Warren G. Harding Superb Rare Autograph Letter Signed: The President sends a gift for Christmas to his sister, one of his mistress's former school teachers.

    Signed: "Warren G. Harding" as President, one page, 7" x 8.75". The White House, Washington, December 23, 1922. To his sister, Abigail. In full: "Dear Sister Abigail, Enclosed find a little Christmas gift, a token of a brother's loving regard. I shall think of you at Xmas time, and I shall have a real regret that I can not celebrate in the atmosphere of home and amid the surroundings of family and friends. My love and good wishes to you. Yours affectionately."

    Abigail Victoria Harding (1875-1935) was the sixth of eight children born to George and Phoebe Harding. Warren was the eldest of three boys and five girls. Abigail, who married Ralph T, Lewis in 1924, had taught public school in Marion, Ohio. One of her students was Nan Britton.

    Nan Britton (1896-1991) was Warren Harding's mistress while he was U.S. Senator and President. She claimed they had a daughter, Elizabeth (1919-2005).

    In this letter, President Harding encloses a Christmas gift for his sister (not present), "a token of a brother's loving regard." He sent Nan Britton $250 for Christmas and she bought herself a diamond and sapphire bracelet. The President could not celebrate the holiday with his family and friends in Marion because his wife, Florence, had collapsed from kidney failure in September and was still confined to a wheelchair. The Hardings had no guests at the White House at Christmas time. It was to be Harding's last Christmas. On August 2, 1923, returning from a trip to Alaska, President Harding died suddenly in his hotel room in San Francisco.

    Following Harding's death, Nan Britton visited her former teacher, told her about the affair she had had with her brother, and revealed the existence of their daughter. She asked Abigail for $50,000 for child support. Reportedly neither shocked nor surprised, and concerned about her brother's reputation, she began giving Nan small sums of money, until her younger brother George put a stop to it. Britton then wrote a book about her affair with Harding, "The President's Daughter" (1927). It became a best-seller. The contents of the book were never challenged in court by members of the Harding family.

    ALsS of Harding as President are exceedingly rare. Family letters of U.S. Presidents are usually found in university libraries or government archives. Those signed in full are especially desirable. This letter was obtained by a collector from the family of Ralph T. Lewis's secretary who sold it to the consignor. It is in extra fine condition and includes the original postmarked White House envelope, addressed by typewriter to Miss Abigail V. Harding in Marion, Ohio. Also included are two photographs of Abigail Harding. This letter would be an outstanding addition to a presidential collection. From the Gary Grossman Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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