Elizabeth Ann Blaesing

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Elizabeth Ann Blaesing (Britton Harding)

Also Known As: "Elizabeth Ann Harding", "Emma Eloise Britton"
Birthplace: Asbury Park, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States
Death: November 17, 2005 (86)
Welches, Mount Hood Village, Clackamas County, Oregon, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the USA and Nan Popham Ericksen
Wife of Henry Edward Blaesing
Mother of Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Ann Blaesing

WASHINGTON — She was denounced as a “degenerate” and a “pervert,” accused of lying for money and shamed for waging a “diabolical” campaign of falsehoods against the president’s family that tore away at his legacy.

Long before Lucy Mercer, Kay Summersby or Monica Lewinsky, there was Nan Britton, who scandalized a nation with stories of carnal adventures in a White House coat closet and endured a ferocious backlash for publicly claiming that she bore the love child of President Warren G. Harding.

Now nearly a century later, according to genealogists, new genetic tests confirm for the first time that Ms. Britton’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was indeed Harding’s biological child. The tests have solved one of the enduring mysteries of presidential history and offer new insights into the secret life of America’s 29th president. At the least, they demonstrate how the march of technology is increasingly rewriting the nation’s history books.

The revelation has also roiled two families that have circled each other warily for 90 years, struggling with issues of rumor, truth and fidelity. Even now, members of the president’s family remain divided over the matter, with some still skeptical after a lifetime of denial and unhappy about cousins who chose to pursue the question. Some descendants of Ms. Britton remain resentful that it has taken this long for evidence to come out and for her credibility to be validated.

“It’s sort of Shakespearean and operatic,” said Dr. Peter Harding, a grandnephew of the president and one of those who instigated the DNA testing that confirmed the relationship to Ms. Britton’s offspring. “This story hangs over the whole presidential history because it was an unsolved mystery.”

The Nan Britton affair was the sensation of its age, a product of the jazz-playing, gin-soaked Roaring Twenties and a pivotal moment in the evolution of the modern White House. It was not the first time a president was accused of an extracurricular love life, but never before had a self-proclaimed presidential mistress gone public with a popular tell-all book. The ensuing furor played out in newspapers, courtrooms and living rooms across the country.

While some historians dismissed Ms. Britton’s account, it remained part of popular lore. Pundits raised it as an analog after revelations of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Ms. Lewinsky. HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” made it a subplot a few years ago. The Library of Congress effectively recalled it last year when it released Harding’s love letters with another mistress, Carrie Phillips.

President Warren G. Harding Credit Library of Congress, via Reuters Ms. Britton, who was 31 years younger than Harding, had a harder time proving her relationship when she revealed it after his death because she had destroyed her own letters with him at his request and because his family insisted he was sterile.

As a boy growing up, Peter Harding said he believed the family line. “My father said this couldn’t have happened because President Harding had mumps as a kid and was infertile and the family really vilified Nan Britton,” said Dr. Harding, now 72 and a physician in Big Sur, Calif.

After finding Ms. Britton’s book, “The President’s Daughter,” among his father’s belongings, though, he concluded that the man described in it resembled the writer of the letters to Ms. Phillips, an expressive romantic who doted on women.

Dr. Harding and his cousin, Abigail Harding, decided to pursue the matter and made contact with James Blaesing, a grandson of Ms. Britton and son of the daughter she claimed to have conceived with the president. Testing by AncestryDNA, a division of Ancestry.com, the genealogical website, found that Mr. Blaesing was a second cousin to Peter and Abigail Harding, meaning that Elizabeth Ann Blaesing had to be President Harding’s daughter.

“We’re looking at the genetic scene to see if Warren Harding and Nan Britton had a baby together and all these signs are pointing to yes,” said Stephen Baloglu, an executive at Ancestry. “The technology that we’re using is at a level of specificity that there’s no need to do more DNA testing. This is the definitive answer.”

Source: DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding’s Love Life. New York Times, By Peter Baker, 12 August 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/13/us/dna-is-said-to-solve-a-mystery...

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Elizabeth Ann Blaesing's Timeline

October 22, 1919
Asbury Park, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States
November 17, 2005
Age 86
Welches, Mount Hood Village, Clackamas County, Oregon, United States