Remembering President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

President Warren G. Harding’s body lying in state in the East Room of the White House.
Image from the Library of Congress

by Kevin Thomas, Archives Technician

August 2, 2023, marks the 100th Anniversary of the sudden death of Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States. The news, no doubt, shocked Americans, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would himself share the same fate, over 21 years later.

FDR was acquainted with the Ohio Republican, from their years in Washington, D.C. – Roosevelt as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Harding as a US Senator. According to Roosevelt, it never went beyond of a few games of golf together.

Harding, however, became a political opponent in 1920. The Ohio Senator had received the Republican nomination for President at the party’s Convention in Chicago, and secured a running mate, Massachusetts Governor, Calvin Coolidge for Vice President. They would face the Democratic Party nominees, Ohio Governor James M. Cox for President, and Roosevelt for Vice President.

Election Day, November 2, 1920, brought triumph for the top of the Republican ticket. The following day, FDR issued a statement in which he called on all Americans to support the Harding administration. In the statement, he also highlighted women as a political force, and acknowledged that issues important to them, must now be recognized.