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Harding Case Concluded

July 2024
1min read

Eight years ago our contributor Francis Russell first came upon the now famous shoe box full of love letters that President Warren G. Harding, then a senator from Ohio, wrote to Mrs. James E. (Carrie) Phillips. Both the Hardings and the Phillipses lived in Marion, Ohio, and the affair apparently lasted from about 1910 until the eve of Harding’s nomination in 1920. [See articles by Mr. Russell and by Kenneth W. Duckett in AMERICAN HERITAGE , February, 1965.]

Legal action brought by the late President’s heirs against Messrs. Russell and Duckett, this magazine, and others has recently been terminated by a consent decree in an Ohio court. Under its terms American Heritage has paid ten thousand dollars to the heirs, and the Hardings in turn are depositing the original letters in the Library of Congress, where they will remain sealed until July 29, 2014. Microfilm copies held by certain of the defendants will be deposited in the Ohio Historical Society under the same restriction. While some historians may regret the long wait, we at American Heritage feel we have made our point: that the letters, like all Presidential letters, should be preserved. It was not the best instance, by far, but an excellent principle.

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