Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865-1923) was an entrepreneur and a renowned orator who quickly rose through the ranks of Ohio politics. In 1920, he launched a front porch campaign from his home in Marion, Ohio, a strategy that echoed his campaign's theme of a "Return to Normalcy" and propelled him to office as our 29th President.
Warren Harding with Al Jolson during the "front porch" campaign. Jolson (1886-1950) was a singer and entertainer, especially well known for the 1927 film the Jazz Singer, the first talking picture. The image shows Warren Harding on the far left and Jolson on the far right, standing next to Florence Harding.
This photograph shows (from left to right) Warren Harding, actress Blanche Ring (1877-1961), entertainer Al Jolson, and politician Charles Evans Hughes during the "front porch" campaign of 1920. Jolson (1886-1950) was especially well known for the 1927 film the Jazz Singer, the first talking picture. Hughes (1862-1948) was governor of New York, and a presidential candidate in 1916 (running against Woodrow Wilson). He served as Harding's secretary of state and in 1930 became chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Warren Harding and his future wife, Florence Kling, planned and built the house just before their marriage on July 8, 1891. Harding used the home for his 1920 "front porch" campaign for president, and built the press house in the back of the house so that his speeches could be broadcast more widely. The Hardings lived in the home until 1921, when they moved to the White House.
This photograph shows inventor Thomas Edison talking to President Warren G. Harding during a camping trip in 1921 taken with rubber manufacturer Harvey Firestone and automobile manufacturer Henry Ford. Edison (1847-1931) was born in Milan, Ohio and is famous for his many inventions, including the phonograph and the light bulb. He was one of the original founders of the "vagabonds" a group of prominent men who went camping on several different occasions between 1916 and 1924. Harding was invited to their camping trip in Maryland in July of 1921, which became known as "Camp Harding."
On Christmas 1921, President Warren G. Harding was given a silver locket containing a portrait of Abraham Lincoln along with a lock of his hair. The engraved inscription on the back reads “This lock of hair was cut from the head of Abraham Lincoln April 15, 1865 by Schuyler Colfax for Mrs. Lincoln, from whom it passed to her sister [Mrs.] Ninian Edwards and to her daughter Julia Edwards Baker, then to Lucy Harmon McPherson, the daughter of Judge Harmon, Lincoln’s intimate friend and then to a friend of President Harding, who presents it to him as the exemplar of Lincoln’s spirit and the exponent of his democracy. Christmas 1921” President Warren G. Harding’s initials are engraved on the front.
On Christmas 1921, President Warren G. Harding was given a locket containing a portrait of Abraham Lincoln along with a lock of his hair. The portrait is a painted sketch based from a photograph taken in April 1861. Text under the portrait reads, “To Mrs. Lucy G. Speed, from whose pious hand I accepted the present of an Oxford Bible twenty years ago. A. Lincoln”
This photograph shows Warren G. Harding and a Chicago Cubs player examining baseballs in Marion, Ohio, on September 2, 1920. Bystanders include another Cubs player and several men in business attire. On this date Harding attended an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and the Kerrigan Tailors, a semi-professional team from Marion, Ohio. Organized by supporters of Harding's campaign, the game was intended to create a favorable impression of the candidate as a man who enjoyed the national pastime. Harding threw three pitches for the Kerrigan Tailors. The Cubs defeated the local team.
Warren G. Harding pitching during an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and the Kerrigan Tailors. Date of the game was Sept. 2, 1920. Wearing light-colored slacks and shoes and a darker sport jacket, Harding is positioned to the left of two unidentified Cubs players, one of whom is holding a boater hat and a baseball glove. A blurry line of spectators is visible in the background.
George Herman "Babe" Ruth, the famous New York Yankees outfielder, sent this letter to Mrs. Florence Harding after President Warren G. Harding's death in office. Harding died unexpectedly on August 2, 1923, after completing a speaking tour of Alaska. President Harding was an avid sportsman and a great fan of baseball.
The Ohio History Connection