Warren G. Harding was not the first president to indulge in extracurricular affairs outside the respectability of marriage: Lyndon B. Johnson, a competitive womanizer, claimed that he had more women by accident than John F. Kennedy did on purpose.
But the adoring letters Harding sent to his lover are certainly among his most daring.
Many of the juiciest ones remained hidden until very recently, when the Library of Congress finally made them public.
Now the true extent of his sexual exploits has been revealed in a new book of love letters written within the walls of the White House, titled Are you ready for the storm of lovemaking? (itself a quote attributed to Woodrow Wilson in a letter to his first wife, Ellen).
The loving letters sent by former President Warren G. Harding (seen with his wife Florence) to his mistress have been revealed in a daring new book.
Harding began a torrid affair with family friend and neighbor Caroline ‘Carrie’ Phillips in the summer of 1905.
Harding, the 29th president, and the man credited with coming up with the phrase “Founding Fathers,” was married to Florence, nicknamed The Duchess thanks to her superiority complex. But her womanizing was so well known that her own father said it was a good thing she wasn’t a girl, or “she would be in the family all the time.”
He began a torrid relationship with family friend and neighbor Caroline ‘Carrie’ Phillips in the summer of 1905, when he owned and edited a newspaper in Ohio, and when Florence was conveniently (or inconveniently) recovering from a kidney infection.
In one of his letters, written in January 1912, his ecstasies led him to poetry:
‘I love your poise
With perfect thighs
when they hug me
I love the rose
Your garden grows
Love shell pink
that shines above
I love to suck
your breath away
I love to hold on –
There is much to stay…
I love you dress
But naked more…’
Some of his reflections were so explicit that he had to write them down in code. For example, in this letter, in which he recalled an erotic New Year’s Eve he had spent with Carrie in Montreal, having sex when the clock struck midnight, he used the word ‘Jerry’ to refer to his penis, and ‘Mrs Pouterson’ for describe Carrie’s vagina.
‘I stopped playing to eat sandwiches and drink a bottle of wine, so I could think about my thoughts. You can guess where they focused: at the beginning of the New Year a year before, when the bell rang the chorus while our hearts sang in wordless ecstasy and we greeted the New Year from the hallowed heights of heaven…
When I got home I was too tired to sleep, but I rested and they finally called you. And you came, a vividly clear vision, a goddess in human form, and a perfect form, clad only in flowing hair, and you were greeted with joy, and Jerry came and insisted on staying while we all thought back on the happiness of a Sunday in Richmond.’
Later that same year, Harding (and Jerry) clearly missed the pleasures that only Carrie could provide:
‘Honestly, I ache with insatiable longing, until I feel like there will never be any relief until I take a long, deep, wild drag on your lips and then bury my face in your pillowy breasts…
‘Wouldn’t you like to get wet in Superior, not in the lake, to enjoy feverish caresses and melting kisses? Wouldn’t you like the alleged occupant of the next room to feel jealous of the joys he didn’t get to experience, as we did at morning communion in Richmond? …
Harding’s wife Florence was nicknamed The Duchess thanks to her superiority complex.
The numerous adventures of John F. Kennedy (pictured with Jacqueline a few months before their wedding) are legendary.
Marilyn Monroe’s breathy rendition of Happy Birthday, Mr. President cemented rumors of her romance with JFK.
Lyndon B. Johnson, a competitive womanizer, claimed that he had more women by accident than John F. Kennedy did on purpose. He appears in the photo with his wife, Lady Bird.
In a letter to his first wife, Ellen, after a long absence, Woodrow Wilson wrote: “Are you prepared for the storm of lovemaking?”
‘Oh, my Carrie! You can see that I have given in and written myself into wild desire. I could beg. And Jerry came and he won’t go away, he says he loves you, that you’re the only one, the only love worth having in this whole world, and I have to tell you that and a score or more of other loving things he suggests, but I forgive you. You shouldn’t get angry. He is so devoted that he only exists to give you everything. I’m afraid you’ll find an enthusiastic enthusiast today.
But by 1920, their love had apparently turned sour. And, while Harding was running for president, Carrie and her husband used the letters to blackmail him (this, despite the fact that he had ordered all of his mistresses to burn his letters).
Harding received the nomination before party representatives learned of the plot, and his close friend, Ned McLean, owner of The Washington Post, paid Carrie a sum of $25,000 and a monthly stipend of $2,000.
She and her husband used the cash to travel around the world until the presidential campaign ended and, on November 2 of that year, Harding won the presidency, the only one to be elected on her birthday.
Are you ready for the storm of lovemaking? Letters of love and lust from the White House band Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler is published by Simon & Schuster