Racy love letters between the 29th U.S. President Warren Harding and his mistress reveal a secret 15-year relationship. Elly Park reports.
These passionate words by Warren G. Harding, 29th president of the United States, are not written to his wife Florence, but his longtime mistress Carrie Phillips. It's among the 1,000 pages of love letters written to Phillips over a 10 year period, unveiled by the Library of Congress after the expiration of a 50-year court seal. Some of Harding's turn of phrase prove quite explicit, and senior archivist Karen Lynn Femia says they offer the chance to rethink perceptions of the seemingly staid president. SOUNDBITE: Senior Manuscript Archivist Karen Lynn Femia saying (English) "It reveals something about the person who is the leader of our country." Their affair began in 1905 when Harding was lieutenant governor of Ohio, and Phillips, a neighbor and family friend. Both had struggling marriages with Harding's wife being chronically ill. SOUNDBITE: Senior Manuscript Archivist Karen Lynn Femia saying (English) "At some point it seemed that they had talked about mutually leaving their spouses and starting a new life, but that never happened. He just wasn't going to leave Florence and he wasn't going to give up his political career." A career that ended just two years into his presidency when Harding died of a heart attack, his office tainted by a political scandal. The lusty love letters will become available to the public online, starting July 29.