Confirmed: America's 29th president had a love child

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President Warren G. Harding's Love Letters To Mistress Going Public

Decades after Nan Britton was shamed for speaking out about her alleged affair with former US President Warren G. Harding, DNA testing has seemingly proven that she was telling the truth, The New York Times reports.

Relatives of Harding and Britton submitted DNA to AncestryDNA, a division of Ancestry.com, and the results proved that Britton's daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was Harding's love child.

"We're looking at the genetic scene to see if Warren Harding and Nan Britton had a baby together and all these signs are pointing to yes," Stephen Baloglu, an executive at Ancestry, told the Times.

Photos of from throughout Warren G. Harding's life:

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Confirmed: America's 29th president had a love child
In an undated photo of Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding, date unknown. (AP Photo)
Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding, is shown in an undated photo. (AP Photo)
The 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, and his wife Florence Kling Harding, center, are seen in this 1923 photo as they enjoy a motor boat ride. Woman on the right is unidentified. (AP Photo)
Laddie Boy, President Warren G. Harding's terrier is shown, Aug. 1, 1922. (AP Photo)
President Warren G. Harding stands with his pet airedale Laddie Boy in an undated photo. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
Laddie Boy, the pet airedale of President Warren G. Harding, greets the president and first lady Florence Harding at the entrance to the White House as the couple returns from a trip to Florida in 1923. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
Mrs. Warren G. Harding, who is showing marked signs of improving from her illness, aboard houseboat of the Washington publisher Edward B. McLean at Palm Beach, Florida March 13, 1923. She’s wearing a created hat of Meline. (AP Photo)
President Warren Harding rides a tractor in 1923. (AP Photo)
New York Yankees star Babe Ruth shakes hands with President Warren G. Harding at Yankee Stadium, April 24, 1923, before a game against the Washington Senators, just a week after the new stadium had opened. Seated beside Harding is Albert Lasker -- advertising executive, Chicago Cubs owner and Harding adviser. Seated in second row are Harding's physician Dr. Charles Sawyer, left, and Jacob Ruppert (behind Harding), owner of the Yankees. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
President Warren G. Harding with members of a foursome at the new Municipal Golf Course in Rock Creek Park, Washington, May 23, 1923. From left to right are: Edward Markham, Frederick H. Gillette, the president and Judge E.T. Sanford. (AP Photo)
President Warren G. Harding and party pass under the welcome arch at Metlakatla, Alaska, July 21, 1923. (AP Photo)
Vice president Thomas Riley Marshall, left, is seen selling bonds to a group of U.S. senators in Washington, April 6, 1943. The senators are from left to right, Thomas J. Walsh, Montana, Albert B. Cummins, Iowa, Warren G. Harding, Ohio, a later president; Frank B. Kellogg, Minnesota, a later secretary of State under Calvidge Coolidge, and Lee Slater Overman, North Carolina. (AP Photo)
An undated portrait of former US President Warren Gamaliel Harding. (AP Photo)
President Warren G. Harding stands with his pet airedale Laddie Boy in an undated photo. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
President Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence appear on a White House balcony with their pet airedale Laddie Boy, ca. 1923. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
President Warren Harding, U.S. Senator Walter E. Edge, E.B. Mc Lean, center, and the chief executive, on the fairway, May 13, 1922. (AP Photo)
President Warren Harding, throwing out the 1st ball at the opening game of the American League season, Senators vs. Yankees, in Washington, April 13, 1922. (AP Photo)
President Warren Harding and party enjoy the weekend at Mount Prospect Lodge, Lancaster, New Hampshire, Aug. 5, 1921, as the guests of Secretary Weeks, following a cruise up the New England coast after viewing the tercentenary celebration at Plymouth, Mass. The president is enjoying a game of golf on the secretary's putting links. Secretary of War John W. Weeks putting with his guest the President in the background. (AP Photo)
President Warren G. Harding stands with Mme. Marie Curie outside the White House in Washington, on May 21, 1921 after he presented the co-discoverer of radium with one gram of the precious metal. The gift was made on behalf of the women of America so she may continue her work for science and humanity. At left is Florence Harding, wife of the president. (AP Photo)
Senator Warren Harding, with wife Florence and his father George, shown Aug. 27, 1920. (AP Photo)
Sen. Warren Harding (R-Ohio) at the age of 33, Nov. 1889. (AP Photo)
Thomas A. Edison sleeps, while President Warren Harding and tire magnate Harvey Firestone read newspaper in 1921. (AP Photo)
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"The technology that we're using is at a level of specificity that there's no need to do more DNA testing. This is the definitive answer."

The affair was a major scandal of the day -- Britton published a tell-all book, "The President's Daughter," four years after Harding died.

The memoir became an "instant bestseller," according to a Times article from 1998, as it predated the Monica Lewinsky scandal by decades and marked the first time that the mistress of a US president wrote a book detailing her affair with America's leader.

Harding was rumored to have several mistresses, but Britton was still skewered in the press for claiming she had an affair with the president.

Britton grew up in Marion, Ohio, where Harding was a newspaper publisher. Britton's father reportedly knew Harding and Harding's sister was one of Britton's teachers. She admired Harding from afar until she asked for his help finding a job and he agreed to meet with her in New York, according to the Times. She was 31 years younger than him.

In 1917, four years before Harding became president, when Britton was 20 years old, she reportedly slept with him in a New York hotel room, according to the Times.

She claimed the affair lasted more than six years and that the two met in various places, including Harding's office in the Senate and a closet in the West Wing.

Harding reportedly supported his daughter financially but did not acknowledge the child as his publicly. The two never met.

Harding died in office in 1923. Britton went public with the affair after she realized the financial support would dry up.

After Britton made the affair allegations, the Harding family "really vilified" Britton, according to Peter Harding, a grandnephew of the president.

"My father said this couldn't have happened because President Harding had mumps as a kid and was infertile," he told the Times.

Although Britton reportedly destroyed the letters she and Harding sent each other, the letters Harding sent to another mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips, have been published online by the Library of Congress.

He wrote her poems:

And created code words for their correspondence:

Their affair reportedly lasted from 1905 until 1920, according to the Library of Congress, meaning he likely had several mistresses at once.

Harding was married to his wife, Florence, from 1891 until he died.

Some Harding family members seem willing to accept the DNA evidence of the late president's love child, but others still aren't so sure.

Richard Harding, 69, another grandnephew of the president, told the Times that the love child rumor is "still to be proven" but that he'd welcome the new family members if he saw enough evidence supporting the claim.

He said of the Britton relatives: "I hope they'll find their new place in history is meaningful and productive for them."

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