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1930s & Earlier / Curious Death of President Harding 1923
On the evening of August 2, 1923, Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, died suddenly in a room at the Palace Hotel in San Francsico. He was 57 years old. Harding was in the midst of a west coast trip, but he had taken ill as his train rolled through Seattle. Almost immediately, the rumors surrounding his passing began. There was no official cause of Harding's death. Some sources claim it was a fatal case of food poisoning; others claim it was a heart attack or a stroke. Despite his wife and his nurses being frequently in and out of the room, the time of Harding's death could not be pinned down any more specifically than between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Florence Harding had her husband's body embalmed and ready for a funeral train back to Washington within an hour of the president's death, thus no autopsy could be performed. (California had no mandatory autopsy laws at the time.) Although Harding was a perfect candidate for poor health--he was a heavy smoker and drinker, plagued by stress, who rarely exercised--there are those who think Mrs. Harding had something to do with her husband's demise. According to the conspiracy theorists, Mrs. Harding either wanted to spare Warrren G. the shame of the scandals about his administration that were soon to surface--or she took revenge over her hubby's numerous extra-marital trysts. Those who don't think anything was amiss point to Harding's declining health at the hands of a quack homeopathic physician and Harding's generally poor living habits. Maybe Harding himself sensed the end was near: Before leaving for the west coast, Harding had written a new will. He had also curiously sold the Marion (OH) Star, his hometown newspaper, which he had bought with the intent of running it after he retired from politics.