The death of President Warren Harding came as a shock to the nation. He was only 58 years old, well-traveled, seemingly strong and healthy. It was halfway through his term, and he was a popular president. His wife Florence had always been working behind the scenes to support his career, since his start as newspaper editor. She even once told reporters, “I have only one real hobby—my husband.” But then, President Harding embarked on a speaking tour across the country called “The Voyage of Understanding”. On a visit to Alaska, President Harding became extremely tired and confused. He passed out several times on the way back to Washington. Three days later on August 2nd 1923, he died at a hotel in San Francisco while his wife was reading to him. She told doctors he had a convulsion and then passed.

First lady trivia: Florence Harding was Accused of Murder
First lady trivia: Florence Harding was Accused of Murder

It was originally proposed that he may have been poisoned from bad crab meat. Doctors then believed he had severe pneumonia, and eventually ruled it as a stroke. But Mrs. Harding started to act suspiciously, embalming him immediately, refusing an autopsy, and destroying a number of his papers. Mrs. Harding died only a year after her husband. After her death, retired FBI agent Gaston Means published a book in 1930 accusing her of murdering Harding to protect his legacy from scandals of affairs and bribery. Later it was revealed the book was mostly fabricated. It is now believed that the President died of a heart attack.

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