The Ohio State University at Marion


Warren G. Harding Symposium

>>> The 2021 Harding Symposium has been cancelled <<<

United States Presidential Transitions: Building the Bridge of Democracy

September 24-25, 2021

The Warren G. Harding Symposium is an academic, social, and cultural exploration of the life and times of America's 29th president. The Symposium presents in-depth analysis and research by authors, historians, researchers and experts on the Harding Era and related areas of interest.

The theme of the 2021 Warren G. Harding Symposium is United States Presidential Transitions: Building the Bridge of Democracy. When the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 was passed, Congress explained, “Any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of the United States and its people.” It was enacted to promote the orderly transfer of power by establishing a framework for the federal government to prepare for a transition from one president to another. Through noted experts we will explore the history of presidential transitions, the complicated transition from Woodrow Wilson to Warren Harding and the innerworkings of a modern presidential transition. Featured presenters will include historian Dr. Thomas Balcerski, noted author David Harsanyi and Professor Bridget Dooling.

The opening of the symposium will be held in conjunction with the dedication of the newly constructed Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum. It will mark the culmination of a multi-year project to not only build a state-of-the-art presidential library, but also to restore the Harding Home to exactly the way it appeared during the 1920 presidential campaign.

Complete information concerning the symposium can be found on this webpage. Registration must be completed online using the format below. Registration will open soon. If you have questions, please contact us at 740-725-6340 or by email at creasap.27@osu.edu or iams.18@osu.edu.

The Warren G. Harding Symposium is a collaboration between The Ohio State University at Marion, the Harding Presidential Sites, the Ohio History Connection and the Marion Public Library.


>>>WATCH 2020 SYMPOSIUM/WORKSHOP VIDEOS<<<

>>>WATCH 2019 SYMPOSIUM/WORKSHOP VIDEOS<<<

>>>WATCH 2018 SYMPOSIUM/WORKSHOP VIDEOS<<<

>>>WATCH 2017 SYMPOSIUM/WORKSHOP VIDEOS<<<


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Click here to open the schedule

Friday, September 24th:

2:00 p.m. Dedication of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum and restored Harding Home

The Harding Presidential Sites
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302

The Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum recently opened in Marion, Ohio. It is the culmination of a multi-year project to not only build a state-of-the-art presidential library, but also to restore the Harding Home to exactly the way it appeared in 1920 during the famous Front Porch Campaign. Symposium attendees will be guests at the official dedication ceremony which will feature a slate of dignitaries and speakers.

3:00-5:00 p.m. Meet the Experts

Choose among a menu of informal chats around the site with the Ohio History Connection experts who designed the presidential library, made the Harding story come to life in the exhibit gallery, dove deeply into the restoration of the Harding Home, and conducted conservation of invaluable Harding historical objects.


Saturday, September 25th

10:30 a.m. Presidential Wreath-laying Ceremony

The Harding Memorial
Delaware Avenue at Veterans Park
Marion, Ohio 43302

The Harding Memorial is the final resting place of President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding. It is widely regarded as the most impressive presidential monument outside of Washington, D.C. Dedicated by President Herbert Hoover in 1931, the massive white marble structure is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet high. On behalf of the White House, the Unites States Army will conduct the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring President Harding.

1:00 p.m. Workshop Sessions

Marion Campus Health Technologies Auditorium
1467 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302

1:00-2:15 p.m. An Overview of Presidential Transitions

Thomas Balcerski is a native of New Jersey and currently serves as professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University. A scholar of early American history, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. His research interests include United States presidents and first ladies and American history. He was featured on the C-SPAN series, “Lectures in History,” for his work on antebellum political culture. His current book, Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019) explores the personal and political relationship of those two nineteenth-century Democrats. His work has appeared in the Journal of Social History and Pennsylvania History.

2:30-3:45 p.m. Replace Everything Woodrow Wilson with Warren Harding

David Harsanyi is an American conservative journalist, columnist, author and editor. In his early career, Mr. Harsanyi worked as a sports-journalist, covering baseball for Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press. He has also written columns for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Post, The Globe and Mail and The Hill. Mr. Harsanyi worked for more than a decade as an editor, reporter and producer at media outlets such as the Associated Press and the New York Daily News. He wrote for the Denver Post for eight years and was senior editor at the online publication, The Federalist, for six years, writing more than 800 columns. In 2019, he became a senior writer at National Review. Mr. Harsanyi is the author of four books, and his fifth book will be published in September.

4:00-5:15 p.m. An Inside Look at a Modern Presidential Transition

Bridget C.E. Dooling is a research professor with the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. Previously, she was a deputy chief, senior policy analyst, and attorney for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Professor Dooling also served a clerkship for an administrative law judge at the U.S. Department of Labor and positions in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently serves on the Council of the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and is licensed to practice law in Virginia. Following the 2020 presidential election, Professor Dooling was asked to join the team of highly experienced experts to serve on the Biden/Harris Transition Team. Members of the team were chosen to help the new administration understand the day-to-day operations of federal agencies to ensure a smooth transition of power.

6:00-8:00 p.m. Dinner and Harding Family Keynote

The Ohio State University at Marion
Guthery Community Room, Maynard Hall
1461 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302

Dr. Richard Harding is the great-nephew of President Warren G. Harding. He retired as Chairman of the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science in the School of Medicine at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Harding will provide family insights into the past twelve years of honoring the accomplishment of President Harding through the annual Warren G. Harding Symposium and the opening of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum.


Featured Presenters

Thomas Balcerski

Thomas Balcerski is a native of New Jersey and currently serves as professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University. A scholar of early American history, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. His research interests include United States presidents and first ladies and American history. Dr. Balcerski teaches courses in United States presidential history, African American history and American popular culture. He was featured on the C-SPAN series, “Lectures in History,” for his work on antebellum political culture. His current book, Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019) explores the personal and political relationship of those two nineteenth-century Democrats. His work has appeared in the Journal of Social History and Pennsylvania History.

David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is an American conservative journalist, columnist, author and editor. In his early career, Mr. Harsanyi worked as a sports-journalist, covering baseball for Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press. He has also written columns for The Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Post, The Globe and Mail and The Hill. Mr. Harsanyi worked for more than a decade as an editor, reporter and producer at media outlets such as the Associated Press and the New York Daily News. He wrote for the Denver Post for eight years and was senior editor at the online publication, The Federalist, for six years, writing more than 800 columns. In 2019, he became a senior writer at National Review. Mr. Harsanyi is the author of four books, and his fifth book will be published in September. His article, “Replace Everything Woodrow Wilson with Warren Harding,” appeared in the National Review on June 30, 2020.

Bridget C.E. Dooling

Bridget C.E. Dooling is a research professor with the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. Previously, she was a deputy chief, senior policy analyst, and attorney for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Professor Dooling's earlier professional experience includes a clerkship for an administrative law judge at the U.S. Department of Labor and positions in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently serves on the Council of the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and is licensed to practice law in Virginia. Following the 2020 presidential election, Professor Dooling was asked to join the team of highly experienced experts to serve on the Biden/Harris Transition Team. Members of the team were chosen to help the new administration understand the day-to-day operations of federal agencies to ensure a smooth transition of power.



2019 - "Women at the Ballot Box: How Suffrage Changed the United States Presidency"

The event offered an in-depth look at our country's path to equality for women at the ballot box, how racism impacted the suffrage movement, the drama surrounding the ratification process, and the emergence of women in politics. Featured presenters were Sherry Hall, Dr. Katherine Jellison, Dr. Susan Hartmann, Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall, and Mary Ellen Withrow.

2018 - "The Press and the Presidency"

2018’s Harding Symposium focused on the press and the presidency. The 1920 election featured two Ohio newspapermen running against each other, Warren Harding and James Cox. Sherry Hall, curator of the Harding Home and a former reporter herself, examined the cozy relationship between the press and Harding at the time of his election. Those relations have become less cozy over time, a topic examined by Dr. Nicole Hemmer, professor of presidential studies at the University of Virginia Miller Center. New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman gave the Symposium audience an inside look at the often tempestuous relationship between today’s press and the Donald Trump administration.

2017 - "The Great War: How America Came of Age"

In 2017, the symposium was titled, The Great War: How America Came of Age. Sessions highlighted the events leading up to our entry into the conflict, the domestic impact of the war, and the “return to normalcy” following the war. Presenters were Dr. Michael Kazin, Dr. David Steigerwald, Sherry Hall, and Dr. Andrew Huebner.

2016 - "The American Presidential Candidate: Reality vs. Illusion"

The 2016 Warren G. Harding Symposium will present “The American Presidential Candidate: Reality vs. Illusion”. Warren Harding’s Front Porch Campaign in 1920 was considered the first “modern” media campaign. Some might argue it’s been downhill ever since! Professor Alan Schroeder of Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, Dr. Daniel Shea of Colby College’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, and Mo Elleithee, who heads the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown University will each bring their insight into today’s “modern” presidential campaigns. Where have we come and where are we going in the selection process for the leader of the free world? This year’s Symposium promises to be as relevant as today’s headlines.

2015 - "The Modern First Ladies: Portraits in Contrast"

In 2015, the Warren G. Harding Symposium partnered with the National First Ladies’ Library to present The Modern First Ladies: Portraits in Contrast. The event examined the dramatic variety of styles and approaches brought to the role of First lady beginning with Florence Harding. Featured presenters included Cynthia Bittinger, Annette Dunlap, Sherry Hall, Patricia Krider, and former White House Chief Usher Gary Walters. The keynote address was given by the Honorable Capricia Marshall, former Chief of Protocol of the United States. The event was broadcast live on C-SPAN.

2014 - Prelude to the 1960s: The United States Presidency and Civil Rights

2014 marked the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education which declared that state laws establishing separate schools for black and white students were unconstitutional. It is also the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil rights Act of 1964 by President Johnson. Join us for the 2014 Warren G. Harding Symposium which will explore the influence the Oval Office had on the modern Civil Rights Movement from President Harding to President Johnson.

Keynote Address: Andrew Young

Ambassador Young brings a unique perspective, honed by his wealth of experience in national and global leadership, to his focus on this era’s challenges. He confronted segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and galvanized a movement that transformed a nation through nonviolence. Young was a key strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham and Selma that resulted in the passage Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

2013 - Scandals and the United States Presidency

Presidential scandals are not a recent phenomenon in the history of the United States. Though the headlines that swirled around President Bill Clinton touched off a storm of controversy, United States presidents from Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have wrestled with scandal for two hundred years. During the Scandals and the United States Presidency distinguished presenters explored why some scandals went unpunished and others tarnished entire administrations.

2012 - American at a Crossroads: The 1920 Presidential Campaign

This event explored Harding's famous Front Porch Campaign, Democrat challenger James Cox, and the impact of millions of American women exercising their right to vote for the first time.

2011 - The Western Trip:Discovery, Understanding, and the Death of a President

President Warren Harding’s journey to the western states, Canada and Alaska has become a hazy backdrop to his unexpected death in August 1923. The 2011 Harding Symposium explored what Harding said to the American people in more than 80 speeches, the lasting effects of President Harding’s visit to Alaska, the first by an American president and the controversy surrounding the mysterious decline and eventual death of President Harding.

2010 - The Man, the Myth, and the Legacy

The Man, the Myth, and the Legacy will be the first presentation of the Warren G. Harding Symposium. The two-day event featured an open House at the Harding Home, guided tours of the Harding Home and Museum, the Harding Memorial, and the Marion County Historical Society. The workshop sessions featured noted authors and Harding researchers gala dinner featuring extensive exhibits of Harding memorabilia, period antique automobiles, and a panel discussion.


Registration

Program Costs

Each ticket is $100 and includes admission to everything listed on the Schedule of Events.

Additional Symposium Information - Hotels, Area Attractions, News, and Publicity Items

Information on Past Symposiums