The Ohio State University at Marion

Warren G. Harding Symposium


July 19-20, 2019

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.

Warren Harding’s election in November of 1920 was the first in which American women could vote, following passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. And vote, they did, swelling voter rolls from 18.5 million in 1916 to 26.8 million in 1920. Harding and his running mate, Calvin Coolidge won in a landslide victory, 60.3 percent of the vote against fellow Ohioan James Cox and Franklin Roosevelt’s 34.1 percent.

Was it the women’s vote that gave Harding the presidency? Or was it fatigue with the previous administration or Harding’s call for a return to normalcy that won the day?

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America, this year’s Harding Symposium will examine women’s increasingly important role in American politics—from that first presidential election in which they could participate to today’s headlines in which a coalition of female congressional representatives confronts the Trump administration.

The Harding Symposium will feature an opening reception, the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Harding Memorial, workshop sessions featuring three outstanding scholars focused on the suffrage movement and women’s changing role in American politics, and wrapping up with Marion’s own Mary Ellen Withrow, the only person, male or female, to be elected treasurer at the local, state, and federal levels.

For more information, please call 740/725-6340, or visit us online at

The Warren G. Harding Symposium is a collaboration between The Ohio State University at Marion, the Harding Home Presidential Site, the Ohio History Connection, Marion Technical College, the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Marion Public Library.





Schedule of Events 2019

Click to open a downloadable PDF file of the Schedule of Events.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Tours of the Harding Home, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The Harding Home
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

The Warren G. Harding Home site is being transformed. This collaborative effort, called Harding 2020, includes the complete restoration of the Harding Home as well as the establishment of the Harding Presidential Center, which will serve as a visitor center, museum, archives and multi-purpose event facility. During the 2019 Harding Symposium, the Harding Home will be closed for restoration. However, tours of the restoration in progress will be offered to attendees on Friday, July 19, 2019. Tours will be given on the hour, at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. No reservations are necessary. The tours will begin on the front porch of the Harding Home and admission is free. We encourage freewill donations to help support the Harding 2020 project.

Opening Reception, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Marion Country Club
2415 Crissinger Road
Marion, OH 43302

The opening reception of the 2019 Harding Symposium will be held in the ballroom of the Marion Country Club, opened in 1921 to honor and entertain newly elected President Warren G. Harding and his many distinguished guests. The program – Showdown in Tennessee: The Ratification of the 19th Amendment - will be led by Sherry Hall, Site Manager of the Warren G. Harding Home and Memorial. It will focus on the fight for ratification and the drama surrounding the deciding vote in the Tennessee legislature. Following the reception, Gary Branson, executive director of the Marion Public Library and symposium advisory committee member, will conduct an optional book study of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Benson.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Presidential Wreath-Laying Ceremony, 10:30 a.m.

The Harding Memorial
Delaware Avenue & Vernon Heights Blvd.
Marion, OH 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 United State Army will conduct the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring President Harding.

Workshop Sessions Begin, 1:00 p.m.

The Marion Campus Health Technologies Auditorium
1467 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

Workshop Session 1

The Growing Pains of Suffrage, 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Presentation by Katherine Jellison

Workshop Session 2
How Racism Impacted the Suffrage Movement, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Presentation by Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

Workshop Session 3
Women in American Politics after Suffrage 4:00-5:15 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. Susan Hartmann

Dinner and Keynote, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

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

At the concluding banquet on Saturday evening, Mary Ellen Withrow will give the keynote.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Friends of the Harding Home Day, 12 - 1:30 p.m.

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

Symposium attendees will have the option to attend the annual Friends of the Harding Home Day event. Following a brunch buffet and brief update about the Harding Home site, Jon Andersen, researcher for the Harding Home, will present the program, “Back to the ‘20s: The Temporary Museum in the Harding Home.” Jon will lead us back to 1926, when the newly formed Harding Memorial Association opened the doors to the “Temporary Museum in the Harding Home” for the first time. Get a taste of what visitors would have seen and experienced -- and meet the caretakers -- before the Harding Home became a house museum.

Advance reservations are required. This event is free for Friends of Harding Home members and $20 for non-members. Registration (whether Friends member or guest) is required. To register, please call the Harding Presidential Site at 800-600-6894, or email through the website. Non-members can join the Friends or purchase the $20 brunch tickets in our on-line store on the website.

Featured Presenters

Katherine Jellison

She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, where she studied with one of the pioneers in the field of U.S. women’s history, Linda K. Kerber. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Department of History at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Dr. Jellison has received numerous research grants and fellowships, including awards from the Smithsonian Institution and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She is the author of a number of books, book chapters and scholarly articles and serves as Chair of the Ohio University Press Editorial Board. Dr. Jellison has won several teaching honors at Ohio University, including the Excellence in Feminist Pedagogy Award, the University Professor Award, the Jeannette G. Grasselli Brown Faculty Teaching Award in the Social Sciences, and designation as a Fellow in the Charles J. Ping Institute for the Teaching of the Humanities.

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

She is professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. She teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Race and the Law, Evidence, and Gender and Justice and has taught in the Africana Studies Program at Vassar College prior to John Jay. She is a civil rights attorney who litigated cases for Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. Professor Browne-Marshall is the author of many articles and several books including The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justiceand Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Presentwhich includes chapters on race and education, voting rights, criminal justice, property, civil liberties and protest, the military and internationalism concerning African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans.

Dr. Susan Hartmann

She is Emerita Professor of History at The Ohio State University who specializes in 20th century American history and women's history. She has published several books including From Margin to Mainstream: American Women and Politics since 1960 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989) and The Other Feminists (Yale University Press, 1998). Her current research deals with gender and the reshaping of U.S. politics and policy after World War II. Professor Hartmann is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. She has won the College of Humanities Exemplary Faculty Award and the University Distinguished Service Award

Mary Ellen Withrow

She served our country as the 40th Treasurer of the United States from 1994-2001 during the administration of President Bill Clinton. During her tenure, U.S. currency was redesigned, including the $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes, all of which bear her signature. She has the distinction of having been the only person ever elected treasurer at all three levels of government, serving as Marion Ohio County Treasurer, Treasurer of the State of Ohio, and Treasurer of the United States. Mrs. Withrow is an inductee into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fameand a recipient of a Women Executives in State Government fellowship to Harvard University. Following her retirement from public office, Withrow became active in the United States Treasury's historical society. Her vast collection of personal documents, photographs, awards and personal papers are on display at The Withrow Museum at Primrose of Marion.

Click here to register.


Download the registration form Harding Symposium registration form 2019.pdf.

Registration will close July 8.

Click here to open an adobe .pdf downloadable/printable schedule of events.

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.


Program Costs

The complete package registration includes: admission to the Friday evening program, all Saturday study sessions, access to exhibits, and the evening reception, dinner and program. Complete package registrations are limited to 120. The deadline for registering is July 8.

Program Costs
Complete Package - Adult$100
Complete Package - Student $75
Friday - Opening Reception (limited availability) $25
Saturday - Study Sessions $50
Saturday - Keynote address and Dinner$35

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

Information on Past Symposiums