The Ohio State University at Marion

Warren G. Harding Symposium

America in 1920: The Year of Warren G. Harding

September 18-19, 2020

NOTE: We are currently evaluating the format of this event. Please stay tuned for details!

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.

America in 1920: The Year of Warren G. Harding will begin with a celebration of the opening of the new Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum. This Ohio History Connection event will mark the culmination of the Harding 2020 project which has included the complete restoration of the Harding Home, Press House and grounds to their 1920 appearances, as well as the construction of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum adjacent to the Harding Home. This remarkable project has been made possible by a generous challenge grant from the Jeffris Foundation along with funding from the State of Ohio and contributions from foundations, corporations, small businesses and individuals from the local area and across the nation.

With the dedication of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum, the complete and balanced story of President Warren G. Harding will be shared for the first time in history. Visitors of all ages, including families, school and tour groups, college students, authors and historians, will gain insight on the life and times of Warren and Florence Harding through original documents, photographs and thousands of historic objects woven into exhibits in an engaging, easily navigated manner.

The 2020 Harding Symposium will focus on 1920, the year that our nation’s attention turned to Marion, Ohio during the famous “front porch” campaign of Senator Warren G. Harding. One hundred years later, Marion will again be at center stage as we celebrate the centennial of Harding’s successful campaign and highlight his White House legacy.

The symposium will feature private tours of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum, the formal dedication ceremony, an opening reception, the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Harding Memorial, workshop sessions featuring three outstanding scholars and a gala dinner all focused on America in 1920.

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

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.





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Friday, September 18, 2020

Tours of the Harding Home, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

The Harding Home
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

Three optional guided tours of the Harding Home and the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum will be conducted exclusively for full-ticket symposium attendees on the hour beginning at 9:00 a.m. Registration is required and information will be included in your ticket packet.

Dedication Ceremony, 4:00 p.m.

Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302

This dedication ceremony for the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum marks the culmination of the Harding 2020 project, a collaborative effort between the Ohio History Connection and the Warren and Florence Harding Presidential Sites to restore the Harding Home, Press House and grounds to their 1920 appearance and construct the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum. Featured guests will include Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine and United States senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. Special seating will be provided for full-ticket symposium attendees.

Opening Reception, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302

The opening reception of the 2020 Harding Symposium will be held in the newly dedicated Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum. Through authentic historic artifacts, modern exhibits and engaging educational programs, the facility helps to provide insight on the lives of Warren and Florence Harding and through their stories make connections to our world today. A panel discussion about the Harding legacy will be conducted by John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel and Harding biographer, and Dr. Warren G. Harding III, grand-nephew of President Harding. Following the reception, Gary Branson, executive director of the Marion Public Library and symposium advisory committee member, will conduct another in his series of popular book studies.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

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

America in 1920, 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. Nicole Hemmer

Workshop Session 2
The Nation Comes to Marion, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Presentation by Sheryl (Sherry) Smart Hall

Workshop Session 3
Then and Now - the Evolution of the Political Parties 4:00-5:15 p.m.

Presentation by Michael D. Barone

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

The concluding dinner of the 2020 Harding Symposium will be followed by a panel discussion by our workshop presenters. They will discuss emerging views of the often misinterpreted and vastly undervalued administration of President Warren G. Harding

Featured Presenters

Dr. Nicole Hemmer

Dr. Nicole Hemmer is an associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics at Columbia University. Prior to joining INCITE, she was an assistant professor in Presidential Studies at Miller Center for Presidential Studies at University of Virginia. Hemmer’s work as a historian bridges the divide between academia and the public. She has written about politics and history for the New York Times, the Atlantic, the New Republic, and the Washington Post, and is a columnist for Vox Media, Inc. and Fairfax Media in Australia. Hemmer’s book, Messengers of the Right, A History of Conservative Media, was published by Penn Press in August 2016, and her second book, Pitchfork Politics, will be published by Basic Books. Hemmer has taught U.S. political history at Manchester University and the University of Miami. She was also awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in 2011-12, and in 2019 was a visiting fellow at the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship & Engagement at Purdue University. Hemmer continues building a career as a scholar who, through writing, broadcasting, and research, brings historical insights to contemporary debates about American politics and culture.

Sheryl Smart Hall

Sheryl (Sherry) Smart Hall is a native of Marion, Ohio and graduated from Heidelberg University with majors in both English and American Studies. She began her career in journalism as a reporter for The Marion Star, serving as city hall and police reporter, as well as the Sunday edition editor. She later served as copyeditor and bureau chief at the Canton (Ohio) Repository before accepting a position as the Education Coordinator the Harding Home Presidential Site. In 2009, she was named Site Manager.
One of the leading researchers of the life and times of President Warren G. Harding, Ms. Hall is the author of Warren G. Harding and the Marion Daily Star: How Newspapering Shaped a President. The book chronicles Harding’s thirty-nine year career as a newspaperman, the only member of the Fourth Estate to enter the White House.

Michael D. Barone

Michael Barone is an American conservative political analyst, historian, pundit and journalist. He is known for being the principal author of The Almanac of American Politics, a highly detailed reference work on Congress and state politics; it has been published biennially by National Journal since 1972. He is also a regular commentator on United States elections and political trends for the Fox News Channel. In April 2009, Barone joined the Washington Examiner, leaving his position of 18 years at U.S. News & World Report. He is currently based at the American Enterprise Institute as a resident fellow. He has written numerous books and essays on American political and demographic history including his most recent, How America’s Political Parties Change (and How They Don’t Change).

Registration will open soon.

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.


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.

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