The Ohio State University at Marion

Warren G. Harding Symposium

America in 1920: The Year of Warren G. Harding

September 26, 2020

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 2020 Warren G. Harding Symposium is America in 1920: The Year of Warren G. Harding. It 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

Presented annually on the third weekend in July, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a change in plans for the 2020 Warren G. Harding Symposium. This year the Symposium will be presented as a live, two-hour webinar hosted on Zoom at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 26, 2020. The format will provide our three speakers with twenty-five minutes each for their presentations, followed a ten-minute period for questions and answers. Presenters include Dr. Nicole Hemmer, Sheryl Smart Hall and Michael D. Baron.

Complete information concerning the Symposium can be found on this webpage. Registration must be completed online using the format below. Deadline for registration will be Tuesday, September 21, 2020. If you have questions, please contact us at 740/725-6340, or by email at or

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






Click here to open the schedule

A live, two-hour webinar hosted on Zoom

1:00 p.m. Saturday, September 26, 2020

America in 1920

Presentation by Dr. Nicole Hemmer

The Nation Comes to Marion

Presentation by Sheryl (Sherry) Smart Hall

Then and Now - the Evolution of the Political Parties

Presentation by Michael D. Barone

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 is now open, it will close September 21st, 2020.

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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 is $30 and includes one household admission to the Saturday webinar program.

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

Information on Past Symposiums