The Ohio State University at Marion

Warren G. Harding Symposium

“The Great War: How America Came of Age”

July 14-16, 2017

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 United States played a crucial role in the outcome of World War I - though the country tried very hard to stay neutral throughout most of the conflict. One hundred years ago, in 1917, Woodrow Wilson's policy and public opinion changed in favor of the United States entry into World War I largely due to mounting German atrocities, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the need to protect our own economic interests. Dr. Michael Kazin of Georgetown University, Dr. David Steigerwald of The Ohio State University, Harding researcher and author Sherry Hall, and Dr. Andrew Huebner of the University of Alabama will each bring valuable insights into events leading up to our entry into the conflict, the domestic impact, and the “return to normalcy” following the “war to end all wars.”

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 2017

Click here to open a downloadable PDF of the schedule of events.


Friday, July 14th:

Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Tours of the Harding Home
The Harding Home and Museum
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Opening Reception
Marion Country Club
2415 Crissinger Road
Marion, OH 43302

The opening reception of the 2017 Warren G. 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. A feature of the evening will be a display of unique World War I artifacts on loan from the Ohio History Connection. Beginning at 8:00 p.m. there will also be an optional book study conducted by Gary Branson, executive director of the Marion Public Library and a symposium advisory committee member. The book featured will be Dead Wake: the Last Voyage of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. It is available online, in bookstores and at your local library.

Saturday, July 15th:

9:00 a.m.
Tour of the Harding Home
The Harding Home and Museum
380 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

10:30 a.m.
Presidential Wreath-Laying Ceremony
The Harding Memorial
Delaware Avenue at Veterans Park
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.

1:00 p.m.
Workshop Sessions
The Marion Campus Health Technologies Building
1467 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
War Against War: the American Fight for Peace
Dr. Michael Kazin

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Impact on the Home Front
Dr. David Steigerwald

4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
The Real 'Return to Normalcy'
Sheryl (Sherry) Smart Hall

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Dinner and Keynote by Dr. Andrew Huebner
The Ohio State University at Marion
Guthery Community Room
1461 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

Sunday, July 16th:

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Friends of the Harding Home Day
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 meeting, Harding researcher Jon Andersen will present a program titled, Camping with Warren, Tom, Henry and Harvey. He will explore the famous camping trip in Maryland which included President Warren G. Harding, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone and answer the question – “What really went on that weekend?”

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, email at website, or register through the “News and Events” members tab on the website.

Featured Presenters

Dr. Michael Kazin

Dr. Michael Kazin is Professor of History at Georgetown University. He is an expert in U.S. politics and social movements, during the 19th and 20th centuries. He is the author of American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, which was named a best book of 2011 by The New Republic, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and The Progressive. His latest book, War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, was published in January, 2017, by Simon and Schuster. Prior to his position at Georgetown, Dr. Kazin served as Professor of History at the American University. In 1996, he served as John Adams Chair in American Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He has also lectured in Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, and Russia as well as throughout the United States.

Dr. David Steigerwald

Dr. David Steigerwald is Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He teaches courses in Twentieth Century America, ranging from World War I through The Sixties. He is the author of Wilsonian Idealism in America and The Sixties and the End of Modern America., and the co-author (with Michael Flamm) of Debating the Sixties: Liberal, Conservative, and Radical Perspectives. Dr. Steigerwald has twice been honored by Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, with the Clio Award for Outstanding Teaching in History. He is a recipient of the university's highest recognition for teaching excellence, the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. In December 2014, Dr. Steigerwald was honored to deliver the fall commencement address at The Ohio State University.

Sheryl (Sherry) 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 copy editor and bureau chief at the Canton (Ohio) Repository. In 2009, she was named manager of the Harding Presidential Site after eight years as coordinator of the site's education programs. Ms. Hall is the author of Warren G. Harding and the Marion Daily Star: How Newspapering Shaped a President.

Dr. Andrew Huebner

Dr. Andrew Huebner is Professor of History at the University of Alabama, where he specializes in United States History and Military and Naval History. His research interests are focused on 20th century Social and Political History and War and American Culture. His current project (in manuscript) is titled, Love and Death in the Great War. Dr. Huebner’s keynote remarks will focus on how World War I dramatically changed the culture of our country.

Click here to register.


Download the registration form here.

Registration will close July 8.

Click here to open a Word document of the schedule of events.

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.

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