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1327201

Harry M. Daugherty

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The Attorney General cooperates with President Harding’s widow

for an official biography of the President

Harry Micajah Daugherty, 1860-1941.  Attorney General of the United States, 1921-1924.  Typed Letter Signed, H. M. Daugherty, one page, 7” x 9”, on blind-embossed stationery of The Attorney General, Washington, [D.C.], October 18, 1923. 

Daugherty writes to Harding biographer Joe Mitchell Chapple (whose name Daugherty misspells) regarding his discussion with Harding’s widow, Florence Kling Harding, about her plans for Harding’s “official” biography.  In part:  “When I visited Mrs. Harding last week, she talked over with me the matter of her late husband’s biography, and requested me to make an announcement regarding the matter, which no doubt you have observed in the newspapers.  I have agreed to give her the benefit of any information I have, and there is much of it, whenever she requests it for use in preparing what she shall consider the official biography of the late President.” 

Ironically, although Daugherty points out that he has “much” information for a biographer to use, Mrs. Harding stymied historians by burning most all of Harding’s papers when she had the chance.

Chapple (1867-1950) wrote Warren G. Harding—The Man, which he published in 1920 as Harding sought the presidency. He wrote that Harding was recognized as “a man among men” and said that the “qualities of Harding that impress the people are honesty, tact, firmness, lack of pretense.  He knows human nature and the plain people.”  He praised Harding for his “competnce which all Americans are entitled to hope for.”  Writing of Hardingʼs “superb qualities of manhood,” Chapple emphasized:  “All America loves a man—no matter under what party banner he may enlist.”  His assessment rings hollow in light of Harding’s womanizing, which allegedly produced an illegitimate daughter, and in light of the Teapot Dome affair and other scandals, some of which came to light only after Harding’s unexpected death in 1923. 

Daugherty himself was forced to resign from the Cabinet in 1924 under charges of corruption.  He was indicted for improperly receiving assets that had been seized during World War I, was tried twice, and ultimately was acquitted when one juror refused to vote to convict him.

Daugherty has signed this letter with a beautiful, large 3” black fountain pen signature.  The letter has one normal mailing fold, not affecting the signature, staple holes at the upper left, slight chipping on the lower left edge, and an apparent date received stamp next to the typewritten date in the blank upper left area.  Overall the letter is fine to very fine. 

Unframed. 

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