|Title||Florence Mabel Kling (DeWolfe) Harding|
|Collection||First Lady Dolls|
Florence Mabel Kling (1860-1924)
Wife of Warren G. Harding - served as First Lady from 1921-1923.
Florence was of medium height with brown hair and blue eyes. At age 19, Florence eloped with Henry Atherton DeWolfe in March 1880. There were no records to confirm this marriage and family lore had it the young couple ran off. This was considered to be a common law reunion. Henry DeWolfe abandoned Florence and their son on December 22, 1882. She filed for divorce on May 5, 1886 and it was granted on grounds of "gross neglect of duty" on June 12, 1886.
Refusing to live at home, she rented a room and gave piano lessons. Florence was 30 years old when she married a second time, to Warren Gameliel Harding, on July 8, 1891 in Marion, Ohio.
She became the business manager of the "Marion Star" newspaper from 1894 to 1906. She was instrumental in creating a circulation department and initiated a delivery system that increased circulation and profits. She also subscribed to a news wire service that proved to be a turning point in the paper's financial success, bringing global news to the county within hours of it happening.
On February 24, 1905, Florence Harding underwent emergency surgery for nephritis, a kidney ailment that forever afflicted her.
Florence Harding became First Lady at the age of 60 years, on March 4, 1921. Upon their arrival at the White House, Florence was widely reported to say, "Well, Warren Harding, I got you the Presidency. Now what are you going to do?" She ordered that the White House windows and gates be opened to the public so they could look in, a symbol of the folksy neighborliness promised by the new Administration.
Florence Harding was very anxious to help the women of the country to understand their government. She broke an unwritten social code and invited divorced women to social events. While she did not publicly address the issue of birth control, she refused to condemn the movement for it. Her work on behalf of World War I wounded veterans was as personal to her as it was political.
She was the first First Lady to provide feature movies as entertainment following state dinners, accompanied by a live orchestra.
The Hardings took a combined vacation and business trip to the Midwest, West and Alaska. Shortly after the President sampled some seafood he fell ill. President Harding died on August 2, 1923 of an apparent heart attack.
On August 17, 1923 Florence Harding left the White House. Florence Harding died on November 21, 1924 at the age of 64. Even in her last weeks, Florence remained politically active.
|Event||Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project|
|Creator||Park, Phyllis Juhlin|
|Costume||Costume by Vivian Baucum Voorhies|
|Given||Given by the A.P. Voorhies family in honor of Ellen M. Voorhies Keay|
|Source||Uintah County Library|