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Waiting for President Harding: 1922

Waiting for President Harding: 1922

Little Miss Tarkington, the daughter of Mrs. W. Tarkington Jr., sits on the steps of the White House patiently waiting to snap a picture of President Warren G. Harding on June 29, 1922. From the National Photo Company collection. View full size.

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"Chillaxing" isn't actual

"Chillaxing" isn't actual hip-hop slang. Please don't use it in conversation. It won't go well.

She's not carrying cranberries

The difference between Little Miss Tarkington and the kids her age who are out working in the fields is amazing.

Ole Warren

President Harding was known for knocking back a drink or two, and indeed Little Miss Tarkington may have been forced to wait a while for Warren Gamaliel to sober up. Another possibility: Harding was known for dallying with women to whom he was not legally married, ahem, throughout his married life and yes, carrying on even while resident in the White House. Who knows for sure what Harding was up to while our little photographer was forced to cool her heels?

And how did Mrs. Harding view her husband's dalliances? Harding biographers indicate she was not entirely pleased with his extracurricular activities (duh), but may have suffered them considering the high political office Warren had achieved (gained partly by her behind-the-scenes machinations) and the benefit it brought her. Some believe she seethed inwardly, however, suffering deep humiliation.

Interestingly, President and Mrs. Harding visited Alaska in 1923 (the first U.S. president to do so), traveling as far north as Nenana in this railroad car, to mark the completion of the first railroad in Alaska. At some point on the return trip south, Harding fell ill and died upon arrival in San Francisco. No autopsy was performed, on Mrs. Harding’s orders, and the cause of death has usually been assumed to be a stroke or a heart attack. Conspiracy theorists still believe she (perhaps with others) worked to poison ole Warren: as payback for his dalliances, the general corruption of his administration (and the resulting embarrassment for all), or just for pure spite against a philandering husband.

I hope Little Miss Tarkington got her photo!

Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska


I've heard an anecdote about an Army officer driving an open roadster in DC about 1940 or so. He was near the White House when it started to rain, so he drove under the portico on the north side to put his top up. It was frowned upon, but nothing came of it. I should be able to Google that story.


Lazlo, I had to look up "chillaxing" and found a definition (a blend of chilling and relaxing - hip-hop slang). What a great word!

in 1922

Really? You mean that in 1922 you or me could just have marched up to the White House and sat down on the steps to wait for the President of the United States to come outside? Amazing.

True historical value

I think this photography may be the first documented act of "chillaxing".

If She Succeeded...

Do you suppose that photo will eventually wind up on this website?

We're Waiting...

She might be waiting a while. Warren G. might be sleeping off a big hangover...

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