The Warren G. Harding–Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence: A tangled tale of ownership rights, romance, and archival ethics
On July 22, 2014, the Library of Congress opened the Warren G. Harding-Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence. The papers, which had been closed for fifty years, include almost one thousand pages of love letters between Harding and Carrie Phillips, the wife of a good friend of Harding from his home town of Marion, Ohio. Their affair lasted 15 years, ending the year Harding became president. Carrie Phillips kept her letters from Harding secret, hidden in a box in her home in Marion, Ohio. When her health failed in 1956, she was admitted to a nursing home. A lawyer, appointed as her guardian, discovered the letters in 1956 and took them home and kept them, even after her death in 1960. The presentation will tell the tale of how this manuscript collection followed a crooked path that finally led to the Library of Congress as well as provide an overview of the contents of the papers.
Host: Brian Kathenes
Guest: Karen Linn Femia, Archivist (Library of Congress)
Original Date: October 3, 2022 – 8PM EST
About Karen Linn Femia
Karen Linn Femia, the archivist for the Harding-Phillips papers, has been a processing archivist in the Preparation Section of the Manuscript Division since 1991. [Previous to that she earned a PhD in ethnomusicology from Brown University, received a fellowship at the Smithsonian, and then took a contract position as an archivist working on music collections at the American History Museum, starting her on the path to a career in archives.