First, DNA testing confirmed Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with his slave Sally Hemings.
Now it’s rewriting another chapter in US presidential history, this one from the Roaring ’20s.
Genetic analysis has proved that President Warren G Harding fathered a child out of wedlock with long-rumoured mistress Nan Britton, according to AncestryDNA, a genetic testing firm.
Britton set off a Jazz Age scandal when she went public with her tale of forbidden love in the White House, boldly publishing her story in a 1927 best-selling memoir, The President’s Daughter.
Historians long questioned her claims, and Harding defenders vilified her as a liar for nearly 90 years.
Based on DNA from Britton’s grandson and descendants of Harding, the results are 99.9 per cent certain, Ancestry said.
The findings were first reported on Thursday by The New York Times.
The child born of their union, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was the only known offspring of the 29th president. She died in 2005. Britton died in 1991.
James Blaesing, 65, who grew up hearing the story of his grandfather, the president, from Britton, his grandmother, said he has always wanted to prove she was telling the truth.
He was delighted by the DNA results.
“You know what this is? It’s a love story,” he said of his grandparents.
“It was true love, especially on her side, and I know he felt the same way. And he got trapped.”
Harding was a heartthrob US senator from Ohio when the affair began. The relationship continued when Harding was president, with Britton later writing of how they made love in a White House coat closet. It ended with Harding’s sudden death during his presidency in 1923.