Thursday, April 12, 2018

President Harding was wild about Harry

Houdini's encounters with Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson are well recorded, but for some reason Houdini's meeting with President Warren G. Harding gets sidelined. This is a shame because it's the only meeting that actually took place inside the White House. Harry and Bess met Harding on January 11, 1922, as can be read in this article from The Baltimore Sun.

It certainly sounds like Harding (Hardeen?) was a genuine Houdini fan. And the feeling seems to have been mutual. The only vote Houdini is ever said to have cast was for Harding in the 1920 presidential election.

The day after this meeting, Houdini performed a suspended straitjacket escape from the Riggs Building at 15th and G Streets in Washington D.C. One expects super-fan Harding didn't miss that performance either.




  1. Harding can speak from the dead but HH can't? Must be something in the water here in San Francisco. Harry should have traveled to the west coast one more time.

    1. Haha. Presidents just can't stay off Twitter!

  2. I love the juxtaposition of photographs above (Harding "mirroring" Houdini's pose!) Very interesting article as I never envisioned Houdini and Bess inside the White House. Then again, what high-ranking politician wouldn't admire someone who could "defy every conceivable sort of restraining impedimenta"?!

    1. Thanks. I was struggling to find an image for this post, and was happy when I came up with that. :)

      Houdini visited the White House again on May 19, 1926 when he met with Everett Sanders, secretary of President Coolidge. You can see a pic of HH outside the WH HERE.

    2. Fantastic - thanks for the link to that post, John. I try to go through past posts whenever I can; clearly there's still much I need to catch up on! Thanks, as always, for your help.


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