Dr. Frances Keller Harding acquired a familiarity with the medical world at a very young age by accompanying her mother, the first woman surgeon in New Zealand, on house calls and rounds. Her parents, both American doctors, relocated to New Zealand when Harding was an infant.
As an adult, Harding returned to the U.S., and earned a B.S. degree from Walla Walla College in 1926. She married Warren G. Harding II, son of U.S. President Warren Harding, and the two traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she earned her British medical qualification.
The couple later went to Australia, where Harding became active in family planning and medical gynecology, helping to found the first women’s health clinic on the continent. Back in the United States, she served Ohio State University students as a gynecologist and traveled as a clinician to Europe, India and Australia.
Throughout her career, Harding served as president of the American Medical Women’s Association; was author of a number of publications; and an active member of many medical and family-planning organizations, including the National Council of Family Relations, the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health and the American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians Federation. She was a charter member of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States, which serves as a national voice for sexuality education, sexual health and sexual rights.
Harding died in Columbus, Ohio, in 1992.