Thursday, June 09, 2005

Abraham Lincoln

"The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln", By C. A. Tripp, edited by Lewis Gannett, refers to Lincoln's sexual interest in males.

Trip argues that Lincoln's relationships with women were not deep.

In 1831, when he was 22, Lincoln moved to New Salem, Illinois, and met Billy Greene. Lincoln shared a bed with Greene.

Greene said of Lincoln's body: ''His thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.''

When Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois, he became close friends with Joshua Speed, a young store owner. Earlier biographers, Nicolay and Hay, described Speed as the only intimate friend that Lincoln ever had.

Lincoln and Speed shared a double bed in Speed's store for four years.

Some of Lincoln's letters to Speed are signed ''Yours forever.''

In 1836 Lincoln began courting Mary Owens. In 1837 Owens ended the relationship.

Lincoln wrote: ''I knew she was oversize, but now she appeared a fair match for Falstaff.''

In 1842, Lincoln married Mary Todd and they had 4 children. Tripp suggests Mary had a psychopathic personality. With Mary, Lincoln was 'remote' and 'unavailable'. Lincoln is reported to have been terrified of the idea of marrying Mary.

When Lincoln became president, he met Col. Elmer Ellsworth described by Lincoln as ''the greatest little man I ever met.''

Lincoln brought Ellsworth into his Springfield lawoffice and then made him part of his presidential campaign. As war approached, Ellsworth was given a top military post. When Ellsworth was killed, Lincoln was deeply upset.

In 1862-3, Capt. David Derickson was one of Lincoln's bodyguards in DC. According to Derickson's regiment's history, Derickson ''advanced so far in the president's confidence and esteem that in Mrs. Lincoln's absence he frequently spent the night at his cottage, sleeping in the same bed with him, and - it is said - making use of his Excellency's night shirt!''

Early biographers of Lincoln, such as Carl Sandburg, wondered about Lincoln's homosexuality.

Sandburg wrote: "Month by month in stacks and bundles of fact and legend, I found invisible companionships that surprised me. Perhaps a few of these presences lurk and murmur in this book."

Sandburg wrote that Lincoln and Joshua Speed had "streaks of lavender, spots soft as May violets."

Lincoln's stepmother said of Lincoln: "He was not very fond of girls, as he seemed to me."

Lincoln's fellow lawyer Henry C. Whitney observed once that Lincoln "wooed me to close intimacy and familiarity."

Lincoln produced a humorous ballad in 1829:

But Biley has married a boy
The girles he had tried on every Side
But none could he get to agree
All was in vain he went home again
And sens that he is married to natty.

In 1990, the American Historical Association presented a panel on "Gay American Presidents? — Washington, Buchanan, Lincoln..."

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