WWW- In the just-published “The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln” (Free Press, $27) clinical psychologist C.A. Tripp claims our 16th President was homosexual. The fact is, there has been talk in academic circles for some time that Lincoln was light in his size-14 shoes. And Tripp, a close associate of Alfred C. Kinsey, is being championed by supporters as bringing a unique skill set to the analysis.
There are critics, too, of course.
Philip Nobile, who quit the book as co-author, contends that Tripp, who died shortly after completing the manuscript, fabricated evidence.
Others find Tripp’s “evidence” to be circumstantial and insistently point out that back in Lincoln’s day, men routinely shared a bed.
What follows are Tripp’s claims and possible refutations. You be the judge. Was Abe gay? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Lincoln was gay … or not.
GAY: In 1862, a bodyguard who joined Lincoln at the President’s summer retreat would sleep in his bed when Mrs. Lincoln was away. He even borrowed a nightshirt from time to time.
NOT: The man was a sufficiently loving husband to father nine children and obviously didn’t like to sleep in the nude.
GAY: Lincoln bore a grudge against both men, meant to insult them and found a way to do so. The two men were also brothers, though Tripp doesn’t run with the shocking incest angle. Lincoln embarrassed an old friend at a White House dinner, recalling how he used to drill Abe in grammar long ago. Tripp claims the lessons ended in bed, hence Billy Greene’s silence.
NOT: Actually, Billy Greene knew little grammar and quite possibly was afraid to say anything.
GAY: Billy Greene and Lincoln shared a short cot from time to time. Tripp contends that at 6 feet 4, Lincoln was forced to sleep jackknifed, a position promoting sexual intimacy.
NOT: Or, he dangled his legs off the end of the bed.
GAY: Lincoln shared a room and a bed for four years with his friend Joshua Speed after arriving in Springfield, Ill., in 1841.
NOT: Lincoln couldn’t afford his own place, and Tripp fails to mention Speed’s two male clerks also shared the quarters. Some would call that a dormitory.
GAY: Lincoln agreed to marry a sister of a friend, but when she made a return visit after a three-year absence, Tripp notes Abe lacked a certain “heterosexual enthusiasm.”
NOT: She came back fat, or as Lincoln wrote, “nothing could have commenced at the size of infancy, and reached her present bulk in less than thirty-five or forty years.”
GAY: Tripp writes that once you subtract “persons known to be either homosexual or Jewish” from any list of 10 geniuses, “very few, if any, will remain.”
NOT: Lincoln was a genius. Lincoln was not Jewish. Ergo…!!!???
GAY: Lincoln’s marriage was unhappy in part because Mary Todd felt “she was getting less than what Lincoln had to offer.”
NOT: Some historians claim Mary Todd physically abused Lincoln, striking him with firewood and chasing him with a knife. Seems possible that Mary Todd was the reason the marriage was unhappy.