The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln Summary

C. A. Tripp

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

C. A. Tripp received much of his psycho-sexual training from Alfred Kinsey at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. He devoted his last twenty years to researching and writing The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, completing it two weeks before his death. The study, invading sacrosanct territory, marks a major addition to Lincoln research. Its circumstantial arguments suggesting that Lincoln had strong homosexual tendencies will necessarily impinge on future scholars’ considerations of the sixteenth president.

Tripp’s work presents probabilities, not certainties. His exhaustive research suggests Lincoln’s latent homosexuality. Tripp also speculates on possible overt sexual liaisons between Lincoln and such friends and associates as Billy Greene, Joshua Speed, and his White House bodyguard, David Derickson, with whom Lincoln shared his bed whenever Mrs. Lincoln was away. For four years, he shared with Joshua Speed a bed so narrow that flesh- to-flesh contact was inevitable.

Tripp debunks the folk legend that Lincoln was in love with Ann Rutledge and never recovered from her death at sixteen. Ann Rutledge was engaged to one of Lincoln’s close friends, John McNamar, during her final two years. Lincoln consistently avoided eligible women, favoring platonic friendships with women who were inaccessible because they were either married or engaged. His marriage to Mary Todd at thirty-three was an unfortunate union that he tried assiduously to forestall.

Lincoln experienced a growth spurt and probably reached puberty before age ten. Tripp endorses Kinsey’s theory that men reaching puberty early become more sexually active than men who mature later. They incline more toward homosexuality or bisexuality than those who reach puberty later. Employing Kinsey’s scale of sexuality—zero indicates exclusively heterosexual and six exclusively homosexual—Tripp assigns Lincoln a five.