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The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln

Introduction by Jean Baker

The late C. A. Tripp, a highly regarded sex researcher and colleague of Alfred Kinsey, and author of the runaway bestseller The Homosexual Matrix, devoted the last ten years of his life to an exhaustive study of Abraham Lincoln's writings and of scholarship about Lincoln, in search of hidden keys to his character. In The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, completed just weeks before he died, Tripp offers a full examination of Lincoln's inner life and relationships that, as Dr. Jean Baker argues in the Introduction, "will define the issue for years to come." Throughout this riveting work, new details are revealed about Lincoln's relations with a number of men. Long-standing myths are debunked convincingly -- in particular, the myth that Lincoln's one true love was Ann Rutledge, who died tragically young. Ultimately, Tripp argues that Lincoln's unorthodox loves and friendships were tied to his maverick beliefs about religion, slavery, and even ethics and morals. As Tripp argues, Lincoln was an "invert": a man who consistently turned convention on its head, who drew his values not from the dominant conventions of society, but from within.

For years, a whisper campaign has mounted about Abraham Lincoln, focusing on his intimate relationships. He was famously awkward around single women. He was engaged once before Mary Todd, but his fiancée called off the marriage on the grounds that he was "lacking in smaller attentions." His marriage to Mary was troubled. Meanwhile, throughout his adult life, he enjoyed close relationships with a number of men. He shared a bed with oshua Speed for four years as a young man, and -- as Tripp details here -- he shared a bed with an army captain while serving in the White House, when Mrs. Lincoln was away. As one Washington socialite commented in her diary, "What stuff!"

This study reaches far beyond a brief about Lincoln's sexuality: it is an attempt to make sense of the whole man, as never before. It includes an Introduction by Jean Baker, biographer of Mary Todd Lincoln, and an Afterword containing reactions by two Lincoln scholars and one clinical psychologist and longtime acquaintance of C.A. Tripp. As Michael Chesson explains in one of the Afterword essays, "Lincoln was different from other men, and he knew it. More telling, virtually every man who knew him at all well, long before he rose to prominence, recognized it. In fact, the men who claimed to know him best, if honest, usually admitted that they did not understand him." Perhaps only now, when conventions of intimacy are so different, so open, and so much less rigid than in Lincoln's day, can Lincoln be fully understood.

C.A. Tripp passed away in May 2003, just two weeks after completing the manuscript of The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln. A psychologist, therapist, and sex researcher, he worked with Alfred Kinsey in the late 1940s and 1950s before obtaining a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from New York University. He maintained a private practice of psychology for years and taught at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, from 1955 to 1964.

"C.A. Tripp goes farther than any earlier studies to present the greatest amount of evidence and the strongest argument currently available that Lincoln's primary erotic response was that of a homosexual....While Tripp may be wrong in his interpretation of some particulars, he may still be right on the larger question....Tripp deserves credit for a thought-provoking, richly researched, and intelligently argued book that will frame future discussions of our sixteenth president."
-- Jean Baker, from the Introduction

"I found Tripp's conclusions not only convincing but, in the light of his evidence, irrefutable. I suspect it will take at least a century for the icon-dusters to face up to the facts of Lincoln's life or, indeed, any life truly, as Socrates might say, examined."
-- Gore Vidal

"The 'Tall Sucker' was a very strange man, one of the strangest in American history, and certainly the oddest to reach a position of national prominence, let alone the presidency. If Lincoln was a homosexual, or primarily so inclined, then suddenly our image of this mysterious man gains clarity. Not everything falls into place; but many things do, including some important, even essential, elements of who Lincoln was, why he acted in the way that he did, and a possible reason for his sadness, loneliness, and secretive nature. Lincoln was different from other men, and he knew it."
-- Michael Chesson, from the Afterword

"Over the years, a number of writers and scholars have argued that Abraham Lincoln was a homosexual. Tripp, however, objected to the evidence presented by early writers, finding it unconvincing. Tripp's goal was to collect as much information as he could on Lincoln and explore the sixteenth president's sexuality in all its dimensions and complexity. There is much in this book that is provocative and much more that is worthwhile."
-- Tom Schwartz, Illinois State Historian

"Hiding Lincoln's sex life has been an American tradition, but sexuality should never be an embarrassing secret. Dr. Tripp, who learned his research methods from Alfred Kinsey, has brought together amazing data about Lincoln, never before assembled. Finally, the secret can be revealed."
-- George Weinberg, clinical psychologist and author of The Heart of Psychotherapy: A Journey into the Mind and Office of a Therapist at Work