Preface

The footnotes from The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln have been made available here with expanded context drawn directly from the primary and secondary source materials used in writing the book. The footnotes correspond to both the direct quotations found in the book and Dr. Tripp's own observations.

It is our hope that the additional context provided here will help readers appreciate Dr. Tripp's research, as well as provide an additional insight into the private life of Abraham Lincoln.

Note: The notes that begin with "From the text" come directly from the body of The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln.


  1. James (Jim) Kepner's writings up to 1971 are housed in the ONE, Inc., archives at the University of Southern California, and are summarized in From the Closet of History, privately published by Kepner in 1984.

  2. Author's note: The Sandburg reference to the homosexuality of Lincoln and Speed was in his 1926 edition of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years; the homosexual reference to Lincoln, but not that of Speed, was removed by Sanburg from his 1954 abridged edition. Yet the abridged edition was the only one sighted by Kepner-and all his copiers, thus giving themselves away.

    At least one article, apparently independent of Kepner, was "Lincoln's Other Love," by Dennis Doty Chicago Gay Crusader; 26 (April 1976). It is based on excerpts from the Lincoln/Speed letters in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

  1. More specific and more useful to modern scholars than Doris Faber's book is a later compilation by Roger Streitmatter: Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Elanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok.

  2. From Tripp : For example, "Lincoln's sexual imagination is tinged with asshole images." Shively, Charles, ed., Drum Beats: Walt Witman's Civil War Boy Lovers, 81. Even if a more polite "anal image" had been used, the quote would still have retained one fairly serious error, namely, the implication that anal was somehow Lincoln's personal emphasis. But the fact is, for reasons still not fully understood, nearly all sexual ribaldry has an anal emphasis (see Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker, Satan's Silence, x).

  3. Donald, Lincoln, 55.

    From Tripp : "To fit the reality, his heterosexual side needs a careful, much more conservative recasting - one that honors facts such as his lifelong discomfort in intimate contacts with eligible women."

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  4. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, vol. 1, xii.

"Going farther month by month in stacks and bundles of fact and legend, I found invisible companions that surprised me. Perhaps a few of these presences lurk and murmer in this book."

  1. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, vol. 1, 264.

Compare this passage with the 1954 abridged edition of the book. In that instance, Chapter 5 opens with the severely truncated, "Joshua Speed, deep-chested, broad between the ears, had spots soft as May violets. And he and Abraham Lincoln told each other their secrets about women. 'I do not feel my own sorrows much more keenly than I do yours,' Lincoln wrote Speed in one letter. And again: 'You know my desire to befriend you is everlasting.' It was this elision that caused James Kepner-and all those who followed him-such confusion. (See footnote number 1 in the Preface.)

  1. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, vol. 1, 266.

"Their births, the loins and tissues of their fathers and mothers, accident, fate, providence, had given these two men streaks of lavender, spots soft as May violets."

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  1. Kincaid, Joshua Fry Speed: Lincoln's Most Intimate Friend, 12-14.

"Speed saw in Lincoln the rough-hewn product of the frontier…[and] in Joshua Fry Speed, Abraham Lincoln saw a youth who was truly a 'gentleman to the manor born'…their kindred hopes and ambitions fused into a unity and understanding which was never broken…They went to parties together; they attended debating clubs and political forums; they occasionally took rides into the country."

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All rights reserved. Copyright Estate of C.A. Tripp 2005