Historian: Lincoln gay claim a hoax

Dec. 31, 2009 at 4:43 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A prominent Abraham Lincoln historian in New York says an activist who claims the 16th president was gay admitted to him the story was fabricated.

Harold Holzer, who has written 35 books about Lincoln and the Civil War, said playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer admitted to him he fabricated his much-publicized claims that a diary and letters discovered in an old Lincoln home confirmed a homosexual relationship with his roommate, Joshua Speed, the New York Post reported Thursday.

"I had a private conversation with him (Kramer). He admitted to me that he made the whole thing up. He said he made it up to raise consciousness," Holzer, who was co-chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission this year, told the Post.

"That he is reviving this hoax is a little bizarre," Holzer said. "For half his life, Lincoln shared his bed with other guys. It was the custom. People didn't have so many beds."

The Post said Kramer, who also has claimed President George Washington, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were gay, couldn't be reached for comment.

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