At the White House site there is a slide show of the 44 presidents with brief biographies of each.
I was looking through the pictures, noticing things like when the first photos were taken, wondering why some of the paintings (or photos of paintings) are in black and white, wondering why they don't mention that James Buchanan, the 15th President, was gay.
What? Yes, gay. And it seemed pretty out in the open at the time.
In this book, Lies Across America, James Loewen disputes several things that we are taught in school, or brings up things that are true, but that are ignored.
One thing Loewen reveals is that at Wheaton, the historical home of President James Buchanan, his sexuality is denied. Buchanan was gay, and was partnered with Alabama Senator Rufus King for years. Read about it here . That link came from this post on Birmingham Blues about Tom Parker.
King was referred to as "Miss Nancy" and "Aunt Fancy." I can see that. Check him out.
While there are other writings that suggest Buchanan was gay, I like these snippets from the book.
When King was leaving for France in 1844 after being appointed Minister, he wrote to Buchanan,"I am selfish enough to hope that you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation."
And then Buchanan wrote to a Mrs. Roosevelt, "I am now 'solitary and alone', having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection."
Of course the concept of "gay" or having different sexual orientations was not known at the time, and there were no organized anti-gay groups to rally against them. The D. C. elite seemed to take it in stride, using such terms as "better half" and "his wife" in referring to King in relation to Buchanan.
And Buchanan had other things to worry about as president. He certainly left a mess for his successor, Abraham Lincoln, (who, we now know, was bisexual) to deal with.