Butt & Millet


Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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I have read that Major Archibald Butt and the artist Francis Millet lived together in Washington a lot of the time. I know that Millet had a wife in some other place but did his co-habitation with Butt mean they had more than a friendly relationship?
 

Sarah Smith

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To quote Wikipedia:

==
Some speculation exists that Butt was a homosexual. Historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony has written that Taft's explanation [that Butt loved his mother so much that he never had room in his life for another woman] only "vaguely addressed" the real reason Butt [didn't] marry.[65] [Richard] Davenport-Hines, however, believes Butt and Millet were gay lovers. He wrote in 2012:[25]

"The enduring partnership of Butt and Millet was an early case of "Don't ask, don't tell." Washington insiders tried not to focus too closely on the men's relationship, but they recognized their mutual affection. And they were together in death as in life."

Historian James Gifford tentatively agrees. He points out that there is clear documentary evidence that Millet had at least one homosexual affair previously in his life (with the American writer Charles Warren Stoddard).[67] But any conclusion, Gifford says, must remain tentative:[68]

"Of course there is no conclusive evidence that Archibald Butt was gay, and I find it highly unlikely, given Archie's careful self-image control, that he ever committed to paper any overt thoughts of such a nature. He was too canny an individual for that, too conscious of the risk in military and political ranks, where such an idea would have put a quick end to any hopes of advancement. So I can only suggest that my research results in an "impression" that he was homosexual."

==

Millet was married and had three children, but, when he was in Washington, regularly lived with Butt.

There are many examples of this kind of "not proven" relationship in the period. Homosexual relationships were then illegal, so there was every reason for people to put another construction on such relationships.
 

Forb37093

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Jun 24, 2015
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Dear Arun and Sarah,

I've read with attention your two posts and I was wondering if one of my favourite Titanic 1st class passengers could have been a homosexual too. I am talking about Algernon Henry Wilson Barkworth who occupied stateroom A-23 and survived on collapsible B. Indeed, reading his ET biography I was surprised to notice "he was never married, some family indicating that he was not of that persuasion".

Any clue about this ?

Sincerely.

Damien
 

Arun Vajpey

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I confess that I have read very little about that particular passenger but those words from his family might suggest that he was gay.
 

PRR5406

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The stigma of homosexuality in 1912 was beyond comprehension in the modern world. Of course it existed, but people were being executed in western Europe for the "crime" of homosexual behavior in those days. If you were in the military, it would have to have been far worse. The only way to live in public was to be " a man's man", devoted to obligations of family and career. Some males who knew their orientation was as such, actually believe they deserved a horrible death because of their mind set.
Major Butt, being a confidant of Pres. Roosevelt, would have to have embraced that "more than just masculine" role to enjoy that company and respect.
I haven't enlightened the topic by much, but perhaps placed it in context.
 

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