Lincoln and Speed lived together, shared a bed in their youth and maintained a lifelong friendship.
Romantic friendship between women in Europe and North America became especially prevalent in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the simultaneous emergence of female education and a new rhetoric of sexual difference.
The study of historical romantic friendship is difficult because the primary source material consists of writing about love relationships, which typically took the form of love letters, poems, or philosophical essays rather than objective studies.
Lesbian-feminist historian Lillian Faderman cites Montaigne, using "On Friendship" as evidence that romantic friendship was distinct from homosexuality, since the former could be extolled by famous and respected writers, who simultaneously disparaged homosexuality.(The quotation also furthers Faderman's beliefs that gender and sexuality are socially constructed, since they indicate that each sex has been thought of as "better" at intense friendship in one or another period of history.) but which was most likely to have been a romantic friendship.