This essays demonstrates that relationships between men at Yale College in the nineteenth century were largely the product of the environment in which they occurred. The atmosphere on campus was such that intense intimacy between men was not an anomaly or a perversion, but rather a culmination of the deep bonds forged among all students. Behavior that in another time and place would have aroused suspicion was perfectly acceptable on campus grounds. The elite background of the students, the fact that the school was predominantly Christian, the nature of the college as an all-boys institution, the pressure on the students to succeed, and even the simple fact that it was the nineteenth century – all these factors created an environment where intimacy between youthful men flourished. After surveying the secondary literature on friendships between men, this essay examines the diaries kept by Albert Dodd (class of 1838) and Edward Sheffield (class of 1859) during their time at Yale. Though very different in temperament, both men rooted themselves in their close relationships with other Yale students.
Busick, Matthew, "Becoming a Yale Man: Intimacy among Yale Students in the Nineteenth Century" (2007). MSSA Kaplan Prize for Yale History. Paper 6.