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social sciences

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Rhodes, Cecil (1853-1902)  
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When Pickering developed a severe infection after a riding accident in 1884, Rhodes nursed him through the crisis. Pickering's health remained fragile, however.

Rhodes was at one of his gold fields in 1886 when word reached him that Pickering was near death. Unable to get a seat in a coach, Rhodes made the fifteen-hour, 300-mile journey home riding on mailbags on top of the vehicle.

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Completely indifferent to pressing business matters, Rhodes remained steadfastly at Pickering's side for several weeks until his beloved friend died in his arms.

Those in attendance at Pickering's funeral were shocked by the normally staid Rhodes' unrestrained display of grief. From that day forward Rhodes never again set foot in the house that he and Pickering had happily shared.

Rhodes later shared similar--if somewhat less intense--friendships with other younger men. Among these were his secretaries Harry Currey and Philip Jourdan. When Currey announced his intention to marry, Rhodes broke off their friendship.

Since neither Rhodes nor any of the men with whom he was associated left accounts of their personal relationships, it is impossible to say how Rhodes would have identified himself. It is not clear whether Rhodes' intense emotional relationships with men were physically consummated. As Robert Aldrich observes, "The bonds between Rhodes and his protégés may have been fully fledged sexual unions, unconsummated love or romantic friendships."

Rotberg speculates that Rhodes was "at least an emotional if not a practicing homosexual." Certainly, many people who were acquainted with him, such as Mrs. Hay, believed Rhodes to be in his romantic attachments.

Linda Rapp

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Aldrich, Robert. "Rhodes, Cecil." Who's Who in Gay & Lesbian History from Antiquity to World War II. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. 370-71.

Roberts, Brian. Cecil Rhodes: Flawed Colossus. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1987.

Rotberg, Robert I. The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Timmons, Stuart. The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1990.

Williams, Basil. Cecil Rhodes. London: Constable and Company, 1938.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Rhodes, Cecil  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 14, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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