Keep reading below to learn more about seven of history’s most improbable friendships and the circumstances that led to their formation. And when you’re done, visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/friendship/ to read more about the psychology behind how we choose our friends.
1. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
One of the most renowned friendships in American history, the connection between the second and third presidents was turbulent as well as affectionate. It wasn’t until the Revolutionary War and the Continental Congress in the 1770s that the men first met one another. Adams was a large, neurotic northerner and Jefferson was a thin, gentlemanly southerner, yet the two men quickly became friends and partners in the American independence movement.
In their early years, Jefferson and Adams frequently exchanged letters, but their differing ideas on government led to a rift. During a heated 1800 presidential campaign, the two teams hurled malicious comments and didn’t talk for several years. In 1812, a mutual acquaintance urged Adams to write Jefferson a letter, which he did. Their friendship was reignited and they wrote dozens of letters to each other about philosophy, religion, and politics. On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, two men died within a few hours of each other.
2. Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Hope
Bob Hope entertained 11 presidents during the course of his career. “They’re the best audience, in my opinion.” “he once uttered these words. “Because no one else does, they enjoy it when you smack them around a bit.” Although he had friendships with many of the presidents he mocked, President Eisenhower was the one to whom Hope was closest.
Hope had flown to Algiers, Algeria in 1943 to conduct one of many United Service Organization shows. They met there and became fast friends. The then-U.S. Army General Eisenhower sought to meet with Hope and his fellow comedians, and the two got along like fish in a barrel. A breath of fresh air it was to see General Eisenhower in the middle of that dreadful muddle: “Later, the comedian recollected. “Everyone was able to relax and come back to their senses after the experience.
Eisenhower and Hope kept in touch long after he became president in 1953, playing golf together and exchanging several letters. Dolores, Hope’s wife, even served as Chairman Emeritus of the Eisenhower Medical Center’s board in addition to volunteering her time.
3. T. S. Eliot and Groucho Marx
One was a Nobel Prize-winning poet known for his difficult, melancholy poetry like “The Waste Land,” and the other was a tobacco comedian known for his raunchy comedy. Nevertheless, during the course of a three-year pen pal relationship, T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx developed a strange bond. In 1961, Marx sent a letter to Eliot requesting a signed photograph from a fan. Eliot’s friendship with Marx began when Marx complied with his request for a photograph of the poet, and it continued until the poet’s death in 1964.
The two men formed a close friendship based on their mutual admiration for each other and their common love of literature, but their letters frequently underlined their differences. When Eliot addressed the “Animal Crackers” star as “Groucho,” he even apologized for doing so. “I would like to read your thoughts on sex, therefore don’t hesitate,” Marx wrote to one of his shy correspondents, according to the New York Times. Tom, you can rely on me. In 1964, the men finally met in person when they dined at Eliot’s London home alongside their wives.
4. Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla
Mark Twain, a witty writer, and Nikola Tesla, a brilliant inventor, became friends via their mutual intellectual interests. A friendship between Twain and Tesla grew out of a chance encounter on the social scene in New York City in the 1890s. The novelist was amazed by Tesla’s displays of high voltage electricity and early x-ray photography during the several hours they spent in this workshop of technological oddities.
Tesla and Twain’s admiration for each other was so profound that each claimed the other had once healed him of an ailment. Tesla stated in his autobiography that Mark Twain’s “captivating” novels provided him with much-needed comfort while he was sick as a young man and helped jump-start his recuperation. When the two became friends, Tesla returned the favor by making the writer stand on a high-frequency oscillator to alleviate his chronic constipation.