The Real Jeb and Dash: The Quest for Carter & Isham


Carter & Isham | Companion Volume 1 | Prologue | Introduction | Photo Journal | Selected Entries | Carter Synoptic Bio | Happy 119th Birthday!, Carter - October 17, 1899 (2018)


 A chronicle, they say, is the detailed historical account of events arranged in order of time without interpretation or analysis. And while the following narrative fits the definition of an orderly historical account, it is not without interpretation or analysis. This account, then, is perhaps more an expedition of personal archeology that attempts to piece together the parts of a puzzle that reveal a snapshot of a person’s story, in order to shed light on it.

The account of a life’s story, as it presents itself here, is made all the more difficult when the person giving the account has no connection to that person’s story beyond a post-mortem reading of his edited, published diaries, which is further complicated by the editor’s use of pseudonyms and her fusion of persons to represent individual characters.

Much of this research was begun in a time (1993) when widespread Internet access to the general public was in its infancy, and easy-to-use graphical web browsers and search engines for use on the World Wide Web were just making it onto the scene, though later the Internet would play a role in the process of discovery. Today, clues turn-up on the Internet with irregular frequency, and with varying degrees of reliability. All non-original material presented herein was extracted from the public domain, garnered from clues contained within the edited diaries.

Because of the fragmented nature of conducting research on hidden clues and composite characters within the diaries, this account is necessarily uneven in its results.  Where facts abound, it treats the entries in more detail; where facts are less certain, the information is more sparse. No attempt has been made to address the unevenness of this account, at present. This is an interim work that is in no sense finished.  

Since I live a good distance from where most of the actual historical events took center stage, much of the research was conducted via distance through regular postal correspondence; a slow, arduous and often frustrating process. Had I lived in the region where the actual events had taken place, this research would necessarily be more detailed and rich. For now, however, I offer what I have here, to those who might be interested, in an effort to bring one man’s story to light.

The book form that I have chosen has practical ramifications for lending itself to revision, as I continue to research and update the history as new evidence comes to light. 

It does occur to me today, a decade beyond the first year in the process of discovery, that the editor may have since deposited the original diaries in some research institution or library,* which would seem to render this account somewhat irrelevant. But upon further reflection, the material contained herein offers additional historical documentation not contained within the diaries themselves, as well as some non-traditional research sources that may be of interest to the genealogical or historical researcher. In addition, it documents some of the events of my own quest.

* In the years since writing the Prologue, Ina Russell, editor Jeb and Dash: Diary Of A Gay Life, 1918 – 1945, has indicated  publicly that the Library of Congress has asked to take possession of Carter’s diaries, and she intends to deposit them there.  “Jeb & Dash: Behind the Diaries” 

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