Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life 1918-1945

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9780571198474: Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life 1918-1945

It occurred to me today with something of a shock how horrible it would be for this diary of mine to be pawed over and read unsympathetically after I am dead, by those incapable of understanding... And then the thought of the one thing even more dreadful and terrible than that - for my diary never to be read by the one person who would or could understand. For I do want it to be read - there is no use concealing the fact - by somebody who is like me, who would understand.
Jeb Alexander was a gay man who lived in Washington, D.C., during the first half of the twentieth century. From 1918, when he was nineteen years old, until the late 1950s, he chronicled his daily life engagingly and unsparingly, leaving behind a unique record of ordinary gay life before Stonewall, a history that has remained largely hidden until now.
Jeb came of age as the century did, witnessing and recording political and social change from the position of insider as an editor for the U.S. Government and outsider as a gay man. Painfully shy, and frustrated in his ambition to be a novelist by writer's block, Jeb turned to his diary as a way of expressing himself as well as recording events, creating a full emotional self-portrait and unforgettable sketches of the men who made up his lively circle of friends.
Jeb and Dash also details the joy and anguish of an extraordinary on-and-off love affair between Jeb and C. C. Dasham (Dash), whom he met in college and with whom he remained friends throughout his life.
A rare and important historical document, a beautifully written memoir, a love story, an ode to old Washington, D.C., Jeb and Dash is a remarkable find and an enduring literary achievement.

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From Library Journal:

In 1965 Ina Russell inherited 50 volumes of diaries in a fireproof cabinet from her uncle Jeb Alexander (pseudonym). Unbeknownst to her was the treasure trove of American gay history they would yield. Upon reading the eloquently written memoirs, she discovered her uncle's tempestuous love affair with C.C. Dash Dasham (pseudonym) and life as a gay government employee in Washington. Russell winnowed the volumes into an engrossing narrative of gay life from 1918 to 1945. Reading Jeb's diaries is to walk beside him and relive the sights, sounds, and smells of the Roaring Twenties, Depression, and World War II. A door has been opened here to view gay life firsthand in bygone eras. In 1923 Jeb wrote prophetically concerning his diary, "I do want it to be read--there is no use in concealing the fact--by somebody who is like me, who would understand." A superlative insight into early 20th-century gay history.
- Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

The torment and loneliness of homosexuality in a more repressive era is palpably evoked in this intense diary of Jeb Alexander (1899-1965), the pseudonym for Russell's uncle. Jeb, who was an editor in a government office in Washington, D.C., bequeathed to Russell 50 volumes of diaries from which she distilled this selection. Extending from the WW I armistice to the stock market crash to the defeat of fascism, this gracefully written diary includes myriad impressions of topical events and people like Will Rogers, Pola Negri, Thornton Wilder, Charles Lindbergh and others. But the unifying thread is Jeb's love affairs, including his long time relationship with C. C. Dasham, a state department employee. Readers are privy to Jeb's fears that he may be under police surveillance as a suspected "deviant" criminal, and to his distress over an unsympathetic society that allows him little happiness or peace of mind. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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