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Carstairs, Marion Barbara "Joe" (1900-1993)  
page: 1  2  3  

But Carstairs preferred action to reflection. She presided over her island until age and declining health interfered. She sold it in 1975 and retired to Florida. She traveled frequently to New York and kept up a social life, but in her final years it was Wadley who provided her chief source of comfort.

Carstairs died on December 18, 1993 in Florida, aged 93. She was cremated with her worn and cherished companion. Their ashes and those of Ruth Baldwin were finally deposited together on Long Island.

Prankishly flamboyant, Carstairs' dress and self-presentation were masculine more often than not; according to Summerscale, she exercised to ward off womanliness.

Carstairs constructed a self-narrative of embellished half truths and contradictions. Her passion for women was prodigious, yet--measuring herself against male standards--she did not consider herself promiscuous.

She required her Whale Cay workers to adhere to moral values that she did not apply to herself or her friends. But she was notably generous, financially supporting Bardie Coleclough, her boat mechanic Joe Harris, and several former girlfriends and Bahamian employees long after their formal relationships had ended.

Larger than life even by today's standards, Joe Carstairs was one of a kind.

Ruth M. Pettis

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Castle, Terry. "If Everybody Had a Wadley." London Review of Books 20.5 (March 5, 1998): 10-12.

Cromwell, Leta Clews, and Patricia MacManus. "Island Queen." Saturday Evening Post 213.34 (February 22, 1941): 9-11, 113-116.

Hughes, Carolyn T. "No Ordinary Joe." New York Times Book Review (May 17, 1998): 33.

Lennox, Strong. "Her Own Private World." The Ladder 12.2 (January 1968): 10-14.

Scherman, David (photographer). "Betty Carstairs' Island: Racing Queen Rules Her Private Bahama." Life 10.7 (February 17, 1941): 66-71.

Summerscale, Kate. Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of "Joe" Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Earth. New York: Viking, 1998.


    Citation Information
    Author: Pettis, Ruth M.  
    Entry Title: Carstairs, Marion Barbara "Joe"  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2012  
    Date Last Updated September 28, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2012 glbtq, Inc.  


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