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Their sisters' keepers [electronic resource] : prostitution in New York City, 1830-1870 /
Marilynn Wood Hill.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1993.
description
xiv, 434 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520078349 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1993.
isbn
0520078349 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8082044
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 403-420) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-11:
With this work, Hill, currently visiting scholar at Harvard-Radcliffe, adds to a growing literature on the interaction of class and gender inequalities that created urban prostitution in the 19th century. Her study complements Christine Stansell's City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 (CH, Apr'87) by including the higher echelons of prostitutes rather than focusing exclusively on streetwalkers. Hill's research is impressive. Compiling lists of prostitutes from police records, brothel guides, reform publications, and newspapers, she has created profiles of these women from census, tax, and House of Refuge records. She has even analyzed letters by prostitutes published in the lurid penny press. Systematically demolishing the common stereotypes of prostitutes, Hill shows that some "fallen" women still had opportunites, had supportive friends, could use the law to protect themselves, and were an integral part of the urban community. A balanced, carefully qualified analysis on a controversial topic, this work should be acquired by libraries collecting in urban history and women's studies. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty. P. F. Field; Ohio University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1993
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Summaries
Long Description
This intimate study of prostitutes in New York City during the mid-nineteenth century reveals these women in an entirely new light. Unlike traditional studies, Marilynn Wood Hill's account of prostitution's positive attractions, as well as its negative aspects, gives a fresh perspective to this much-discussed occupation. Using a wealth of primary source material, from tax and court records to brothel guidebooks and personal correspondence, Hill shows the common concerns prostitutes shared with women outside the "profession." As mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, trapped by circumstances, they sought a way to create a life and work culture for themselves and those they cared about. By the 1830s prostitution in New York was no longer hidden. Though officially outside the law, it was well integrated into the city's urban life. Hill documents the discrimination and legal harassment prostitutes suffered, and shows how they asserted their rights to protect themselves and their property. Although their occupation was frequently degrading and dangerous, it offered economic and social opportunities for many of its practitioners. Women controlled the prostitution business until about 1870, and during this period female employers and their employees often achieved economic goals not generally available to other working women. While examining aspects of prostitution that benefited women, Hill's vivid portrayal also makes evident the hardships that prostitutes endured. What emerges is a fully rounded study that will be welcomed by many readers.
Unpaid Annotation
This intimate study of prostitutes in New York City during the mid-nineteenth century reveals these women in an entirely new light. Unlike traditional studies, Marilynn Wood Hill's account of prostitution's positive attractions, as well as its negative aspects, gives a fresh perspective to this much-discussed occupation.Using a wealth of primary source material, from tax and court records to brothel guidebooks and personal correspondence, Hill shows the common concerns prostitutes shared with women outside the "profession." As mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, trapped by circumstances, they sought a way to create a life and work culture for themselves and those they cared about.By the 1830s prostitution in New York was no longer hidden. Though officially outside the law, it was well integrated into the city's urban life. Hill documents the discrimination and legal harassment prostitutes suffered, and shows how they asserted their rights to protect themselves and their property. Although their occupation was frequently degrading and dangerous, it offered economic and social opportunities for many of its practitioners. Women controlled the prostitution business until about 1870, and during this period female employers and their employees often achieved economic goals not generally available to other working women.While examining aspects of prostitution that benefited women, Hill's vivid portrayal also makes evident the hardships that prostitutes e
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
Nineteenth-Century Prostitution: Profiles and Problems
"The Terrible State of Society and Morals in Unhappy New York": Nineteenth-Century Moralism and the Prostitution Problemp. 9
"A Lady...Whom I Should Never Have Suspected": Personal and Collective Portraits of Prostitutesp. 34
"No Work, No Money, No Home": Choosing Prostitutionp. 63
The Public World of the Prostitute
"Notorious Offenders": Prostitutes and the Lawp. 109
Notorious Defenders: Prostitutes Using the Lawp. 145
"Thronged Thoroughfares" and "Quiet, Home-like Streets": The Urban Geography and Architecture of Prostitutionp. 175
"Upon the Foot-stool of God": Working Conditions of Prostitutesp. 217
The Private World of the Prostitute
Friends and Lovers: Relationships with Menp. 253
"As a Friend and Sister": Relationships with Womenp. 293
Epiloguep. 321
Appendix 1. House of Refuge Collective Intake Profile, 1835p. 327
Appendix 2. Jewett Correspondencep. 331
Notesp. 337
Bibliographyp. 403
Indexp. 421
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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