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Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls: Prostitution in Colorado, 1860-1930 Paperback – October 16, 2007


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Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls: Prostitution in Colorado, 1860-1930 + Upstairs Girls: Prostitution in the American West + Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush: Secret History of the Far North
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826333435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826333438
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"BROTHELS, BORDELLOS, AND BAD GIRLS is a fascinating book because it puts a human face on prostitution. There are stories of Silver Heels, a prostitute who epitomized the 'Whore with the Heart of Gold' and Ella Wellington, who abandoned a husband and two children, and committed suicide after a visit from old friends talking of how happy her ex-husband and children were." - Roundup Magazine "With 15 years of research to her credit, author Jan MacKell gets into the 'whys and wherefores' of prostitution. She wants to find out the background, desires, and expectations of these women (aged anywhere from 15 to 50)." - Cortez (CO) Journal "Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls is an interesting piece of Colorado's popular history and enhances our understanding of some of the social relations that formed within the state's numerous mining communities." - History "There is a huge trove of information in this book, which makes it a real contribution to Colorado history." - Denver Post"

From the Inside Flap

This look at prostitution in Colorado, 1860-1930, uncovers the lives and woes of "working girls" in mining towns such as Cripple Creek.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Profjay on April 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know about Colorado prostitution in the 1800s and early 1900s, this is the book to buy. It is well researched and written and contains a wealth of information. Jan MacKell spent 10 years collecting material. Her text is well documented with research that consumed thousands of hours. She used a myriad of primary sources and thus presents the reader with material never before assembled and published.

Through her history the reader can garner an appreciation of the ladies and the environment in which they worked. Many of the women she talks about were brave, resourceful, and energetic businesswomen who held court in rough and tumble wilderness areas of the west. It was strictly a man's world in which these women provided friendship as well as social and sexual services. They were the only females in some areas, thus providing a woman's company to men starved for this commodity.

The author reveals the history of prostitutes and the business of prostitution across what is now the state of Colorado. If writers in other states would follow her example a comprehensive history of the old west pioneer prostitutes could be assembled.

I highly recommend this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hayseed9 on September 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book about the history of prostitution in Colorado. Very interesting, I thought. Certain prostitutes are named, as well as their experiences in life. Guess I was surprised to find out that so many have committed suicide. Others seemed to thrive, but they were tough women. Some of the dishonest techniques that were used to get the money patrons had were described, such as using a wire to sneak their clothing from the closets while they were enjoying the prostitute; steal their wallets and/or money and return the clothing to the closet! Good reading for anyone interested in the history of the old west, specifically in the State of Colorado.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Albert on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently went to Colorado for the first time. Some friends moved back to Colorado Springs a couple years ago and I had the opportunity to spend a week with them. Since I'd never seen the state before, but had limited time, we focused my visit on geography and history, especially the various towns in the gold mine region. When I got back to New Hampshire, I got a copy of Money Mountain (Marshall Sprague, 1953). It's an excellent history of the Colorado gold mines, full of information and superbly written. As I wrapped it up, I remembered seeing this book, Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls in Cripple Creek. I reflected on the fact that history is often the guys' story, and in this particular case, the gals had a powerful story to tell as well. This book is much denser with facts and at times, a hard slog. But it's worth it. There's a lot to be told here and not many opportunities to tell it. And what a research job. There is, of course, a cast of women who stayed in the newspapers and who were leaders in the community, not only as madams but also as generous benefactors of the poor and the hungry. But most of them left their families, changed their names, assumed nick names, and switched identities as often as they moved from town to town and back, appearing and disappearing like phantoms. Tracking these women is a true feat: newspapers, directories, deeds, records from bordellos throughout the state and elsewhere (California, Kansas), songs and poems, memoirs, cemetery records... In the end, I've learned a lot about the old West, about its history from the Civil War to the beginning of the Great Depression. And I've learned a lot about the daily lives of the "soiled doves" who played as vital a role in the founding of the towns of Colorado as did the prospectors and speculators. Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty will never be the same.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rough Customer VINE VOICE on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book was very good, detailed, hits all the well known towns, lots of good information, a boon to the historical researcher, writer, or arm chair historian.
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