[New Orleans: ca. 1913]. pp. 16mo. Original blue wrappers, printed in red, twice stapled. Lower spine end chipped; front hinge separating from foot. Light wear and soiling to wrappers. Small perforation to second text leaf. Light offsetting to initial and final leaves; light tanning throughout. Still very good. Item #1368
The last edition of the famed "Blue Book" guides to the Storyville red light district of New Orleans. Storyville, northwest of the French Quarter, operated as the city's sanctioned neighborhood for prostitution from 1897 to 1917. Guide books such as the present one contained the names and addresses of hundreds of prostitutes and landladies in the thirty-eight square block district, organized alphabetically and by race (white, octoroon, colored). These directories were compiled and published pseudonymously from 1900 to approximately 1913 by Billy Struve, a police reporter for the New Orleans Item and manager of a local restaurant owned by Thomas C. Anderson, a state politician and businessman known as the "Mayor of Storyville," who likely also contributed to the production of these works. This edition was most likely printed in 1913, and not after 1915, based on the address of Bertha Weinthal, who operated at the location listed within during those three years.
"In this edition, for the first time, the directory has a section featuring cabarets and the women who worked in them. Though commercial sex was certainly on offer at these venues, the primary selling point appears to have been musical entertainment and dancing. The directory section contains entries for 332 white prostitutes; 20 white landladies, their names set in full capitals; 7 octoroon prostitutes; 2 octoroon landladies; and 234 colored women, though none are designated as landladies. Two pages of 'Late Arrivals,' women recently arrived in the District, list 45 women, only four designated as colored. There are seven white cabarets with names of 71 women and two colored cabarets with names of 16 women. This edition contains twenty-three full-page brothel advertisements, including the first appearance Gertrude Dix, madam of 209 N. Basin, formerly managed by Hilda Burt. Dix and Thomas C. Anderson married in 1928, long after the closing of Storyville" - Arceneaux.
The red-light district in Storyville was officially closed in 1917 by the entry of the United States into World War I and the accompanying ban on houses of prostitution within five miles of any military installation. The neighborhood, however, was in decline from the beginning of the 1910s -- In this final edition of the Blue Book, the number of women listed dropped to under 600, from a high of just under 700 in the 1906 edition. An outstanding primary record of legal prostitution in New Orleans near the end of its run during the early-20th century.
Arceneaux, Guidebooks to Sin 10. Heartman, The Blue Book XII/XIII.