Throughout recorded history, prostitution — the buying and selling of sexual services and favors — has been a part of the human condition. Evidence of it is found in mythology, art, sculpture, drama, literature, music, and archaeological structures and ruins. Societies in different parts of the world and in different eras have dealt with it in diverse ways across a broad spectrum, with its acceptance as a norm at one extreme, to its criminalization at the other. Between the two extremes, it has been regarded, variously, as "a necessary evil," a blight on the community, the immoral dregs of a society. Primarily, women have been associated with prostitution, although in some cultures, boys and men have been used. In the past quarter century, Minnesota has seen a rise in the number of young girls and boys, often homeless children, many of them runaways or throwaways, forced into prostitution. The victims of sexual and physical abuse — rather than their abusers or patrons — have been penalized by social stigma, fines, or jail time.
GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:
- 4 Sex Industry Stories: Women from the Red River Valley
Speak, Women's Network of the Red River Valley Sex Industry
Moorhead, Minn.: The Task Force, c2000.
MHS call number: HQ145.R42 F68 2000.
- "Avenues for Ladies Only: The Soiled Doves of East Grand
Forks, 1887-1915," by Stephen G. Sylvester.
In Minnesota History, vol. 51, no. 8 (winter 1989), pp. 290-300.
MHS call number: Reading Room F601.5 .M66 v.51:8, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
- Controlling Vice: Regulating Brothel Prostitution in St.
Paul, 1865-1883, by Joel Best.
Columbus: Ohio State University Press, c1998.
MHS call number: HQ146.S25 B47 1998.
- Juvenile Prostitution in Minnesota: The Report of a Research
Project, by Enablers, Inc.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Enablers, Inc., c1978.
MHS call number: HQ145.M5 E63 1978.
- "Keeping the Peace in St. Paul: Crime, Vice, and Police
Work, 1869-74," by Joel Best.
In Minnesota History, vol. 47, no. 6 (summer 1981): pp. 240-248.
MHS call number: Reading Room F601.5 .M66 v.47:6, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
- "Long Kate, Dutch Henriette, and Mother Robinson: Three
Madams in Post-Civil War St. Paul," by Joel E. Best.
In Ramsey County History, vol. 15, no. 1  (1980): pp. 3-10.
MHS call number: Reading Room F612.R22 R3 v.15:2.
- "Looking Evil in the Face: Being an Examination of Vice
and Respectability in St. Paul as Seen in the City's Press, 1865-83,"
by Joel Best.
In Minnesota History, vol. 50, no. 6 (summer 1987): pp. 241-251.
MHS call number: Reading Room F601.5 .M66 v.50:6, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
- The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, 1900-1918,
by Ruth Rosen.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, c1982.
MHS call number: HQ144 .R76 1982.
- The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the
Trade, 1871-1909, by Josie Washburn.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, .
MHS call number: HQ144 .W3 1997.
- "Women Workers at St. Anthony Falls," by Tasslyn
In Hennepin History, vol. 53, no. 2 (spring 1994), pp. 4-17.
MHS call number: Reading Room F612.H52 H42 v.53:2.
- Carolen Bailey Papers.
Bailey was a St. Paul Police officer and her archival collection includes correspondence, minutes, training materials, speeches, a scrapbook, newsletters, audiocassettes, and photographs. Subjects include child abuse, sexual abuse, battered women, incest, prostitution, sudden infant death, and police volunteers.
MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks — filed alphabetically under Bailey, Carolen — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 3 boxes, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
- Nina Clifford Biography File.
Clifford was a notorious St. Paul madam.
MHS call number: Biography Project Cards, and Vertical File.
- Edward F. Waite Papers.
Correspondence, speeches, and printed materials relating to the involvement of Waite, a juvenile court judge for the fourth judicial district of Minnesota (1911-1921, 1931-1941), in social welfare, civil rights, and civil liberties issues. A few items (1902-1904) pertain to his work as a municipal judge in Minneapolis and the control of vice (prostitution) in that city.
MHS call number: A/.W145e; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 8 boxes and 5 oversize items, but not all relate to this topic).
- Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities Area, Criminal Justice
This archival collection includes some material regarding juvenile prostitution.
MHS call number: See the black State Archives Notebooks — filed under Metropolitan Council — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 9 boxes, but not all relate to this topic).
- "Newspaper Transcripts and Index, 1849-1863, 1896-1897,"
compiled by Willoughby M. Babcock.
Typed transcripts of and a microfilmed personal name and subject index to articles on early Minnesota, selected mainly from southern Minnesota newspapers. There is only one card in the index under the term "Prostitution;" instead see the term "Ill Fame Houses."
MHS call number: P941 (there are 6 boxes of transcripts) and M588 (there are 4 reels of microfilmed index cards); see the green Manuscripts Notebooks — filed under P941 and under M588 — for detailed lists of contents.
Note: Microfilm may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan.
- "Richard (Dick) Thomas O'Connor," by George C.
Unbound photocopy of a typed manuscript by St. Paul attorney George C. Rogers describing the life and political career of democratic political boss Dick (Richard T.) O'Connor, including information about bordellos and prostitution.
MHS call number: P2359; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is only 1 folder of material).
- Saint Paul City Council, Files of Council Member Kiki Sonnen.
This archival collection consists of correspondence and subject files,
and Sonnen's subject files include material on prostitution.
MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks for local government — filed under Ramsey County, St. Paul, City Council — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 2 boxes, but not all relate to this topic).
- Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
- Minneapolis Star
- Minneapolis Tribune
- St. Paul Dispatch
- St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Check the library catalog for other materials.