Other madams’ memoirs

Successful madams were either discreet about their business, or, when caught, flipped and threatened to expose customers and protectors. Sally was among the most discreet. When she told stories, they were well crafted in order to hide the truth. Of course, each was an independent entrepreneur who created and followed her own rules, so one madam’s stories never apply completely to those of the others. Nevertheless, the memoirs of other madams provide some useful insights.

  • Polly Adler – Polly Adler, A House is not a Home. (Popular Library, Published by arrangement with Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1953). – said to be the true story of America’s most famous madam – immigrant from Russia (near Poland) to New York, whose clientele included top crime-land bosses, top politicians, top entertainers.
    5 – “During the twenty-five years I ran a house, it often seemed to me that my time was about equally divided between answering questions and avoiding answering them. Customers and cops, reporters and prosecuting attorneys kept me constantly on the receiving end of a fusillade of queries which ranged from the routine to the dynamite-packed, from the naïve to the knowing, from the obscene to the ridiculous…”
  • Bee Davis“Call House Madam.” The Story of the Career of Beverly Davis, as told by Serge G. Wolsey. (The Martin Tudordale Corporation Publishers, San Francisco and New York, 1942; reprinted in 2013). – got her start as a prostitute in San Francisco, then opened houses in southern California
  • Mayflower Madam – Sydney Biddle Barrows with William Novak, Mayflower Madam. The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows. (Ivy Books, New York, Published by Ballantine Books, 1986).
  • Nell KimballNell Kimball. Her Life as an American Madam. By Herself. Edited by Stephen Longstreet. (The Macmillan Company. 1970) – worked various places, lastly in Storyville, New Orleans until the government shut down this neighborhood in 1917.

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