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The Gentleman's Directory

$ 14.95


The Gentleman’s Directory is a reproduction of New York City’s rare 1870 guidebook to more than 150 brothels then operating—presenting “insight into the character and doings of people whose deeds are carefully screened from public view.” This vest pocket-sized guide to Manhattan’s “nightlife” was easily obtained at city newsstands. While claiming to direct the visitor away from houses of ill repute—“Not that we imagine the reader will ever desire to visit these houses”—the book offered first, second, and third class reviews and ratings. High praise went to houses “kept in a quiet and orderly manner” and that were “finely furnished.” A rave review for Miss Emma Benedict’s house read: “Everything is here arranged in the first style, while the bewitching smiles of the fairy-like creatures who devote themselves to the services of Cupid are unrivalled by any of the fine ladies who walk Broadway in silks and satins new.”

Readers were warned to stay away from the streetwalkers, while of houses on Greene Street it was said, “This thoroughfare has become a complete sink of iniquity.” Third-rate establishments received such dismissive reviews as “undeserving of further notice” or “it contains nothing of any account.”

  • 80 pages
  • 5.01 x 0.45 x 6.32 inches
  • hardcover
  • by The New-York Historical Society

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