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The History of Prostitution

William W. Sanger

Book Overview: 

Common sense asks for a full investigation of all the evils attending prostitution. In the every-day affairs of life, any man who feels the pressure of a particular evil looks at once for its cause. He may be neither a philosopher nor a logician, and may never have heard of or read any of the luminous treatises which professedly simplify science, yet he knows very well that for every effect there must be some adequate cause, and for this he generally searches diligently till he can find and remove it. But here, in the city of New York, is a population who claim to be as intelligent as any on the Western continent, who have been for years suffering from the effects of a vice in purse and person; who have paid and are paying every year large sums of money on account of it; who witness every day some broken constitution or ruined character resulting from it, and who yet have never thought of seeking out the cause! Is it now too late to enlist your sympathies in the undertaking? Hence we conclude that propriety, expediency, public safety, private interest, and common sense demand an investigation like this now submitted to the reader.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ities judiciously blinded; but we are led to believe that it was seldom necessary to resort to these violent measures, and that French fathers of that day seldom made difficulties except about the sum to be paid. That the king was liberal may be inferred from the sum which this seraglio cost him—not less than one hundred millions of francs. It was a large, handsomely furnished building at Versailles, giving every woman her separate[Pg 129] apartments. The king rarely visited each one more than three or four times; but, on the occasion of his first visit, he prided himself on observing the etiquette of a husband. He insisted on the poor child whom he was about to ruin kneeling down by the bedside, and saying her prayers in his presence. It need hardly be observed that the Parc aux Cerfs was the great reservoir from whence the brothels of the time derived their supply of recruits. After a residence of a few weeks or months, in case they became pregnant, the poor childr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

As this volume was written in the 1850's there was absolutely nothing racy about it.

It was written as a world and historical review of prostitution. This review was conducted so as to begin a conversation concerning reform of the laws of New York in regards to prostitution.

The author argues in those

This is the 1937 edition.

The world seen & judged through Christian western eyes. Reveals much more than prostitution: marital habits, sexually transmitted diseases, extermination of the original inhabitants and more. Fascinating but not prurient.

i prefer unclouded feminist writing on female prostitution so i found this book useful in research & writing on the subject. a dry mostly unbaised statistical approach to female prostitution. the most interesting to me is the documentation the author found of the incomes of these women. note that th

This history covers much more than prostitution, a subject that you hardly come across in standard histories. It’s true that the first dozen chapters stick to the topic and with the many statistics become tedious. But the long chapters on Russia and Great Britain take the book in another direction.

Reading this book was the most painful experience I've ever had. Ever. It is a 712 page book about the history of prostitution. It outlines the causes and effects of the sex trade among different countries and cultures: Jews, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, Christians, France, Italy, Spain,