[New Orleans. ca. 1913-1915]. pp., printed throughout in red and black. 12mo. Original printed pale blue wrappers, expertly rebacked in matching blue paper. Soft vertical crease to text, minor toning, upper outer corner of one leaf repaired. Very good. Item #WRCAM55273
The last edition of the series of guides to the bawdy houses and prostitutes of New Orleans, issued between 1900 and 1915, and known collectively as the "Blue Books" of Storyville. Heartman identifies this is as the twelfth or thirteenth edition. Pamela Arceneaux, in GUIDEBOOKS TO SIN, condenses Heartman's last two editions into the same print run, having compared Heartman's two editions and finding them identical. Arceneaux further believes that this edition could have been printed as early as 1913, based on intertextual clues found during her research, cross-referenced with contemporary New Orleans city directories. The red-light district of New Orleans operated in a very public way until the U.S. government suppressed it at the time of the American entrance into the First World War. This guide lists women by address, followed by advertisements for brothels; all interspersed with advertisements for liquor and cigars. Included lists of burlesque houses, names of landladies, and names of prominent women in the trade. The prostitutes are often identified by race, most commonly white, black, and octoroon. The earliest such guide appeared about 1896, and they were produced almost annually from 1900 to 1915. During this period, all of the guides issued under the title BLUE BOOK were the product of Billy Struve, allegedly from the second floor of Lulu White's saloon at the corner of Basin Street and Bienville (though that story is likely apocryphal). More likely, Struve assembled the BLUE BOOKS from his management offices at Anderson's (a saloon owned by the "Mayor of Storyville," Tom Anderson, located at the corner of Basin and Iberville) where, according to the city directories, he also resided for most of the Storyville years. An advertisement for Tom Anderson's New Cabaret and Restaurant is found on the rear wrapper of this edition. The two photographs include the facade of Emma Johnson's famous "Studio" and a portrait of the Oriental Danseuse, Rita Walker. Owing to their content and heavy use, all BLUE BOOK guides are extremely rare. A nice example. HEARTMAN, BLUE BOOKS XII/XIII. ARCENEAUX, GUIDEBOOKS TO SIN 10.