“THIS BOOK MUST NOT BE MAILED”: EXTRAORDINARY 1911 DIRECTORY (“BLUE BOOK”) OF NEW ORLEANS PROSTITUTES
(NEW ORLEANS). Blue Book. [New Orleans: Thomas C. Anderson, circa 1911. 12mo, original wire-stitched pale blue wrappers. $4500.
Early directory of the “fast women” of New Orleans, apparently published by principal advertiser restaurateur Tom Anderson, and compiled by Billy Struve, manager of Anderson’s Annex Café. Contains the warning, “This book must not be mailed,” and the advisory, “Read all the ads.”
The Preface of this notorious pocket-sized directory of the legendary Storyville district of New Orleans asks the question, "Why [should] New Orleans have this directory? Because it is the only district of its kind in the States set aside for the fast women by law." Established by city statute in 1897, Storyville segregated prostitution to a specific area, in order to curtail such activity in outlying neighborhoods. First appearing around 1900, this "Blue Book" of Storyville purveyors is broken out by race, with alphabetic entries of the names and addresses of "the best places to spend your money." Interleaved are full-page advertisements for whiskey ("recommended as a stimulant"), cigars ("cardinal size, 5 cents straight"), jewelry ("expert examination"), candy ("made last night"), drug stores ("free delivery"), mistresses ("Miss Edna Hamilton has, without doubt, one of the finest equipped 'Chateaus' in the Tenderloin District"), and legal services ("Practices in all courts, P.L. Fourchy, Counsellor-at-Law"). Storyville is commonly regarded as the birthplace of Dixieland jazz ("all the latest musical selections nightly, rendered by a typical southern darky orchestra"), and had remained a staple attraction for visiting carousers until the U.S. Navy closed it down in 1917. Text printed in red and black.
Interior fine, light wear and toning to extremities of wrappers. An exceptionally good copy.