Within the male-dominated economic landscape of Marquette's founding era, many women turned to the illicit business of selling sex to make a living. In the absence of self-created primary sources, court case records and newspaper accounts dating between 1870 and 1943 reveal small pieces of the lives of dozens of such women. Yet while the stories of underground miners and northwoods lumberjacks have been studied in detail, these sex workers have been ignored and forgotten almost entirely; a broader social history, without moral bias, can account for many of the women who worked alongside the men who dominate our historical record. While attempts to eradicate these workers from the community have persisted throughout history, a preliminary review of the available archival evidence suggests the large scale of their impact in the economic, social, and legal development of the region. This article summarizes the most fascinating tidbits from those scattered records, hopefully paving the way for a new, all-encompassing social history of the Marquette area.
"Sporting Houses, Soiled Doves, and Bad Repute: Houses of Ill Fame in Marquette, 1870-1943,"
Upper Country: A Journal of the Lake Superior Region: Vol. 9, Article 3.
Available at: https://commons.nmu.edu/upper_country/vol9/iss1/3