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The Enterprising Career of Tom Savage in Los Angeles’ Red-Light District, 1870-1909

Author(s): AnneMarie Kooistra

Year: 2016

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In 1909, the "closure" of Los Angeles’s "tenderloin" represented the influence of progressive reform ending an era of the "tacit acceptance" of municipal red-light districts nationally. Existing scholarship has focused on progressive reformers who helped launch the new policy, but there has been scant examination of the male subculture that helped transform the business of prostitution even as the era of regulation came to a close.  This paper examines Tom Savage, a saloon-owner, prize-fighter, politician, and brothel owner to shed light on the what would be the decline of the "independent" madam in the business and the tendency for prostitutes’ profits to flow into the hands of men. Securing political alliances, formalizing the business of prostitution, investing in prostitution that catered to the "masses" rather than the "classes," Savage was a pioneer in the kinds of practices that would persist in Los Angeles’s vice business well into the twentieth century.

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The Enterprising Career of Tom Savage in Los Angeles’ Red-Light District, 1870-1909. AnneMarie Kooistra. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434958)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 343

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America