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Clandestine, Ephemeral, Anonymous? Myths and Actualities of the Intimate Economy of a 19th-Century Boston Brothel

Author(s): Jade W Luiz

Year: 2017

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Summary

Although prostitution was illegal in 19th-century Boston, it was not carried out in secret, nor did it produce so ephemeral a trace as to render it invisible in the historical and archaeological record. Study of material remains from the 27/29 Endicott Street brothel demonstrates the multi-layered realities of brothel life as the residents of the brothel developed strategies for coping with being purchased for ostensibly intimate acts that were in fact commercial transactions. These strategies included the use of aliases to mask true identities and provision of a wide array of ancillary services to brothel clients such as special meals, wine, and drink that were consumed in an ersatz middle-class setting, For the visiting clients, these supplementary offerings constituted a particular type of fantasy experience purchased alongside intimate sexual acts, fulfilling fantasies related to distorted middle-class domesticity, homosocial male camaraderie, and erotic performance.


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Clandestine, Ephemeral, Anonymous? Myths and Actualities of the Intimate Economy of a 19th-Century Boston Brothel. Jade W Luiz. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435547)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 719

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