Brides of the Multitude: Prostitution in the Old West | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/brides-multitude-prostitution-old-west[12/8/2015 1:14:09 PM] Home Brides of the Multitude: Prostitution in the Old WestBrides of the Multitude: Prostitution in the Old WestSubmitted by cowestadmin on 9-26-2009 07:41 PMAuthor: Jeremy Agnew Publishing: Lake City, Colorado: Western Reflections Publishing Company, 2008. Illustrations, notes, appendixes, glossaries, bibliography, index. 256 pages. (No price listed). Reviewer: Clark Secrest Books addressing the history of prostitution in the West, a bibliophile once told me, are ongoingly popular with library patrons and enjoy steady retail sales. This must be true, because such titles continue to be issued at the rate of up to three per year. Now comes the latest, Jeremy Agnews Brides of the Multitude: Prostitution in the Old West which, despite some notable glitches, serves as a passable primer to the subject, particularly for the casual reader or western history buff. There appears to be a prevailing attitude afoot these days that histories of prostitution are immune from the requirements of adequate documentation. Brides of the Multitude is the latest example. Two hundred and thirteen pages of actual text share only forty-eight chapter notesmostly informational (and most of those, it could be argued, of little consequence). Chapters 7 and 8, for instance, share nineteen pages and a total of two footnotesneither of them source notes. Seldom, moreover, are sources mentioned in the text. Attribution and accountability, therefore, are scarce, with the text containing long passages of unknown origin. Thus, future scholars will find very much of this material unverifiable and thus unavailable for further scrutiny and elaboration. Even books for the popular, non-academic trade, it would seem, are obliged to employ suitable citation. The reader of these pages might wish to know, for instance, the genesis and justification of the sweeping generalization reading: Most saloon prostitutes were not particularly pretty or shapely (95); or want to learn a primary source for the statement that Denvers renowned madam Mattie Silks took along eight Denver girls for Silkss brief entrepreneurship in the Klondike (220); or wish to know the source for a survey alleging that Denvers crimson Holladay Street of the 1880s was rated third in the nation for raucous activity, trailing only San Franciscos Barbary Coast and New Orleanss Storyville (98). This latter assertion raises two questions: What happened to Leadville? And what is the definition of raucous activity? (Later, the text reassures the reader that Leadvilles reputation of mayhem and murder was well-deserved .) A further puzzlement is that the text appears to doubt the circumstances surrounding Jesse Jamess death at the hands of Bob Ford, throwing a supposedly qualifier in there (192). The nature of the authors skepticism is not explained. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanCasimiro Barela, state senator for over 37 years, fought to ensure Colorados first constitution was published in English, Spanish and German.
Brides of the Multitude: Prostitution in the Old West | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/brides-multitude-prostitution-old-west[12/8/2015 1:14:09 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us The book contains an acceptable and predictable bibliography, which contains nothing new or surprising; plus three appendixes and two glossaries of terms. The vastly inadequate index is rife with omissions. Brides of the Multitude hopefully will prompt readers interested in the subject to pursue other, more incisive, and sufficiently documented writings. The library shelves offer an abundance of them. Reviewer Info: Clark Secrest, a former editor of Colorado Heritage magazine of the Colorado Historical Society, has written on the history of deviltry and wickedness in the West. He is the author of Hells Belles: Denvers Brides of the Multitudes. Add new comment