San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution
Final Report 1996
San Francisco History-Notes
1 Asbury, Herbert. The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld. Garden City Publishing, Inc. 1933. p 33 . Asbury claims that 2/3 of the women in San Francisco worked as prostitutes.
2 Alta California, May 7, 1850.
3 The first Committee of Vigilance was formed (1851), and deported two prostitutes. Vigilantes also lynched a mistress to a gambler who killed a rapist in self-defense. (Asbury, p 172).
4 Benson Tong, Unsubmissive Women, Chinese Prostitutes in 19 th Century San Francisco (University of Oklahoma Press: Norman and London, 1994 page 111). In addition Chinese were subject to numerous forms of discrimination, i.e., in the late 1800s Physicians from San Francisco lobbied to ban Chinese prostitutes from the city and county hospital. Chinese were also banned from the San Francisco female hospital, although white prostitutes were listed among the patients. (page 105) Arrests for prostitution increased in years when anti-Chinese activity peaked proved that the police made those round ups to maintain the support of nativist city voters.² (page 117).
5 Herbert Asbury, The Barbary Coast, P 112
6 Benson Tong, Unsubmissive Women, Page 118
7 Geographical History of Prostitution in San Francisco, Journal of Urban Affairs, SF State University, 1994, Courtney Kerr p 54.
8 Ibid., p 55
9 The reason San Francisco instituted a stated policy of segregation and legal toleration of prostitution within a circumscribed area may have to do with the changing moral values of the era. In the early days of the city, following the Gold Rush of 1849, the population of San Francisco had a large proportion of men. Throughout the 1850's, there was only one women for every thirty males. Not until 1910 did the number of men and women approach parity. As the ratio of men to women evened out and the number of families increased, attitudes and mores changed as well; women who claimed to be "respectable" were appalled by the raw frontier community and the blatant prostitution.
10 Kevin Mullen, ³When Prostitution was Semi-Legal In San Francisco² SF Examiner, December 29, 1993.
11 A document held in the San Francisco Pubic Library San Francisco History Room submitted. in 1911, describes the bribes paid by one San Francisco brothel owner, Thelma Le Ray..
12 Kevin Mullen, ³When Prostitution was Semi-Legal In San Francisco² SF Examiner, December 29, 1993.
14 Geographical Hisptory of Prostitution in San Francisco, Journal of Urban Affairs, SF State Univeristy, 1994, Courtney Kerr p 34.
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