Tomorrow, I will be presenting my talk, Grandpa was in Jail?! at the North County San Diego Genealogical Society, http://www.cagenweb.com/nsdcgs/.
As part of that talk I will be pointing out a series of articles that a fellow blogger did. Paul K. Graham's blog Historical and Genealogical Research featured a 5 article series entitled, Researching a Red Light District. You can find it at:
He goes from looking for these ladies in the city directory, to Sanborn Fire Maps, to the U.S. Census and then on to records that are specific to the crime such as vice reports and court records. One thing he points on is that often Madams had accumulated some wealth and could be found in estate records.
This is a great series of articles even if you don't have a 'working girl' in your lineage. The techniques and resources he uses would be good for pursuing many different kinds of people.
All of these articles reminded me of something I read about a scrapbook that was kept by a "soiled dove" in Wyoming. The article is from the book,The Scrapbook in American Life , edited by Susan Tucker et al. Chapter 8 is an article entitled: The Secret Scrapbook of a "Soiled Dove" by Carol Bowers.
This article details a scrapbook that was in a rare book collection at the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center in Laramie. It is the personal scrapbook of Monte Grover who was a prostitute in Wyoming in the late 19th century. The scrapbook is autobiographical and includes information about her previous married life.
Overall, this book is a great historical resources and is a good reminder that there can be interesting information about our ancestors in all sorts of places.