Letter From an Ex-Prostitute

Our Daily Lives page presents excerpts of women’s autobiographies, essays, letters, journals, diaries, oral histories and testimony with the hopes our readers will respond to the authentic emotions and ideas, see a connection to their own lives, and write or email us a note. Women’s Enews will post selected reactions from our readers for all to read.This week we present an excerpt from “The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute,” The Feminist Press. Maimie lived in Philadelphia at the turn of the century and the book is comprised of her correspondence with a prominent and socially concerned woman from Boston. The author turned to prostitution after her father died–first to pay a library fine, and later as one of the few means of support available to working-class women of her period. While hospitalized for syphilis, Maimie was introduced to her Boston friend through a minister trying to convert Maimie from Judaism to Christianity.