New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1858.
First Edition. Hardcover. The New York City aldermen commissioned this 1858 historical and sociological study of sex work from Dr. William Wallace Sanger (1819-1872), the first resident physician at Blackwell's Island (later Welfare Island and now Roosevelt Island), at the time known for its housing of several hospitals, a prison, and the New York City Lunatic Asylum. The scope of the historical and global aspects of Sanger's History of Prostitution is very broad, including sex work in the Bible and the "social condition of Jewish harlots," sex work in Greek mythology and ancient Roman poetry, the legal status of sex work throughout history and around the globe, syphilitic diseases in Great Britain, the influence of climate on sex work in Switzerland, and much more, and the study concludes with an in-depth study of sex work in New York City, drawing from over 2000 intimate interviews with New York City sex workers, with subjects including social and physical conditions, statistics, cost, venereal diseases and public health, life expectancy, obscene literature, inducements to emigrate, personal history of sex workers, and much more, altogether providing a highly detailed view of sex work in the middle of the Nineteenth Century.
9 1/2" X 6". Presents nicely in protective archival jacket. Bound in publisher's original dark brown pebble-grain cloth, with publisher's device and decorative border stamped in blind to boards and spine lettered in gilt. Heavy wear to binding, with tears along length of cloth over exterior hinges and cloth tape repair to inner hinges. Rear hinge tender. Binding remains sound. Heavy edgewear to binding as well, with bumping and splitting to corners, fraying and tears to head and tail of spine, and dampstain to rear board. Dampstain also appears in lower gutter of last few pages. Very rare spot of foxing to pages, else unmarked. Previous owner's name to flyleaf. An admittedly very worn but solid and complete first printing. Fair. Item #6817