Date of this Version
The Gentleman’s Companion. New York City. In 1870, [Anonymous] Published by John F. Murray, New York. Also known as The Gentleman’s Directory.
This is a pocket-sized guide to the prostitution industry or sex trade in New York City in 1870--a directory of its brothels, barrooms, and houses of assignation. It is a remarkable record of the demimonde in the post-Civil War city that housed an estimated 20,000 prostitutes.
In the following pages some shadows, dirt spots, and microfilm scratches have been removed, but the text remains unaltered. The pagination appears unorthodox in places due to interpolated advertisements for various establishments.
A copy of the work held in the New-York Historical Society is reprinted online with commentary at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/documents/a-vest-pocket-guide-to-brothels-in-19th-century-new-york-for-gentlemen-on-the-go?mcubz=0
One is impressed not only by breadth of the author's knowledge of the industry but also by the resourcefulness and ingenuity of expression in which activities are described:
"young lady boarders of pleasing manners and ready wit"
"the abode of six bewitching young ladies"
"the fairy-like creatures who devote themselves to the services of Cupid"
"The utmost decorum is observed, and every facility is furnished to those who call for passing the time in the most agreeable manner."
"This emporium of love and beauty is one of the finest in the city."
"The landlady and lively young ladies are a very pleasant set, full of fun, love, and fond of amusement."
"Their sallies are calculated to dispel the clouds of melancholy."
Though he could be harsh at times:
"Nothing is here to be found but painted and padded beauties."
"Place mean and dirty."
"This is a second class house, with six lady boarders. Small potatoes, and few in the hill."
"Some of its visitors have asserted that its inmates are of a snobbish disposition."
"The landlady is of a very selfish disposition, and the servants are very disagreeable to visitors."
"... but the landlady has a very sulky temper."
"... which presents no attraction worthy of mention."
"There is a report of a bear being kept in the cellar, but for what reason may be inferred. There is not anything else attractive about the place."
A map of lower Manhattan in 1867 is supplied, and a note is appended regarding the careers of Awful Gardner and John Allen, persons mentioned on page 7.