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Author Topic: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?  (Read 8723 times)

stephendare

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Ahh that great era of brothels... ever feel like you were born in the wrong time period? Anyone?? lol

I'm going to ask some girls tonight who their favorite 'comfort woman' is...

Any suggestions for the title of the bordello theme night?


The most famous madame in Jacksonville history was Cora Crane, the wife of writer Stephen Crane (Red Badge of Courage)  She ran a well loved institution at the corner of Ashley and Jefferson Streets whose working girls were among the only group of people ever to successfully chase off Carry A. Nation.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cora_Crane

Quote
Two years later she married Captain Donald William Stewart, the son of an English lord. Cora reportedly became disenchanted with life in the north, and moved to Jacksonville, Florida by March 21, 1895 and became the common-law wife of Allen Taylor.

She bought and remodeled the "Hotel de Dream" into a popular bordello. The house was on Ashley and Hawk (now Jefferson) Streets near Sub-Tropical Gardens, which had been built as a tourist attraction in 1888. It was not far from War Street, whose name was changed to Houston, which house the majority of the bordellos, including "The Senate", "The New Your House", and "Russian Belle."

Quote
Cora returned to Jacksonville in 1902 where she owned and operated another brothel in the LaVilla District. It was called "The Court." Some sources give the location Ashley and Hawk (now Jefferson) Streets, other give the Southwest corner of Ward (Now Houston) and Davis Street, Jacksonville. The two-story brick building had 14 bedrooms (parlour rooms), ballroom, ktichens, and dining room and an annex with eight bedrooms. Another annex at Pablo Beach was called Palmetto Lodge. A frequent patron of The Court was Hammond P. McNeil, the 25 year old son of a prominent South Carolina family. On June 1, 1905, Cora and McNeil were married in New York City. McNeil shot and killed a lover of Cora. He was acquitted because of the laws of the time allowed this type of protection of "your rights." They were divorced and he married a younger woman. The divorce decree forbade her using the name McNeil, therefore, she reverted to using Crane.

She used her professional name Cora Taylor, but always signed her writings as Cora Crane. In addition, she became a regular contributor to the leading publications of the country, including Smart Set and Harpers Weekly. Toward the end of her career, however, she became restless and took on the Bohemian lifestyle, similar to what Stephen Crane had done in New York while he wrote The Red Badge of Courage. She had been planning to return to Europe and take up her writing again in a European atmosphere.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 11:57:50 AM by stephendare »
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stephendare

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Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2010, 12:02:22 PM »

cora and stephen crane

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-jan-houston-street-jacksonvilles-red-light-district

Here is a great link to the bordello district on Houston Street.

And here is a great essay from Jaxhistory.com
http://www.jaxhistory.com/Jacksonville%20Story/Picture%20of%20the%20Court,%20Its%20Ladies.htm



You could say that these bedchambers served as the "offices" for the Court's working girls.  The top image was taken in Bedroom #3, and the bottom in #20.  Although the establishment averaged about thirteen prostitutes,  the number fluctuated.  The occurred because of somewhat frequent marriages and because the ladies would accompany their gentlemen friends on long trips, according to Cora's biographer Lillian Barnard Gilkes.

As Mrs. Gilkes has also explained, most of the Court's residents were in their early to mid 20s, age-wise.  Although they showed no wrinkles and proved good natured, they all looked older than their years.  The women usually hailed from from poor, isolated tenant farms in West Florida, South Georgia, and East Alabama.  The majority were barely literate.

The 1910 census yields another look at the Court's inhabitants.  Cora is given as the head of the household, and Hattie Mason, as the housekeeper.  Nine other women are listed as "roomers," a polite way of referring to the ladies of the evening who lived there.  For First Coast researchers who are seeking black sheep in their families, the census does provide the first & last names of the residents in La Villa's "rooming houses." In the red-light district, this term often meant brothels.  Interestingly, the Court contained two inhabitants who claimed the first name of "Trixie."

As shown in the 1910 census, Cora probably clipped five years off her age and reported herself as 39.  She's indicated as having been born in Massachusetts.  Hattie was 38 and also hailed from the Bay State.  Cora's occupation was said to be "keeper" of a "rooming house," while's Hattie's was indicated as "housekeeper" and "assist family." All of the Court's residents were white, single females.  Excluding Cora and Hattie, one came from South Carolina, one from Maryland, one from Washington, D.C., two from Massachusetts, and four from Georgia.  Again omitting Cora and Hattie, the ages of the women were as follows:  20, 24, 24, 24, 26, 28, 29, 29, and 30.  (The residents included Edith Gray, a 28-year-old South Carolina native who is not listed as the housekeeper in the census.  In actuality, she did serve in this capacity, according to Lillian Barnard Gilkes in Cora Crane: The Biography of Mrs. Stephen Crane.  After Cora's stroke in January 1910, she turned over to Edith much of the Court's management.  Edith continued with these responsibilities during the last months of the owner's life.)

The Court may've been typical of many bordellos, considering the data from the 1910 census and the info from Lillian Gilkes.  Cora's establishment operated during the opening years of the twentieth century, but its ladies still seemed to have largely fit the typical profile of nineteenth-century prostitutes.  During the 1800s, most American ladies of pleasure were single females in their teens or early twenties.  They were usually native-born citizens, yet recent arrivals to the city.  The majority engaged in prostitution for only short periods, for they eventually married or obtained more socially acceptable jobs.  It's fascinating to note that an amazing number of young females in large cities labored in the world's oldest profession, according to the website "The Reader's Companion to American History."  The nineteenth century figure stood at about 5 to 10 percent.  Women could earn twice as much in one night at a brothel as they could in one week at a factory or in a service occupation.

A strict house mother, Cora Crane tried run a tight ship.  Her ladies were expected to check in & out when leaving, for instance.  Cora probably also urged them to read books from her personal library (which included many classics), and she encouraged each woman to marry a "Mr. Right," to use a modern term.  When weddings did take place, the proprietress would celebrate by sending orange blossoms.

The suicides of several of the city's soiled doves, nevertheless, saddened Cora.  We often use colorful euphemisms when referring to old-time prostitution, but these deaths showed that there was little picturesque about the life.  No doubt yesteryear's prostitutes suffered much of the same emotional baggage carried by the streetwalkers along Phillips Highway today.

When temperance crusader Carry Nation raided the Ward Street bordellos in 1908, consider the reactions of the fallen women at the New York House.  The next day, the Times-Union reported what had happened.  If the article is not overblown, then it's interesting how quickly the ladies broke down to Mrs. Nation's exhortations:

"Here Mrs. Nation received her first cordial reception.  The inmates of the house evidently considered her a curiosity, but when she began to talk, it did not require the utterance of many words before it was seen that her remarks were proving effective.  At this juncture, Mrs. Nation requested the newspaper men to leave the room, and closing the door of the ballroom, in which she was talking, she lectured for a quarter of an hour to the girls.  Her words evidently made a deep impression.  With tears streaming down her cheeks, Mrs. Nation left this resort, thanking the inmates for the kind treatment and consideration shown her and party."
« Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 12:07:14 PM by stephendare »
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stephendare

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Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2010, 12:10:20 PM »


CORA CRANE (1868-1910). Victorian adventuress.

When the Spanish-American War erupted, Crane tried to enlist in the navy but was rejected because of TB, so he covered the splendid little war for Pulitzer, behaving gallantly under fire at Cuzco, Guantanamo, and San Juan Hill. Cora, meanwhile, was crusading for women's rights in a complicated scandal only the Victorian world could have created. When Harold Frederic died, his legal wife had his mistress jailed for manslaughter because Kate, a Christian Scientist, had summoned a faith healer to pray for the dying man. Some of this scandal was pure spite, the fury of a woman scorned, and some of it was squalid squabbling over the potential royalties from Frederic's posthumous best-seller, The Market Place. Pillars of Victorian morality, among them prominent publishers' wives, rallied behind the legal wife, raising funds for her children in newspaper campaigns. Cora took the illegitimate children to Brede Place while their mother was in jail, and she ran a parallel campaign to raise funds for them. Considering the extreme precariousness of her own situation, it was a bold thing to do, a reckless and foolhardy thing, prompting Joseph Conrad to call her "the only Christian in sight."

Charges against her friend Kate were ultimately dropped, but that was the end of Cora's luck. Crane returned to Brede Place a broken man, his health crushed by the Cuban climate and the exertions of war, though he hid the extreme seriousness of his condition from every-one. Cora had to manage their increasingly tangled affairs. They were trapped by their own generous folly in a mounting spiral of debt. Tragedy struck at the famous New Year's Eve party in 1900, when Crane collapsed suddenly from massive hemorrhages. Cora's heroic exertions got him to Badenweiler, a Bavarian sanatorium, with his favorite dog, Sponge, but he died almost upon arrival, on June 5, 1900, only 28 years old, his genius forever unfulfilled.

Cora was now a woman alone, spurned everywhere, her writings rejected, her prospects nil. She returned to Jacksonville to run an elegant brothel, the Court. Cora was a bluestocking madam, the American equivalent of the protagonist of George Bernard Shaw's 1898 shocker Mrs. Warren's Profession.

Meanwhile her legal husband, Stewart, had become governor of the British East Africa Protectorate, modern-day Kenya. His death in Nairobi made the Empire widow a real widow, setting the stage for the final tragedy. On a spree in New York City with a young man-about-town named Hammond McNeil, she married him, but he proved to be a violent drunkard who murdered a young man named Harry Parker while Parker was on a picnic with Cora. His defense at the trial was the unwritten law, that a husband has the right to kill his wife's seducer, so Cora's name was dragged through the slime of a truly sordid episode. She died shortly after and rests in Jacksonville's Evergreen Cemetery under a simple stone inscribed, "Cora Crane, 1868-1910."

Cora played many roles, assumed many identities. She dared to live free in the repressive turn-of-the-century world of gaslight and gossamer, becoming an outcast in her own time but a heroine in ours--romantic rebel, realistic entrepreneur, another, activist, adventuress. She was even a pretty good cook. Henry James raved about her doughnuts.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 01:55:44 AM by stephendare »
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stephendare

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Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2010, 12:22:22 PM »



Hotel De Dreme



Here's a close-up from 1893 of what would become the Hotel de Dreme.  The red arrow touches on the roof of the building that later housed the brothel.  The green arrow shows a neighboring structure that became an annex to the bordello.  As shown on an 1897 fire insurance map, the two were connected by what appears to have been a covered walkway.

Cora Crane's establishment took its name from an earlier proprietress, Ethel Dreme, who was listed as an African American widow in the 1893 Jacksonville city directory.  At that time, she lived at 817 Ward Street, in the center of the town's red-light district.  By 1895, she resided five blocks northward at the Hotel de Dreme location.





The Court, Cora's second Brothel



the site today

Quote
See how the foliage has grown by the time of the second picture.  You're looking at the Court, Jacksonville's classiest house of joy.  The time is about 1903, around two years after the city's Great Fire.  A building of glazed, dark red brick and smooth stone trim,  the Court   was accentuated by its well-trimmed grass plots, privet hedges, and umbrella tree.  The picture below is a comic postcard from about 1910.  The caption declares, "I'm willing to be loved in JACKSONVILLE, FLA."  On the back, the sender scrawled, "How do you like this for a display of nerve?"


http://www.jaxhistory.com/Jacksonville%20Story/Picture%20of%20Court%20and%20Cora%20Crane.htm

 A century ago, the River City's red-light district operated in La Villa.  It centered on Ward Street, which is now Houston Street.  The selection of brothels there was called "the line," a Southern term for an area of prostitution.  Some of Jax's bordellos offered white ladies, while others, African American.  The Court was situated at the southwest corner of Ward and Davis, two blocks from the train station, the future site of the Prime Osborn Convention Center.  In addition to brothels, the neighborhood provided bars, rooming houses, and small hotels that catered to transient visitors and railroad employees.  It also contained industrial and commercial enterprises.

Not many bordellos could boast of a ballroom, but the Court could.  The pleasure palace also contained parlors, kitchens, a dining room, fourteen bedrooms, and an annex with eight additional bedrooms.  Cora occupied an apartment at the Court, and her ladies lived on the premises too.  A housekeeper helped to manage the day-to-day affairs.

The Court represented a "sporting house," a refuge to which gentlemen could retire for dining, dancing, card playing, and socializing.  Of course, sex still served as the the principle draw.

Would you label La Villa's brothels as "female boarding houses"?  This is how a fire insurance map discreetly referred to them in 1903.  Cora did try to make the Court as homelike as possible for her good-time girls.  Her business averaged 13 ladies on duty, but the number often varied because of marriages or because the women would accompany their male friends on long trips.

After a while, Cora profited from the Court financially.  This came in spite of competition from an old adversary across the street, Lyda de Camp. (Earlier, Stephen had some sort of dealings with Lyda while he was getting to know Cora.  Lyda owned an autographed copy of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets that Stephen had dedicated to his "friend.")  Other nearby brothels included the "Senate," the "New York House," and an establishment maintained by Belle Orloff, who appears to have been a pistol.  When temperance champion Carry Nation preached in the city's dens of iniquity in 1908, she had a run in with Ms. Orloff.  As the Times-Union described the incident the next day, "'Russian Belle,' as she is familiarly known, was not in her resort when Mrs. Nation arrived, and it is fortunate for Mrs. Nation, for when she did arrive she proved a match for the famous saloon smasher.  A colloquy finally resulted, and Mrs. Nation left the resort, denouncing the keeper as a demoniac..."

Whether or not she was actually possessed, Belle does seem to have been atypical.  If its info can be trusted, the 1910 census lists her as a 26-year-old Russian native, yet it also indicates that her parents were born in Florida.  Given the state's small population during the nineteenth century and the relatively little foreign travel, you might wonder about the story behind the Orloffs.  Keeping up appearances, did Russian Belle tell the census taker a fib about her national origins?   

According to the 1910 census, Miss Orloff served as the keeper of a residence that contained seven white girls between the ages of 20 and 22.  Her establishment and the neighborhood's other bordellos were said to be rooming or boarding houses by federal censuses, city directories, and fire insurance maps, but every local adult knew better.  Belle's type of brothel, relatively open about its services, would not prove as widespread for much longer, though.  Prostitution started to take another form during Prohibition (1917-1933).  The number of bordellos decreased in many places across the country.  They were replaced by call girls, prostitutes hired by phone.  The world's oldest profession became more of an underground activity, no longer as blatantly advertised.  Services were provided in more clandestine places, like tenements, dance halls, massage parlors, "call houses," and even taxicabs.  Prostitution during Prohibition also grew closer in its ties with the mob and the liquor trade. 

The Court itself closed because of Cora's death in 1910.  The building later contained a cheap brothel named the White House Hotel, established in about 1911.  The landscaping was neglected, the outside facade was repainted white, and two additional doors were added so as to provide easier escape routes in case of police raids.  From 1917 onward, the structure stood vacant, a dilapidated den for thieves and vagrants.  The former bordello was finally torn down to make room for a warehouse in either 1928 or during the 1930s.  By the early Fifties, a parking lot covered the spot.  Also during this time, probably the last bawdyhouse in the former red-light district went out of business.  Everyone called it "Spanish Marie's," and the fleshpot had occupied a former church across from the Court site.

After the wrecking ball did its work in 1979, there were no more former bordello buildings in the old Ward Street area.  The final three were demolished despite the efforts of historical preservationists.

 
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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2010, 12:28:16 PM »
http://www.jaxhistory.com/Jacksonville%20Story/Picture%20of%20Court%20Stairway.html


Barging up these stairs in 1908 went the famous lady with the hatchet, saloon buster Carry Nation.  This grand staircase was situated near the main entrance of The Court, Jacksonville's finest bordello.  Also ascending the steps -- on a regular basis -- were some of the local political elite.  They sought to recharge their batteries after governmental meetings & functions.  The Court's clientele even included the state prosecutor.  And one night during the early 1900s, a mayor of Jacksonville, a very tall man, led a rambunctious group of partiers "down the line" in La Villa.  The politician clutched a good-time girl under each of his arms.

Speaking of mayors, the election of 1914 stands out in the history of Jacksonville's prostitution.  It featured J. E. T. Bowden, a former mayor of Jax and of La Villa, before it merged with the River City in 1887.  Mr. Bowden challenged incumbent Van Swearingen for the top post.  Mayor Swearingen had actually closed the red-light district not long before, but Mr. Bowden took issue with this.  The challenger's campaign climax came when he addressed voters in Hemming Park on the election's eve.  Mr. Bowden had local prostitutes circle the park on horseback while the delighted crowd cheered them on.  The red-light ladies wore red tights and carried red lanterns.  Mr. Bowden won easily the next day, and he reversed his predecessor's actions regarding local bordellos.

It's interesting to note that, in earlier years, Mr. Bowden had fought against brothels as La Villa's mayor.  He had flip-flopped on his stance, but the voters also seemed somewhat contradictory in their attitude.  When Mr. Bowden ran for re-election in 1917, they kicked him out.  A major issue was the mayor's support for the local silent film industry.  Among other things, moviemakers had angered townsfolk with their noisy filming on Sundays.  And so, prostitutes, yes, but producers, no.  The mind of the elector can sometimes prove a mystery.

 
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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 12:29:03 PM »


Bedroom #2  at the Court.  (Yes, Cora numbered the rooms for everyone's convenience.)  The establishment averaged about 13 working girls.


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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2010, 12:29:55 PM »


Some of the bedchambers offered adjoining parlors  for the patrons' socializing pleasure.  One of the sitting rooms can be seen in Suite #19.  It's interesting to note that, in these pre-air conditioning days, Cora sometimes gave electric fans to her girls as birthday gifts.

 

 

 

 
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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2010, 12:31:29 PM »


Ballroom at The Court:
Quote
You're in a really ritzy house of ill repute when it boasts a ballroom and dining room.  Supper parties were often extravagant affairs where champagne flowed and the diners feasted on quail.  Beer cost $1 bottle, which is about $19 in today's money.  However, this proved the standard price along "the line."  Many of the brothel visitors must've tried to bring their own liquid refreshments

Nice to see that the notions about beverage pricing at bordellos hasnt changed in the past hundred years.
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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2010, 12:38:59 PM »


This is Jax Beach, where beach boulevard goes to the ocean.

Here's what has become Beach Boulevard in Pablo Beach.  This view would be near its present-day corner with A1A.  Sand-topped Pablo Avenue used to be the town's main business street.  This postcard was postdated August 3, 1911.  On the side of the store above, the sign ballyhoos "healthful" Pepsi Cola.

Ever an entrepreneur, Cora sought to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Beaches area.  She hoped that her Palmetto Lodge bordello could snag some of the surfside visitors.  The section began to boom after Henry Flagler rebuilt the branch railroad line to Pablo Beach in 1900.  Also that year, he opened the elegant, sprawling Continental Hotel in Atlantic Beach.

Cora's house of joy, Palmetto Lodge, sold its pleasures about eight blocks north of the Ocean View Hotel.  It stood on the oceanfront between today's 8th and 9th Avenues North, according to Dwight Wilson, the Curator of the Beaches Area Historical Society Archives.  The Lodge is long gone, and as of September 2003, high-rise condominiums were being built on its old spot.

Less expensive than its oceanfront neighbor to the north, Pablo Beach was known as "the playground of Jacksonville."  On the weekends, eight daily trains ran between the resort and South Jax.  River City residents would escape to the cool ocean breezes for a day or two.  For fun, they could dance, visit a cabaret, rent a bike or car, or just loll by the surf.  Autos became a favorite way to reach the beach after Atlantic Boulevard opened in 1910.

Because of the era's segregation, local African Americans visited Manhattan Beach, situated between Atlantic Beach and Mayport.  Established in 1907, it provided cottages, bath houses, a restaurant, dance pavilion, merry-go-round, swings, and other amenities & amusements.
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stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2010, 12:45:17 PM »


http://www.jaxhistory.com/Jacksonville%20Story/Picture%20of%20the%20Court,%20Carry%20Nation.htm

During her four day sojourn in Jax, Mrs. Nation drew big crowds.  More than 1,000 people heard her speak at a local ostrich farm.  At this rally for the Women's Christian Temperance Union, she railed against whiskey, tobacco, and the pictures of nude women that hung over the River City's saloon bars.  She also addressed listeners at First Christian Church, Bethel Baptist Institutional, and Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal.

Mrs. Nation felt almost as strongly about tobacco as alcohol.  Woe betide a smoker who crossed this firebrand!  Frequently, she would walk up to a man in the street, yank a cigar from his mouth, toss it on the ground, and trample it.  Said she in 1901, "(It is) the rudest thing ...  a man throwing his smoke into the face of women and children as they pass up and down the street.  Have you a right to throw in my mouth what you puff out of yours?  That foul smoke and breath!  And you would like to be called a gentleman."

Jax residents may've turned out to hear Mrs. Nation's impassioned lectures, but as with prostitution, their city bucked the trend regarding prohibition.  Until the U.S. entered into World War II in 1917, Duval County remained one of only two Florida counties to remain wet.  According to James B. Crooks in Jacksonville After the Fire, 1901-1919, Duval didn't ban the sale of liquor due to two reasons:  (1) Prohibition largely depended on support from white evangelical Protestants, yet Jacksonville contained a relatively large number of Catholics, Jews, German Lutherans, and Episcopalians, who sometimes proved anti-prohibition.  (2) As it had with prostitution, money talked in the Gateway to Florida.  Prohibition met opposition from merchant mariners, hotelkeepers, restaurateurs, and other business people who dealt with trade or tourism. 

According to critics, Mayor J. E. T. Bowden, who had reopened the city's brothels, did not enforce the local laws that did exist in regard to liquor.

 

 
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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 05:46:32 PM »
http://harpercollins.com/books/9780060852252/Hotel_de_Dream/excerpt.aspx
Quote
Chapter One

Cora never thought for a moment that her young husband could die. Other people—especially that expensive specialist who'd come down for the day from London and stuck his long nose into every corner of Brede Place and ended up charging her fifty pounds!—he'd whispered that Stevie's lungs were so bad and his body so thin and his fever so persistent that he must be close to the end. But then, contradicting himself, he'd said if another hemorrhage could be held off for three weeks he might improve.

It was true that she had had a shock the other day when she'd bathed Stephen from head to foot and looked at his body standing in the tub like a classroom skeleton. She'd had to hold him up with one hand while she washed him with the other. His skin was stretched taut against the kettledrum of his pelvis.

And hot—he was always hot and dry. He himself said he was "a dry twig on the edge of the bonfire."

"Get down, Tolstoi, don't bother him," Cora shouted at the tatterdemalion mutt. It slipped off its master's couch and trotted over to her, sporting its feathery tail high like a white standard trooped through the dirty ranks. She unconsciously snuggled her fingers under his silky ears and he blinked at the unexpected pleasure.

The newspapers kept running little items at the bottom of the page headlined, "Stephen Crane, the American Author, Very Ill." The next day they announced that the American author was improving. She'd been the little bird to drop that particular seed about improvement down their gullets.

Poor Stephen—she looked at his head as he gasped on the pillow. She knew that even in sleep his dream was full of deep, beautiful thoughts and not just book-learning! No, what a profound wisdom of the human heart he'd tapped into. And his thoughts were clothed in such beautiful raiments.

This little room above the massive front oak door was his study, where now he was wheezing, listless and half-asleep, on the daybed. The whole room smelled of dogs and mud. At one end, under the couch and Stephen's table, there lay a threadbare Persian carpet, pale and silky but discolored on one side with a large tea-stain the shape of Borneo. At the other end of the room it had amused Stephen to throw rushes on the floor as if he were a merry old soul living in crude, medieval splendor. There were reeds and rushes and grass everywhere downstairs, which confused two of the three dogs, Tolstoi and Spongie, into thinking they were outdoors: they weren't always mindful of their best housebroken comportment.

The maid, a superstitious old thing, had placed a small jar of tar under Stephen's bed. Did she think it would absorb the evil spirits, or hold off the ghosts that were supposed to haunt Brede Place?

Yes, Stephen had all the symptoms, what the doctors called the "diathesis," or look of consumption: nearly transparent skin, through which blue veins could be seen ticking, and a haggard face and a cavernous, wheezing chest. His hair was as lank and breakable as old lamp fringe. His voice was hoarse from so much coughing and sometimes he sounded as if he were an owl hooting in the innermost chamber of a deep cave. He complained of a buzzing in the ears and even temporary deafness, which terrified a "socialist" like him, the friendliest man on earth (it was Cora's companion, the blameless but dim Mrs. Ruedy, who had worked up this very special, facetious, meaning of socialist). Cora wondered idly if Mrs. Ruedy was back in America yet—another rat deserting the sinking ship.

Cora glimpsed something bright yellow and pushed back Stephen's shirt—oh! the doctor had painted the right side of his torso with iodine. At least they weren't blistering him. She remembered how one of the "girls" in her house, the Hotel de Dream, in Jacksonville, had had those hot jars applied to her back and bust in order to raise painful blisters, all to no avail. She'd already been a goner.

"Hey, Imogene," Stephen murmured, his pink-lidded eyes fluttering open. He smiled, a faint echo of his usual playfulness. He liked to call her "Imogene Carter," the nom de plume she'd made up for herself when she was a war correspondent in Greece and which she still used for the gossip columns and fashion notes she sent to American newspapers.

"What is it, Stevie?" she asked, crouching beside him.

"Tell me," he said, "is the truth bitter as eaten fire?"

Oh, she thought. He's quoting himself. One of his poems. A kind of compliment, probably, since in the very next stanza, she recalled, there was something about his love living in his heart. Or maybe it was just idle chatter and all he wanted was something to say, something that would hold her there.

"I see," he said in so soft a whisper that she had to bend her ear closer to his lips, "I see you're airing your hair." He was making fun of her habit of loosening her long golden hair two or three hours every day and letting it flow over her shoulders. Arnold Bennett had been horrified, she'd been told, by her undressed hair when he dropped in unexpected for lunch one day. He'd told Mrs. Conrad (who'd unkindly passed the gossip along) that Cora's Greek sandals and her diaphanous chiton-like wrapper and loose hair made her look "horrible, like an actress at breakfast." But Mr. Bennett didn't have much hair nor would it ever have been his chief glory. There was nothing glorious about him except his prose, and that only intermittently.

No, Cora firmly believed that a woman must let her hair down every day for a spell if it were to remain vigorous and shiny (she'd heard that Sarah Bernhardt did the same; at sixty she looked thirty).
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2010, 08:13:29 PM »
When Cora remarried, she married one of the nephews of James McNeil Whistler, who famously painted "Whistler's Mother".  http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,9631.0.html
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2010, 08:20:50 PM »
Here is Cora's First Father in Law:  Baronet Donald Stewart. The Commander in Chief of India for Queen Victoria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Donald_Stewart,_1st_Baronet



Quote
Field Marshal Sir Donald Martin Stewart, 1st Baronet, GCB GCSI CIE, (1 March 1824 – 26 March 1900), was a British field marshal. He was for five years Commander-in-Chief, India, and afterwards a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India.

Early life

He was the son of Robert Stewart, and born at Mount Pleasant, near Forres, Moray, Scotland. He was educated at schools at Findhorn, Dufftown and Elgin and at the University of Aberdeen.

Career

Stewart was commissioned into the Bengal Army in 1840, and served in 1854 and 1855 in the frontier expeditions against the Mohmands.

In the Indian rebellion of 1857 Stewart, after a famous ride from Agra to Delhi with dispatches, served on the staff at the siege and capture of Delhi and of Lucknow, and afterwards through the campaign in Rohilkhand (medal and two clasps, and brevetmajor and lieutenant-colonel). For nine years he was assistant and deputy-adjutant-general of the Bengal army, commanded the Bengal brigade in the Abyssinian expedition in 1867 (medal and CB), and became a major-general in 1868. He reorganized the penal settlement of the Andaman Islands, where he was commandant when Lord Mayo, British Viceroy of India, was assassinated (1872), and, after holding the Lahore command, was promoted lieutenant-general in 1877.

In 1878, Stewart commanded the Kandahar field force in the Second Anglo-Afghan War[3] (KCB and thanks of Parliament). For this campaign, Stewart assembled the Kandahar Field Force, some 13,000 men, at Multan in the Punjab. He then advanced through the Bolan Pass to Quetta, and then on to Kandahar. Although this advance was uncontested, his men found it tough going because of the extremes of both terrain and climate. He reached Kandahar on 8 January 1879 to find the Afghan garrison there had fled.

In March 1880, he made a difficult march from Kandahar to Kabul, fighting on the way the battles of Ahmed Khel and Arzu, and held supreme military and civil command in northern Afghanistan. On hearing of the Maiwand disaster, he despatched Sir Frederick Roberts with a division on his celebrated march from Kabul to Kandahar, while he led the rest of the army back to India through the Khyber Pass (medal with clasp, GCB, CIE, baronetcy, and thanks of Parliament). Promoted general in 1881, he was for five years Commander-in-Chief, India, and afterwards a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India until his death.

Stewart was made GCSI in 1885 and promoted to Field Marshal in 1894. He was Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 1895 to 1901.
Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

Stewart died at Algiers, Algeria in 1900, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.

Family

In 1847 he married Davina Marine; they went on to have two sons and three daughters
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2010, 01:27:49 AM »
Cora's first husband Thomas Vinton Murphy, was the son of the Port of New York Collector---one of the most powerful men in the city.

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA170&lpg=PA170&dq=Murphy%20Collector%20Port%20of%20New%20York&sig=tdzgShmj2cvJK1gIa9bchFRA2_w&ei=qYW6TPezJ4T78AaauMmqDg&ct=result&id=6woDAAAAIAAJ&ots=LEzzvTqUy7&output=text

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collector_of_the_Port_of_New_York

From The Nation, September 14th, 1871
Quote
The heaviest charge of all is, however, that he brought about the appointment of Mr. Thomas Murphy—vulgarly known as "Tom Murphy"—as collector of this port, and he gives an account of Tom's " record " which we believe to be substantially correct, and which makes his appearance in his present position of extraordinary emolument, responsibility, and patronage one of the strangest events in the history of the Administration. In fact, knowing General Grant's zeal for civil-service reform, we long tried to believe that Tom Murphy, of the Custom-house, was not the bad and notorious old Tom who had so long figured in the politics of this State, but a new and upright Tom, whom the President had discovered, and who was destined to purify the Custom-house and cover the somewhat obscure and tarnished name of Murphy with glory.

It seems, however, that there is no mistake about it, and that Collector Tom Murphy, who is " reforming the civil service," and " infusing economy and efficiency into the collection of the revenue " at this port, is really the Tom Murphy who, during the war, made so much money out of army contracts; who voted with the Democrats in the State Senate in 1800, against the resolution requestting the United States senators to pass the Civil Rights Bill over Johnson's veto ; who voted also against a similar request with regard to the extension of equal suffrage to the District of Columbia; who voted with the Tammany Ring for the passage of our present charter; who put the Tax Commission into the hands of Tammany for a share in the patronage, which he got; who was one of Tweed's Commissioners in the "Broadway Widening" swindle, and was by him put on the Tammany School Board ; and who, in 1806, supported Hoffman and the Democratic ticket by money and vote, and was therefore repeatedly excluded from Republican Conventions as a "traitor"—which, we are sorry to say, is with Republican Conventions rather a worse thing than a rogue. This is what Mr. Mudgett tells of this eminent man who has been employed by General Grant to collect the revenue of this port; but who is now "reorganizing the party in this city," and using Government offices to prepare the right sort of delegation to the Presidential Convention, and is probably as corrupt a politician as ever wrapped himself in the American flag. His views about the Civil Service Commission and " the constitutional difficulty " would doubtless be very amusing, if they were known.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Who Was Jax's most Beloved Madame, and Where was her Bordello?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2010, 03:18:32 PM »
I just got a wealth of material about the bordellos of Ward Street.  What an amazing place it was. 
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love