A Western Woman’s Parlor Life

Laura Evens Bio Cover

Tracy Beach’s latest book, My Life as a Whore: The Biography of Madam Laura Evens, 1871-1953, brings to life the story of one of Colorado’s infamous madams. Beach used interviews with Evens and her employees conducted by the popular Colorado historian, Max Mazzulla, in the 1940s and early 1950s. The author supplements these firsthand accounts with notes from her own interviews with people who knew Evens, and with facts about the lives of prostitutes from well-known secondary sources. Evens, who worked as a parlor-house prostitute in Leadville and Denver, eventually became a madam in Central City and Salida, Colorado. The title of the book hints at the frankness with which Evens’s story is told:  Laura herself did not like euphemisms such as “soiled dove” and “lady of the evening.” She talked about what she did in down-to-earth language, and pulled no punches.

Catherine Holder Spude, author of Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in Alaska Territory

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