Madam Millie: Bordellos from Silver City to Ketchikan

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Overview

Mildred Clark Cusey was a whore, a madam, an entrepreneur, and above all, a survivor. The story of Silver City Millie, as she referred to herself, is the story of one woman's personal tragedies and triumphs as an orphan, a Harvey Girl waitress on the Santa Fe railroad, a prostitute with innumerable paramours, and a highly successful bordello businesswoman. Millie broke the mold in so many ways, and yet her life's story of survival was not unlike that of thousands of women who went West only to find that their ...

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Overview

Mildred Clark Cusey was a whore, a madam, an entrepreneur, and above all, a survivor. The story of Silver City Millie, as she referred to herself, is the story of one woman's personal tragedies and triumphs as an orphan, a Harvey Girl waitress on the Santa Fe railroad, a prostitute with innumerable paramours, and a highly successful bordello businesswoman. Millie broke the mold in so many ways, and yet her life's story of survival was not unlike that of thousands of women who went West only to find that their most valuable assets were their physical beauty and their personality. Petite at five feet tall with piercing blue eyes, Millie captured men's attention by her very essence and her unmistakable joie de vivre.

Born to Italian immigrant parents near Kansas City, she and her sister were orphaned early and separated from each other. Millie learned hard lessons on the streets, but she never gave up and she vowed to protect and support her ailing older sister. Caught in a domestic squabble in her foster home, Millie wound up in juvenile court with Harry Truman as her judge. This would be only the first of many brushes in her life with prominent politicians.

When physicians diagnosed her sister with tuberculosis and recommended she move West to a Catholic home in Deming, New Mexico, Millie moved with her. Expenses ran high and after a brief stint waiting tables as a Harvey Girl, Millie found that her meager tips could easily be augmented by turning tricks. Thus, out of financial need and devotion to her sister, Mildred Cusey turned to a life of prostitution and a career at which she soon excelled and became both rich and famous.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826327826
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1902
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 315
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Evans, novelist, artist, scriptwriter, former cowboy, miner, and dealer in antiquities, resides in Albuquerque. He received the Owen Wister Award for lifelong contributions to the field of western literature from the Western Writers of America.

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Table of Contents

Preface: To the Life and Wild Times of Silver City Millie
Introduction: Putting Millie in Her Place: Prostitution in the American West
1 Death without Taxes, First Time in Court, and the Gifts of Greeks 1
2 Learning to Properly Work Harvey Houses and Hungry-eyed Men 19
3 The High Sheriff, the Courthouse Laundry, and the Learning of Love's Delights and Agonies 35
4 On to the Town Called the City of Silver, Great Copper Mines, and the Hudson Street Houses 45
5 Making Sure a Lost Love Stayed That Way, and the Beginning of the Final Approach to Full Madamhood 51
6 Screwing the Most Powerful, Showing Naked Kindness to Her Elders, Finishing Her Bedroom Studies in Style 55
7 A Growing String of Houses, the Story of the Bishop's Balls, and a Moral Tale of Tricky Whores 65
8 First Love, Tender and Savage Months, Lost Wisdom Found Again 91
9 The Desecration of Love, the Violence of Mutual Jealousy, a Double Loss to Change a Great Life Forever 97
10 The Storm before the Lull, the Adventure of Several Lifetimes, and So Many Fast Changes of Scenery That Flowers Went Missing 105
11 The Great Vacation, the Great Oil Boom, Hooking Up with a Texas Ranger, and More Fun Than She Could Laugh At 115
12 A Wartime Marriage and an Explosive Celebration 125
13 Heading North Looking for Room to Expand the Art of Love, Ben's Beginning Jealousy, and the Beginning of Wyoming Enchantment for Millie 141
14 At Long Last, the Expansion of Whorehouses, and the Diminishing of a Marriage Made in Both Heaven and Hell 145
15 Brutal Business of Several Kinds 157
16 North to Alaska, Sharing Ideas with Eleanor Roosevelt, and Turning the Mayor and His Council Inside Out 169
17 South Out of Alaska and the Great Escape Caper 183
18 The Terrible Brawl, Thoughts of Murder, and a Painful Settlement of Sorts 191
19 A New Kind of Trouble, a New Kind of Peace, Getting Ready to Arrive 199
20 Finally Meeting the Man of Peace, and Brothel Brothers and Loyalties 205
21 Sundry Whorehouse Happenings, Some of a Sexual Nature or Against Nature, If Preferred 219
22 A Court Trial of Redemption, Exposure of the Law to the Law, and Justice for Millie Served 235
23 The True Art of Giving 261
24 Battles of Many Kinds Confronted 267
25 Entry of the FBI, the Scattering of Millie's Precious Whores, and the Counting Up of Gains and Losses for All 273
Afterglow 291
Epilogue 309
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2003

    Madame Millie embroidered the truth

    I rather doubt the veracity of the 'heroine'. She claims to have appeared in juvenile court in Kansas City in about 1925 in front of 'Judge Harry S Truman' when she was 13. There are several references to this supposed incident. The only problem is it never happened. Harry Truman was never a juvenile court judge nor was he ever a judge in Kansas City. He served as the Presiding Judge of Jackson County but it was an adminstrative position, awarding road contracts, construction contracts for public buildings and the like. In 1925, he was selling memberships in the Automobile Club of Kansas City. She tells a good story but I have to wonder what else was embroidered or exaggerated. Apparently the author didn't bother researching all the facts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2002

    Entertaining, educational and thought provoking.

    An interesting biography, review and at times autobiography of the colorful and bawdy Madam Millie (Mildred Clark Cusey). Her life was full of adventure, joy, sadness, and interesting experiences, overlaid with humor and plenty of drinking. At times this book is hard to put down. Author Max Evans gives readers great insight into this important historic madam. Millie was the link between the frontier madams and those of a more contemporary nature. (There were still houses in the Western states operating into the 1980s; for example in Wallace, Idaho and Butte, Montana. And of course the ever present Nevada houses.) Madam Millie owned brothels in several states but New Mexico was her primary place of operation.. In many ways the sections, After Glow and Epilogue were more interesting than the main text. The first talks about the author?s quest for material from Madam Millie. Much of this was funny; other parts a bit sad. The latter section was a historical review of Silver City, New Mexico?s red light district and the houses operated by Madam Millie. This is a well written indispensable part of the book. This is a must read for anyone interested in prostitution in the Western US from early 20th century to the 1960s.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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