ISBN is

978-1-55861-143-6 / 9781558611436

The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute (The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women's Series)

by

Publisher:The Feminist Press at CUNY

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

   In 1910, a remarkable correspondence began between a wealthy and distinguished Bostonian philanthropist, Fanny Quincy Howe, and Maimie Pinzer, a Jewish prostitute living in Philadelphia and just recovering from morphine addiction. The Maimie Papers is Maimie's side of that correspondence, offerring an unprecedented and still unique account of the life of a woman of the streets and of her inspiring transformation.

   After a childhood in a wealthy but troubled family, Maimie's struggle for survival began at age 13 following years of apparent incestuous abuse. Her descent led her through reformatories, jails, and hospitals. It also brought her into contact with a sometimes colorful, sometimes grim assortment of people living on the edge, whose miseries and hopes she depicts with a true writer's gift.

   With the intervention of a devoted social worker and the support of Fanny Quincy Howe-and despite experiences of sexual harrasment-Maimie is able, during the course of her correspondence, to leave prostitution and learn secretarial skills. With these skills-and with her talent for management, her street wisdom, and her compassion-Maimie becomes a kind of self-invented social worker, eventually providing shelter and services to street women in Montreal. The final letters in 1922 find Maimie happily married, mother to two adopted children, intent upon publishing her writing-and as indefatigable as ever.

   A new afterword by Ruth Rosen follows the elusive vilifying portraits of prostitutes emanating from Hollywood, The Maimie Papers introduces an unforgettable woman with a powerful writer's voice, who captures the present with wit and candor, and recalls the past without sentiment.

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