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Tolerated Evil

Prostitution in the Kingdom of Poland in the Nineteenth Century

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Jolanta Sikorska-Kulesza

In the nineteenth century, state policy towards prostitution was primarily shaped by an assessment of its role in spreading venereal diseases. In this book, the author traces normative and organisational efforts of the authorities of the Kingdom of Poland, which sought to maintain control over prostitution and the health of women who offered paid sexual services. The author uses data collected by the police and medical authorities supervising legal and illegal prostitution to provide a demographic and sociological picture of the big-city and small-town market of sexual commerce. It was only in the early twentieth century when prostitution became an important subject of the Polish public debate, a process which is described in the book against the backdrop of the major issues and fears of the epoch.

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Index of charts and graphs

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Index of charts and graphs

Chapter 1 

Chart 1. The number of prostitutes in the Kingdom of Poland in 1841 by gubernia (districts with no registered public women were not included) 64

Chapter 2 

Chart 1. The number of women under investigation in Warsaw in 1868–1884 122

Chart 2. The number of women arrested for engaging in illegal prostitution in the Kingdom of Poland in 1841 126

Chart 3. The number of women under observation and the number of women apprehended by police patrols in Warsaw and its suburbs between 1867–1891 129

Chart 4. The occupations of women arrested in 1827 and in July, August and September 1832 in Kalisz and its vicinity 132

Chart 5. The age of women arrested in Kalisz in August, September and October 1832 133

Chart 6. The occupations of women arrested for vagrancy and suspected of prostitution in Warsaw and its suburbs in 1891 133

Chart 7. The number of examinations compared to the number of tolerated prostitutes in Warsaw in 1882–1884 163

Chart 8. The ratio of diseased prostitutes to healthy ones in the given group in 1867–1891 183

Graph 1. The fluctuation in the numbers of public women attending examinations in Włocławek in the 1860s. 164

Graph 2. The variation in the number of public women attending examinations in Suwałki in the latter half of 1865 and 1866 165

Graph 3. Attendance at examinations of tolerated prostitutes in Suwałki in 1896 166

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Chapter 3 

Chart 1. The number of tolerated prostitutes in 1889, both independent and working in brothel houses 197

Chart 2. Brothel houses in 1889 by years in operation 209

Chart 3. The number of brothels in Warsaw in 1821–1889 211

Chart 4. The number of brothel houses in each of the three categories and the number of prostitutes employed there in 1889 215

Chart 5. The fees paid by brothel house customers in 1889 (in roubles) 217

Chart 6. The number of brothels by the number of prostitutes employed there in 1889 218

Chart 7. The age of brothel managers in the Kingdom of Poland in 1889 219

Chart 8. The denomination and ethnicity of brothel managers in 1889 221

Chart 9a. The ethnicity of brothel house prostitutes in 1889 243

Chart 9b. The denomination of brothel house prostitutes in 1889 244

Chart 9c. The ethnicity of independent prostitutes in 1889 244

Chart 9d. The denomination of independent prostitutes in 1889 245

Chart 10. The marital status of prostitutes in 1889 245

Chart 11a. The age of brothel house prostitutes in 1889 247

Chart 11b. The age of independent prostitutes in 1889 248

Chart 12. The age of prostitutes in 1889 (in percentage) 248

Chart 13. The percentage of prostitutes in 1889 who entered the profession at the age of 13 to 26 251

Chart 14. The education of prostitutes in 1889 254

Chart 15. The place of origin of independent and brothel prostitutes in 1889 255

Chart 16. The financial situation of prostitutes’ families of origin in 1889 257

Chart 17a. The family situation of brothel house prostitutes in the four gubernias with the largest number of public women in this category in 1889 258

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Chart 17b. The family situation of independent prostitutes in the four gubernias with the larger number of public women in this category in 1889 259

Chart 18. The occupation of prostitutes before they engaged in that profession 260

Chart 19. The percentage of prostitutes removed from lists and added thereto in 1882–1889 (the highest and the lowest in the period in question) in Warsaw 267

Graph 1. The family situation of brothel owners in 1889 220

Graph 2. The social background of proprietesses in 1889 223

Graph 3. The social background of licensed prostitutes in the Kingdom of Poland in 1889 252

Map. Brothel houses in the Kingdom of Poland in 1889 206

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