NEW YORK CITY, 1836: In the early morning hours of April 10, 1836, the madam of a New York City brothel awoke to find 22-year old Helen Jewett's bedroom filled with smoke and flames.
Helen Jewett, born Dorcas Doyen in Augusta, Maine, was considered a well-known sex worker in New York City. As her case became sensationalized and publicized around the world, it brought the taboo subject of sex into the prudish public sphere of the 1800s, inviting commentary, opinion and bias, even among those tasked with the pursuit of justice on Helen's behalf.
Helen Jewett's Known Aliases: Maria Benson, Maria Stanley, Helen Mar, and Ellen Jewett
Richard R. Robinson's Known Aliases: Frank Rivers, Richard Parmalee
To learn more about sex work issues and advocacy, visit decriminalizesex.work.
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