There are many tales about these women. Much of them fiction, a good portion of them fact. They were not always beautiful, but they all had a good head on their shoulders for business. In this blog found on Mental Floss, Fannie Porter (pictured above) is the Madam of choice, she ran a place welcoming everyone. In this link on 'listverse' I learned about incredible women I would have loved to meet. Dora Dufran and her establishment 'Diddlin' Dora's' where you could bring your mother and Julia Bulette, who has a story I've always been fascinated by!
Many of their stories ended tragically, such as Julia's. Yet, their actions helped shape the United States we live in. One was immortalized in the book 'Gone with the Wind' and another helped finance the city of Seattle! Her money is floating around in the King school district, but no one has the guts to name a school after her.
The influence of brothels was not kept to the American West. During the time of Nazi Germany, France had a resurgence in usage. German physicians would keep an eye on the women in the houses and if (I hope I get this right!) an outbreak of disease occurred, it was considered an act of sabotage!
Tough and flexible, these are unsung vertebrae in the backbone of our world.