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Abstract

Virginia Brooks’ investigative anti-vice work has had a long-standing legacy in turn of the 20th century US prostitution scholarship. Her book, My Battles with Vice, offers an uniquely forward thinking theory that low wages were the primary driver of young girls to prostitution, and not sin. However, there are doubts about the true authorship of her works and her beliefs. Using a biographical approach, I both fact checked the few, biased accounts of Brooks’ life, and gave historical context to her ideology and actions. Brooks was a minor celebrity, but she disappeared from public memory in the decades after her death due to the manipulation of her ex-husband while her play, Little Lost Sister, became a classic and toured the country for decades after her death. Brooks’ character on the historical record is not accurate, and my original research offers the start to correcting it.

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