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The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  22 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
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 str ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1977)
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Luanne Castle
Feb 17, 2015 Luanne Castle rated it it was amazing
25 years ago, I was supposed to be reading "The Beast in the Jungle" by Henry James for class, but I had started reading The Maimie Papers and couldn't put it down. I read the book night and day for 3 "days." These letters by an unlucky woman who lived over 100 years ago are brilliant and revealing of what it was like to be a woman who is brushed under the rug of society. It's Maimie's determination to educate herself and her sense of right and wrong that makes her as memorable to me today as al ...more
May 29, 2011 Vasha7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been really attracted by this book. It's better than a novel; the letter format gives immediacy, and there's a real sense that Maimie (an actual person) is saying what's on her mind.

One thing that struck me was the passages where Maimie discusses her reluctance to take charity from people who regard it as their "work". Although she is put off by the condescending attitude of the religiously-motivated philanthropists, their feeling that they can dictate how she should dress and when she ough
Jul 19, 2010 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
These letters from a woman who has been a prostitute to her philanthropic Bostonian lady-friend are fascinating! The correspondence is one-sided, since Mrs. Howe's letters have been lost, but Maimie's letters easily stand alone. It's amazing that this self-educated woman had the drive and self-confidence to pursue her dreams without slipping back into "bad" behavior. Her struggles as a poor woman without a formal education in 1911 are documented. She reveals herself as intelligent, thirsting for ...more
This collection of letters is so intricate and detailed, and I feel like out of them you get a deep understanding of the writer of most of them, Maimie. It's amazing to me that in spite of all of the disadvantages she faced -- she's a working-class woman, an immigrant, disabled, with a past seemingly full of unending tragedy -- she refused to play the victim and kept striving and striving to improve her situation, those of those around her, and those of those like her.

There are a lot of individu
Tom Leland
Aug 23, 2013 Tom Leland rated it liked it
What a project. Letters from a one-eyed ex-prostitute to a Boston society lady.
Then contact is lost, with a chance Maimie ended up in Hollywood writing for
magazines. She was a skilled writer, but for me the interest was in her amazing
fortitude in overcoming an uncle's sexual abuse when she was little -- and eventually
founding and running a "home" to "save" girls from prostitution in Montreal. I think
there is a plaque or monument of some sort in that building today. It's long -- I barely
hung on a
Leslie Oakes
I really wanted to like this book. But, it was painfully slow in parts. I only made it halfway through.
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