Phoebe Doty

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Phoebe Doty (died June 9, 1849)[1] was an American prostitute and madam. In 1821, she started her career in a bordello in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City. Over the next three years, she accrued $600 in personal belongings.[2] For the next decade or so, Doty moved from house to house, eventually settling in a brothel on Church Street. There she was valued at $800.[2] Doty had an adopted daughter, Sal Wright, who also became a prostitute.[3]

By 1839, Doty had opened her own brothel on Leonard Street. At decade's end, she was valued at $2000.[2] During the 1840s, Doty was a prominent prostitute and madam. She held lavish balls at her brothel to attract new customers and to mingle with the upper classes. Her high profile earned her notoriety in the penny press. The Libertine suggested that Doty and another madam, Adeline Miller, should rent the Park Theatre and talk about their lives. It predicted that "the house would be crammed if the entrance was five dollars a head. The bigger the harlot now-a-days the more money is made."[4]


  1. ^ Her estate, totaling in an excess of fifty dollars was submitted for administration by James S. Thayer, the New York City Public Administrator. "In the Matter of the Administration of the Goods, Chattels and Credits of Phoebe Doty, deceased," Surrogates' Court of the County of New York, submitted July 19, 1849. Petitions and Accounts, 1803-1888; Author: New York. Surrogate's Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York.
  2. ^ a b c Gilfoyle 72.
  3. ^ Lefkowitz Horowitz, Helen. "Another 'American Cruikshank^ Found: John H, Manning and the New York Sporting Weeklies" (PDF). American Antiquarian. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ Quoted in Gilfoyle 73. Emphasis in the original.


  • Gilfoyle, Timothy J. (1992). City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790—1920. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.