Red Light Lizzie

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Red Light Lizzie
Other namesNew York madam and procurer who dominated prostitution in the city during the 1860s and 70s; rival of Jane the Grabber.
OccupationMadam and procuress

Red Light Lizzie (fl. 1860 –1875) was the pseudonym of an American madam, procuress and underworld figure in New York City during the mid-to late 19th century.[1][2] She was known as the most infamous of the city's procurers and controlled much of its prostitution along with Jane the Grabber during the 1860s and 70s. Like her rival, Lizzie employed a number of men and women to travel to rural communities in Upstate New York and New England to lure young girls to the city with promises of well-paying jobs. Some men were paid by Lizzie to bring girls into dive bars and, similar to Shanghaiing, would be given drugged alcohol. The victims would then be forced into prostitution, either by working in her brothels, or being "sold" to similar establishments. Both she and Jane the Grabber specialized in procuring women from wealthy families.[3] She, in fact, owned at least twelve such "houses of ill-repute" and was so successful as a procurer that she sent a monthly circular letter to all of her clients.[1]


  1. ^ a b Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the New York Underworld. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. (pg. 185) ISBN 1-56025-275-8
  2. ^ Bailey, William G, ed. "Prostitution". The Encyclopedia of Police Science. 2nd ed. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995. (pg. 667) ISBN 0-8153-1331-4
  3. ^ Sante, Luc. Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. (pg. 186) ISBN 0-374-52899-3

Further reading[edit]

  • Fido, Martin. The Chronicle of Crime: The Infamous Villains of Modern History and Their Hideous Crimes. London: Carlton, 2000. ISBN 1-84222-131-0
  • Petronius. New York Unexpurgated: An Amoral Guide for the Jaded, Tired, Evil, Non-conforming, Corrupt, Condemned, and the Curious, Humans and Otherwise, to Under Underground Manhattan. New York: Matrix House, 1966.