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How the West was regulated – a Dodge City license for prostitution in 1876


A Dodge City license for prostitution from 1876

This remarkable document sold via AbeBooks.com yesterday – a license for prostitution issued by the authorities in Dodge City, Kansas, on 10 March 1876.

The girl, named as Laura Belle, paid $2.50 every three months and had to post the license in her room above the saloon where she conducted her business.

Take a closer look and you will see the license is approved by Marshal Wyatt Earp, the Wild West’s most famous lawman who participated in the gunfight the O.K. Corral, but these documents were issued through the county assessor’s office so neither Earp nor his deputy Bat Masterson took part in the issuing of the document.

The photograph of Laura also catches the eye. There’s a sad resignation to her expression.

The license sold for $360.

Laura Belle was probably not this lady’s real name

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