Directories to houses of prostitution in New Orleans's infamous Storyville red-light district are collectively called Blue Books. Storyville—named for Alderman Sidney Story, who sponsored legislation to confine prostitution to a designated part of the city—occupied an area just north of the French Quarter, the site of today's Iberville public housing development. During Storyville's twenty-year existence, from 1898 to 1917, many editions of the Blue Book were issued, listing prostitutes by race and address; however, the guides among The Historic New Orleans Collection’s holdings contain no descriptions of specific sexual services and no fees. They do contain advertisements for other services and products, such as restaurants, quack cures for venereal diseases, liquors, and cigars. Most editions also include a warning that the guides “must not be mailed” because regulations banned the distribution of suggestive materials through the United States Postal Service. Blue Books were sold to men as they stepped off trains at Basin Street or were available in barbershops and saloons. Although many were distributed, authentic editions are scarce today.

Citation 1: 
between 1913 and 1915
Citation 2: 
attributed to William Struve, compiler and publisher
Accession #: 
Pamela D. Arceneaux, Senior Librarian / Rare Books Curator