A Southern Madam and Her Man is the story of two people who, despite their conventional upbringings, thrived in the raucous decade known as the Gay Nineties-- America's decadent version of the Gilded Age. The daughter of a wagonmaker, Susie Tillett was raised amid the horse and hemp farms of the Kentucky Bluegrass; Arthur Jack was the oldest son and heir of a successful Atlanta merchant. By the time they met in 1892, when they were in their early thirties, Susie had become the successful madam of popular "parlor houses" (up-scale brothels) in Lexington, Kentucky, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Arthur had left a wife and a child in Atlanta to become a saloonist, gambler, horse-trader, and publicly acclaimed "dashing young Don Juan." Uncovered during a decade of unflinching research and told here for the first time by their great-grandson, the author and historian David Dearinger, this is a tale of conventional people making unusual and even socially suspect choices simply, in the end, to do the best they could.
Lavishly illustrated with over seventy vintage photographs, maps, and documentary images, A Southern Madam and Her Man includes extensive, documented lists of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century madams of Lexington and Chattanooga, extended annotations to the text, and a comprehensive index.