Description 2009 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved ~~ Chicago Joe was the nickname of one of the Old West's most notorious and successful madams. Born in Chicago in 1846 to Italian immigrant parents, Josephine Hensley was given every advantage, including 'finishing' at an 'etiquette school.'
Josephine was restless, however, and when she was 18 she hopped a train west. Although adventurous, she was naive and ill-prepared to make her own way. She ended up in a small Iowa town and became a prostitute. As soon as she had accumulated enough money, she continued westward to her goal - Helena, Montana, which was in the midst of gold rush fever. She knew that where the was gold there were miners, and where there were miners there was money to be made in a brothel. At 23 she opened Helena's first 'house' and was an instant success by virtue of her refinement, the orchestra she hired, the whiskey she sold and her stable of fresh young ladies recruited from Chicago. By all accounts her 'girls' were well-treated and shared in the house's profits from their own work as well as the earnings from drinks and dances.
Soon after opening her house, Josephine was dubbed 'Chicago Joe'. She was so successful that in 1874 she was opened a larger, more elegant brothel and invested her remaining profits in Helena real estate. She formed partnerships with several of the town's prominent businessmen and became the largest landowner in Helena's notorious red-light district. In 1875 the Montana legislature began a crusade to get rid of bawdy houses and their principal target was Chicago Joe. Their efforts failed when she was exonerated by the court on a technicality.
Chicago Joe shut up shop to avoid further legal entanglements but eventually opened a new venue, billed as a 'variety theater', which included the option of private entertainment. It was open until her death in 1899 from pneumonia, and her funeral was attended by much of Helena's leading society.
RC DeWinter, Fairfield, CT Member Since December 2008 Artist StatementHello and welcome to my portfolio on Imagekind. Here's a bit about me:
RC deWinter is a Connecticut writer/digital artist whose artwork has been published in many print and online journals, including, among others, The American Muse, Fine Art Photography, Poetry Nook, 2River View, Pink Panther, Official Feature Online Entertainment Magazine, Garden Tripod and also used as set décor on ABC-TV’s “Desperate Housewives." In 2013 Ms. deWinter she was one of six finalists for a Shorty Award, the national social media awards, in art. Ms. deWinter is honored to be the first digital artist invited to exhibit at the Arts of Tolland Gallery in Connecticut. Her 4-week solo exhibition was an unqualified success. Her poetry publication credits include The New York Times, Uno: A Poetry Anthology, 2River View, Another Sun, Pink Panther Magazine, Pilcrow & Dagger, Plum Ruby Review, Poetry Life and Times and numerous other print/online publications. If you enjoy my work, please spread the word, and thank you for stopping by.