Nina Clifford’s brothel at 147 South Washington Avenue in St. Paul, down the street from Ida Dorsey’s brothel at 151 South Washington Avenue. Photograph by A. F. Raymond, 1937.

Home of Nina Clifford

Nina Clifford’s brothel at 147 South Washington Avenue in St. Paul, down the street from Ida Dorsey’s brothel at 151 South Washington Avenue. Photograph by A. F. Raymond, 1937.

A street scene at the intersection of Second Street North and Second Avenue North, Minneapolis, around the time that Ida Dorsey operated a brothel on Second Avenue. Photographer unknown, ca. 1912.

Second Street North from Second Avenue North, Minneapolis

A street scene at the intersection of Second Street North and Second Avenue North, Minneapolis, around the time that Ida Dorsey operated a brothel on Second Avenue. Photographer unknown, ca. 1912.

Building at 220 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis, close to Ida Dorsey’s Eleventh Avenue bordello. Photograph by Joseph Zalusky, ca. 1890s.

220 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis

Building at 220 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis, close to Ida Dorsey’s Eleventh Avenue bordello. Photograph by Joseph Zalusky, ca. 1890s.

A street scene of First Street South in Minneapolis, where the First Street Red Light District was. Photograph by C. J. Hibbard, ca. 1895.

First Street South looking west, Minneapolis

A street scene of First Street South in Minneapolis, where the First Street Red Light District was. Photograph by C. J. Hibbard, ca. 1895.

Image of Ida Dorsey’s bordello at 212 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user McGhiever, February 19, 2019. CC BY-SA 4.0

Ida Dorsey’s “sporting house”

Ida Dorsey’s bordello at 212 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user McGhiever, February 19, 2019. CC BY-SA 4.0

Dorsey, Ida (1866–1918)

Employing the racial prejudices and fantasies of elite male clients once used against her, Ida Dorsey established herself as one of the Twin Cities’ most notorious madams, running multiple brothels between the 1880s and the 1910s. As a woman of color in an industry dominated by white women, she demonstrated herself an adept businesswoman and real estate owner when most women had neither income nor property.

St. Paul: Gangster Haven

"St. Paul had a widespread - if inglorious - reputation as a criminal safe haven during the Gangster Era of the 1930s. In this episode, government records specialist Charles Rodgers shares several items from the Society's collection associated with that colorful age." Posted to YouTube by the Minnesota Historical Society, December 6, 2010.

Minnesota Stories: Remember Rondo

"Rondo, a thriving African American community in St. Paul, was virtually eliminated by construction of the I-94 freeway in the 1960s." Video posted to YouTube by the Minnesota Historical Society on July 12, 2013.

Judge Edward Devitt

Judge Edward Devitt

Edward Devitt, the judge who sent Kid Cann to federal prison, ca. 1980.

Kid Cann in handcuffs

Kid Cann in handcuffs

Isadore Blumenfeld (Kid Cann) handcuffed and led into federal custody, 1961. Photo by Don Black, Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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