Wicked Philadelphia: Sin in the City of Brotherly Love

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Arcadia Publishing, Feb 19, 2010 - True Crime - 124 pages
Prim and proper Philadelphia has been rocked by the clash between excessive vice and social virtue since its citizens burned the city's biggest brothel in 1800. With tales of grave robbers in South Philadelphia and harlots in Franklin Square, Wicked Philadelphia reveals the shocking underbelly of the City of Brotherly Love. In one notorious scam, a washerwoman masqueraded as the fictional Spanish countess Anita de Bettencourt for two decades, bilking millions from victims and even fooling the government of Spain. From the 1843 media frenzy that ensued after an aristocrat abducted a young girl to a churchyard transformed into a brothel (complete with a carousel), local author Thomas H. Keels unearths Philadelphia's most scintillating scandals and corrupt characters in his rollicking history.
 

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Contents

A Note on Geography
The Rise of the Red Light Districts circa 1820
Body Snatching at Lebanon Cemetery 1882
The Anita de Bettencourt Fraud 1892
The Dot King Murder 1923
The Worlds Fair Fiasco 1926
Select Bibliography
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Thomas H. Keels is an auslander, sociologist E. Digby Baltzell's term for an outsider who moves to Philadelphia and falls in love with its rich heritage. Since moving to Philadelphia in 1988, Tom has written five books dealing with local history: Wicked Philadelphia; Forgotten Philadelphia: Lost Architecture of the Quaker City; Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries; Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square (with Robert Morris Skaler); and Chestnut Hill (with Liz Jarvis). His next book, Rainbow Cities: Philadelphia's Three World's Fairs, will be published in 2012. Tom is a regular contributor to the Rittenhouse Sq. Revue and also contributes features to Creatively Speaking on WRTI-FM. A self-proclaimed taphophile, he has been a tour guide at Laurel Hill, Philadelphia's premier Victorian cemetery, for over a decade.

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