This article examines the role of prostitution in Portland in 1912-14, and the unsuccessful efforts of a Progressive-inspired Citizens’ Committee to wipe it out.More broadly, however, it analyzes changing social and gender roles and the specifically masculinist rhetoric with which the Citizens’ Committee— especially its two leaders, Rt. Rev. Robert Codman, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, and Dr. Frederic H. Gerrish, dean of Maine’s medical community — made sense of those changes. For Codman, Gerrish, and other Anglo-American men of their generation, the campaign against the “social evil” became a template upon which to project their anxieties about the social transformation of Portland, and the lives of its young men and women, on the eve of World War I. Howard M. Solomon is Scholar-in-Residence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Collection of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine. Solomon received his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 1969. He taught social history and the history of sexuality at NYU and Tufts, from which he retired as Emeritus Professor of History in 2004. He has published on early modern France as well as the history of stereotyping. This essay is part of a long-term examination of LGBT communities in Maine. For his scholarly work and public presentations on stereotyping and sexuality, he was awarded Equality Maine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Solomon lives in Bowdoinham.
Solomon, Howard M.. "Combating the ‘Social Evil’: Masculinity and Moral Reform in Portland, 1912-1914." Maine History 43, 3 (2008): 139-165. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol43/iss3/3