Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Keri Holt


Keri Holt


Rebecca Walton


Colleen ONeill


This work examines the regulation of prostitution in Butte, Montana during the 1910-1911. Butte, in particular, stands out in terms of researching how the regulation of prostitution worked to support the economic structure of a mining town in the American West because it offered a different response to Progressive Era regulation of red light districts during the early twentieth century. While there was an attempt to implement the eradication model of regulation sweeping the rest of the nation, Butte rejected this model in favor of tolerating prostitution's involvement in its mining culture and economic structure. Examining the social and economic reasons for Butte’s alternative model of regulation changes our understanding of the history of regulating prostitution in the American West. Instead of dismissing the role of prostitution in the West’s history, Butte’s pragmatic tolerance model of regulation respects the economic and social roles of prostitutes and the red light districts they occupied in the mining towns of the American West.